Last night, screenshots of upcoming Wii U game Paper Mario: Color Splash caused a storm on Twitter, as sections of dialogue were interpreted as a reference to the harassment of developer Zoe Quinn.

The specific dialogue sections reference a group of "Five Fun Guys" and an event dubbed "Shufflegate", which would "ruin" someone's career.

Twitter users drew parallels from the dialogue to subjects previously used as part of an online hate campaign against Depression Quest creator Quinn.

The images were then linked to Quinn herself, who was clearly upset by the perceived interpretation.

Other Twitter users pointed out that the two images, broadcast during E3 as part of a Nintendo Treehouse livestream of the game, were separated by a significant period of time.

Nintendo has now responded to the controversy and clarified that the "gate" reference was simply to the American presidential Watergate scandal, and not the "online hate campaign".

Eurogamer was passed the following statement by Nintendo this afternoon. Here it is in full:

"As many have observed, when viewed in its entirety the Nintendo Treehouse: Live segment for Paper Mario: Color Splash from E3 includes two jokes separated by commentary and gameplay that have no relation to each other. One joke has to do with Watergate, while the other is a nod to the Fungi Fun Guys from Mario Party 8.

"It was brought to our attention today that these two jokes have been spliced together and misconstrued as a crude reference to an online hate campaign. While we typically do not speak on localisation matters, we feel the need to confirm that these jokes are not linked in the game and were never intended to be linked.

"Nintendo firmly rejects the harassment of individuals in any way and was surprised to learn that its gameplay was misinterpreted in this manner."

Paper Mario games are known for their humorous scripts and pop culture references. Here's the full scene, which takes place around the 22-minute mark.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and all the stealth Destiny articles.

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