Nintendo refuses to allow same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life

UPDATE: Nintendo apologises, promises "more inclusive" representations going forward.

UPDATE 09/05/2014: Nintendo has issued a statement to Eurogamer apologising for its failure to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life.

The company clarified that adding such a feature to Tomodachi life would be a "significant development change" that "can't be accomplished with a post-ship patch." That said, it pledged that future efforts will "strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players."

Nintendo's full statement is as follows:

"We apologise 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."

ORIGINAL STORY 07/05/2014: Nintendo's upcoming wacky surreal life sim Tomodachi Life doesn't allow for same-sex romance. Some may chalk this up as an oversight, but when players launched a social media campaign to amend this glaring omission, Nintendo got defensive about the backlash and said that its hetero-only relationships were in no way intended as social commentary.

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Iwata and Miyamoto's Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen-esque close platonic friendship is considered okay.

"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of 'Tomodachi Life,'" Nintendo of America Inc said in a statement, as reported by ABC News. "The relationship options in the game represent a playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation. We hope that all of our fans will see that 'Tomodachi Life' was intended to be a whimsical and quirky game, and that we were absolutely not trying to provide social commentary."

Of course, "intended as social commentary" and "inadvertently making social commentary" are two different things, and Nintendo only addressed the former, while it refused to acknowledge the latter.

The "#Miiquality" campaign was started by 23-year-old Arizona resident Tye Marini. "I want to be able to marry my real-life fiancÚ's Mii, but I can't do that," Marini said in an online video that was widely circulated over the past week. "My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiancÚ's Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it."

To this Nintendo responded: "The ability for same-sex relationships to occur in the game was not part of the original game that launched in Japan, and that game is made up of the same code that was used to localise it for other regions outside of Japan." As such, implementing gay relationships would involve a greater degree of code tinkering than simply flipping a switch.

Just because Nintendo hasn't announced the addition of same-sex relationships to Tomodachi Life doesn't mean it never will. "We have heard and thoughtfully considered all the responses," Nintendo said in regards to the #Miiquality campaign. "We will continue to listen and think about the feedback. We're using this as an opportunity to better understand our consumers and their expectations of us at all levels of the organisation."

Tomodachi Life was a big success in Japan where it launched in April 2013. As of last December it had sold 1.83 million copies. It will launch on 6th June in Europe and North America. For more information on the peculiar sim, our features editor Martin Robinson put in some time with Tomodachi Life where he called it a "glorious sideshow".

We've contacted Nintendo to see if it can expand on its thoughts towards the #Miiquality campaign and will update as we hear back.

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