Nintendo, publisher of upcoming game Tomodachi Life, released a new statement today promising to make any future games in the series inclusive of same-sex relationships. The statement, posted to their website today, reads:
"We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. Unfortunately, it is not possible for us to change this game’s design, and such a significant development change can’t be accomplished with a post-ship patch. At Nintendo, dedication has always meant going beyond the games to promote a sense of community, and to share a spirit of fun and joy. We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone. We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players."
Tomodachi Life is meant to be a light-hearted life simulator game, similar to the popular The Sims series. Previously Nintendo stated that they were "not trying to provide social commentary" which is why they did not program options for same-sex relationships into the game.
"Nintendo has taken a first step, but if the company's longtime values are rooted in 'fun and entertainment for everyone,' then it needs to catch up to peers like Electronic Arts, which has been inclusive of LGBT gamers for years," said GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.
The issue first came about when players of the Japanese version of the game figured out a work around that allowed them to pair up their male “Mii” characters (Nintendo’s customizable avatars) with one another. After it was announced that Nintendo would be adapting and releasing the game for a Western audience, players hoped that Nintendo would make same-sex options standard.
A 23-year-old Nintendo fan named Tye Marini even started an online campaign asking Nintendo to making the change to the game’s Western release called #Miiquality, which is currently urging followers to express their desire for a more inclusive game in a Club Nintendo survey. In the video you can watch below, Tye says, "I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancé's Mii, but I can't do that…My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiancé's Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it."
By listening to its users and providing inclusive relationship options, Nintendo would be taking a positive step forward and inviting more players to join in.