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Gay relationships barred from Nintendo game Tomodachi Life

James Temperton
8 May 2014
Tomodachi Life
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Nintendo will not allow same-sex relationships in new 3DS game, claiming it is intended to be a "playful alternate world"

Nintendo will not allow gay relationships and flirting in an upcoming life simulator game, saying that it doesn't want to make "social commentary".

Tomodachi Life, which is launching in North America and Europe on 6 June, will only include heterosexual relationships with gay characters outlawed.

The Nintendo 3DS game was released in Japan last year and places people's Mii characters on a virtual island where they can shop, play, go on dates and rub shoulders with celebrities.

By December it had sold over 1.83 million copies. But the Japanese version of the game only allows relationships between men and women, sparking a campaign to have gay relationships added to the European and North American editions.

Responding to growing calls for relationship equality in Tomodachi Life, Nintendo has confirmed it will not allow gay relationships in its life-sim:

"Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life,” Nintendo of America said.

"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."

The company went on to explain that in localising the game for Europe and North America it was using "the same code" and that it wouldn't be allowing "same-sex relationships to occur".

A later, more comprehensive statement from Nintendo USA attempted to explain its decision:

"We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships inTomodachi 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."

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