Tomodachi Life is all about creating drama and people falling in love, but it doesn’t include the possibility for same-sex love — and Nintendo is sorry about that.
The company issued an apology today after dealing with fallout from fans who feel excluded from the social-life simulator, which is due out June 6 for the 3DS. This statement comes a day after advocacy group GLAAD — which represents lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people — issued a statement to GameBeat calling Nintendo “behind the times.” While Nintendo is saying its sorry, it still plans to launch the game next month without same-sex relationships.
Here’s Nintendo’s statement:
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 postship 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 gameplay experience from the ground up that is more inclusive and better represents all players.
Tomodachi Life has players creating Mii characters that represent them, their family, their friends, and more. All of these characters interact with one another in bizarre and wacky scenarios. Nintendo makes a big deal about characters falling in love and even having children.
Nintendo had previously said that it was never its intent to make a social commentary with the game, but many people did not accept that.
Groups like GLAAD and other people who expressed disappointment in Nintendo pointed out that publisher Electronic Arts’ The Sims enabled homosexual characters more than 10 years ago.
“Many other mainstream and massively popular video games have followed [The Sims] lead since,” GLAAD national spokesperson Wilson Cruz told GamesBeat yesterday. “Nintendo should do the same.”
Nintendo is likely hoping that this apology will satisfy many of its critics. If not, it’s possible that its promise to “strive” to include homosexual couples in any future Tomodachi Life games will act as a peace offering, although those critics are likely hoping the company won’t strive and fail.
“Nintendo has taken a first step,” GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement provided to GamesBeat. “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.”
The Tomodachi Life series is making its North American debut with this title, but both this version and its DS predecessor have sold well in Japan, and it’s likely the company will make a new one. Even if Nintendo didn’t explicitly say that it will include gay people in its next game, it will likely want to avoid the negative press this move earned it.