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Nintendo Promises Future Tomodachi Games Will Be More "Inclusive"

The company has quickly backtracked from its original comments.

Nintendo came under fire earlier this week for statements the company made about Tomodachi Life, its upcoming quirky and weird life simulator. The company has now apologized.

Users had organized to have Nintendo implement same sex marriages into Tomodachi Life, but when asked by the Associated Press about the campaign, the company issued a tone-deaf response.

“Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of Tomodachi Life" the company 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.”

Nintendo has now backed off from those comments, and issued a statement suggesting future Tomodachi games might include new elements based on this feedback. Here's the full 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 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.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
368 Comments
Posted by Amafi

@rvone: From the post it's obvious he's talking about this specific case. Just like Nintendo's intent in their original statement was obvious. If you got upset by any of that stuff you should really try to focus all that energy and anger and all those widdle hurt feelings on something actually harmful and offensive. There's a lot of shit to chose from. This whole story, however, should not have been one of those things.

Edited by EthanML

Sigh, what a crock of bullshit that they should have to come out with anything like this. Thanks again, overly sensitive masses of the internet. See you in another 2 days when somebody else gets offended and that's somehow everyone's problem again.

P.S. I wouldn't be surprised if this decreases the chances of Nintendo bringing their refreshing, adventurous new franchises that everyone's always crying out for to the west in future, so good job on that count, too. Who can blame them really, after this.

Posted by Quantical

Does anybody really care?

Posted by djm389

@quantical: Being that every video game website I have visited over the last few days has mentioned it at least once and that ever GB comment section of an article that mentions this becomes about this, I am going to say "yes."

Edited by gorkamorkaorka

The site hardly has any news updates and this is like the biggest deal out there apparently.

Posted by dougbrit2

Damn some people need to watch this on this site. I do have strong feelings how Nintendo answered. There original statement was a might "we just don't touch that stuff", the world has moved on so why do so many gamers just forget that the percent of games that let you be or express yourself is high these days, the number that let you chose to romance who you feel? Very, very few, less unless communities make their voice heard.

Like others, this game did I care? No, but I get tired of being told the "X" community overreacts until your part of that community. Only female and female relationships in that game? There would be so much more then gaf threads you all dismiss. Try and see both sides before you dismiss.

Posted by Hailinel

@patrickklepek: You really don't need to say "bug" with sarcasm quotes. There was an actual game-breaking bug in the original Japanese release that needed a patch. It's well-documented at this point.

Posted by RVonE

@amafi said:

@rvone: From the post it's obvious he's talking about this specific case. Just like Nintendo's intent in their original statement was obvious. If you got upset by any of that stuff you should really try to focus all that energy and anger and all those widdle hurt feelings on something actually harmful and offensive. There's a lot of shit to chose from. This whole story, however, should not have been one of those things.

Case in point.

Posted by Roboculus92

@patrickklepek:Stolen from GAF but still a good deception of what happened with the 'Bug'

"There's still a lot of misinformation going around about the Japanese patch.

The actual glitch, as described by Bill Trinen to IGN was "that a free tool on the 3DS eShop allowed players to transfer over Mii characters from the 2009, Japan-only DS version to the 3DS game caused a problem. When a player brought those characters into 3DS’s Tomodachi Collection, it caused a data transfer issue that corrupted the save data and prevented people from progressing."

Nintendo UK expanded on that and said this glitch could "result in different Miis being randomly assigned to existing in-game relationships, such as already married Mii, or as just one other example, giving the appearance of same-sex relations."

So it sounds like imported male Miis from the original Tomodachi Collection could replace existing female Miis in the 3DS game that were already in a relationship. This prevented the player from saving, so Nintendo patched this error in relation to the import tool.

So the patch did not change the fact that you could make a Mii look like a different gender. They only patched the issue with the transfer tool. So, the patch didn't prevent you from creating the semblance of same-sex relationships, it just made it so it wouldn't accidentally happen via the transfer tool, which would've prevented you from saving."

Good to get some clarification on that part.

Posted by LordAndrew

The original response wasn't great, but in no way hateful. Like they said, no social commentary was intended. They fixed a bug that was present in the game, and if the bug hadn't been in there in first place we probably wouldn't even care about this.

I'm glad to see they're at least trying to make amends though.

Edited by MEATBALL

Glad to hear it, good on Nintendo backtracking to a much more reasonable position when they could have stubbornly stuck to their guns. It's a shame they're unable to patch the game, but this a promising decision.

Edit: Maybe I haven't been reading enough of the internet, but there seem to be a bunch of people commenting here about how much they can't stand the outrage that ensued over this issue - I never saw much outrage, to be honest, mostly just people appealing to Nintendo for the feature. Nintendo's response was a little troublesome, and that was pointed out, but I never really saw this furious response that seems to have gotten some people riled up. And usually I'm one of those that can find themselves irritated by overreactions. This all seems to have gone down pretty civil from what I've seen.

Edited by GoldROCK

@peritus said:

Also, when did games get so political? Keep that stuff out of my games, i just want high scores, and medkits to pick up, and maybe a cheat-code or two! :-p

Yes. I'm very active in the political realm, and I'm sick of politics being mingled into everything. I play video games and watch sports to get away from all of that. Unfortunately they can't be kept separate anymore. The world should not be one giant Reeses cup.

Edited by Taargus_435

Same-sex marriage is illegal in Japan, that's probably the reason it wasn't in the game in the first place. They probably wanted a quick and easy localisation to fill in their thin 2014 software lineup, and didn't want to spend the time and money it would take to add this in.

Posted by GoldROCK

@amafi: I'm happy to see people are getting tired of the "bleeding heart, actively search for something to be offended by, social justice" narrative. I mean, I've always been annoyed by it, but it seems like it's getting tired for more people everyday. Thank God.

Posted by RVonE

@amafi said:

@rvone: Case in point what? You're not making an argument at all.

Neither are you. I was interested in what you had to say until you decided to be condescending. It renders impossible any worthwhile exchange.

Posted by Sergio

@jasonr86 said:

@amafi:

You, sir, are a highly motivated individual. You have to be to be this persistent on a single topic.

He's not really wrong.

People interpreted the original comment as negative as they could. @patrickklepek and others focused on the "social commentary" portion of it over twitter. They read it to mean that Nintendo didn't include same-sex relationships in the game because they didn't intend to make any social commentary with the game. Heck, even people in this thread like @jamessmarion still think this is the case. What they were saying is that they didn't exclude same-sex relationships in order to make some social comment against LGBT people and their supporters. There is a very big difference. The key word is "intent." One could still argue that the exclusion is a subtle form of social commentary, that hetero relationships were included because they are the norm, but they did not intend it to be social commentary.

The Nintendo Direct where they announced the game coming to the west was proof that this was intended to be a quirky and whimsical game, and not a life sim as some suggest, again even in this thread. Christian Nutt's blog (which should have been in the worth reading for this week) gives more details on what this game is, and adds to today's comment from Nintendo why this couldn't have been changed for this iteration of the franchise.

Think about it. You don't actually have control over the relationships the Miis form in the game. It's not a simple matter of setting a flag on your Mii to have them capable of being in a same-sex relationship. It's having to be able to do that with every single Mii. Even then people would probably still be upset if the default were hetero and changing it was locked behind parental controls. Then they would need to change the interactions to accommodate the possibility. This would add to the testing as well. It was pretty clear to many people that this was not a possibility with this release. Not once did I see a game journalist acknowledge this while they called Nintendo tone deaf. I guess 140-characters is very limiting, and they don't want to waste more than one tweet on the subject.

In the end, Nintendo did say they were still listening to feedback in their original statement. They've reiterated that in today's statement. I think the original #Miiquality made sense, and I think it garnered the attention is should have gotten. The vitriol from some on twitter, Kotaku, and Polygon however didn't serve any good except to show how self-righteous some are.

Posted by GoldROCK

@amafi: Totally agree with you

Posted by fantomspower

I don't think Nintendo did this with ill intentions. However, to change this now or patch in inclusive marriages shouldn't be such a difficult task. As of now there would have to be something in the code to NOT allow it. I don't buy that it is too difficult to change at this point. BOO this Nintendo.

ALLOW_MARRIAGE == TRUE ... Fixed! You're welcome Nintendo.

Posted by DefaultProphet

@goldrock said:

@amafi: I'm happy to see people are getting tired of the "bleeding heart, actively search for something to be offended by, social justice" narrative. I mean, I've always been annoyed by it, but it seems like it's getting tired for more people everyday. Thank God.

Says the people playing the victim. "Oh no politics in my video games? You're ruining it!!!!!"

Posted by Illuminosopher

@generic_username: I don't know I think i have seen a few over the past few months maybe it's too soon to say but I think there is a chance that Giant Bomb is becoming Kotaku.

Check back in 3 years then we will know for sure.

Edited by ChrisHarris

Is it just me or is there absolutely zero "backtrack[ing] from its original comments" going on here? It seems like some people just misinterpreted the first statement.

Online
Posted by JeffGoldblum

@goldrock: No one is saying all games should be political. There was no outrage when the next smash brothers wasn't announced with a gay marriage option. The problem is representation. Most people who are saying this is a political problem and shouldn't be included in games are straight. Their preferred relationship is already in the game and gay rights is just a political issue. But, for someone who is lgbt, being lgbt isn't a political issue its just their life, and thus even if the game is just a wacky life simulator with no serious intention, their mii and all their friends miis will be straight in the game. That's why this is an issue. On the other hand I totally understand why this isn't being changed until the next game. Changes like that are expensive and its enough that they've been able to acknowledge that there is an issue and are going to fix it for the next game.

Edited by Redhorn

@patrickklepek: Nothing they've said really changes the fact that they didn't include same sex relationships in this version of the game, or fixes their belief that that inclusion would be akin to "social commentary."

this

Posted by Sergio

I don't think Nintendo did this with ill intentions. However, to change this now or patch in inclusive marriages shouldn't be such a difficult task. As of now there would have to be something in the code to NOT allow it. I don't buy that it is too difficult to change at this point. BOO this Nintendo.

ALLOW_MARRIAGE == TRUE ... Fixed! You're welcome Nintendo.

Sarcasm or complete lack of programming, testing, and project management knowledge?

Posted by pawsoffury

It's not about Nintendo causing offence, it's another example of backwards thinking from a company that really needs to modernize & understand things aren't the same as they were in the business or in the world around them circa 1990-1992.

Considering E.A. had this exact same argument regarding same sex relationships in Mass Effect & Dragon Age nearly half a decade ago now, you would have thought a company trying to woo 3rd parties to their platform would be more observant?

Edited by AltonBrown

Good for them!

@pawsoffury: A lot of this probably has to do with the cultural differences between Japan and the Western world on homosexuality, and less on being more modern. That's how I see it, anyway.

Posted by ProfessorEss

...is Giant Bomb slowly becoming a click bate site?

Define "slowly becoming"?

Posted by MooseyMcMan

I'm glad they put out this new statement. Hopefully next time they'll put their money where their mouth is and actually include more options regarding sexuality in the next one.

Moderator
Posted by Abendlaender

And thus the only thing this game will ever be remembered for ends.

I'm gonna buy this game Day 1 but in a month or so nobody else will even remember it exists

Posted by Memu

The conclusion to take away from all of this, as a game developer, is that in order to avoid controversy and not offend anyone you must be sure to implement in your game the ability to fuck any game character without regards to their sex, race, or religion!

Posted by Winternet

*witty remark about Nintendo coming under earlier this week fire*

Posted by posh

@amafi said:

@goldrock: I'm all for getting angry and doing shit when something is actually harmful. All this outrage about nothing is one of those things though. It's actively doing harm. It's having the opposite of the intended effect when people shrilly scream about NOTHING. Every day all day outrage about nothing at all. Completely drowns out the actual problems and legit protests out there. It's a shame.

Luckily these people are also supremely lazy and only worry about what happens in their little sphere on the internet, so the damage they can inflict is limited.

nothing to you, because you're straight. if you're playing this game and you're gay then a big part of the game (relationships) excludes you right off the bat. sounds like you're just an ignorant asshole, not that you're worried about "actual problems and legit protests" getting drowned out, whatever the hell that means. what the fuck was drowned out here?

Edited by EuanDewar

Feel like I'm in total bizarro world on this one. Aside from a couple of easily ignorable people who went overboard everything I saw in relation to this story from both the campaigners and Nintendo was completely low-key and civil and not at all "fucking disgusting".

Posted by l4wd0g

Everyone just seems to view Japan as the Asian United States. It's not. The fact that you're out and proud in the US is great. However, the culture in Japan is very different. They are far more closeted. They have different 'faces' for different situations.

To attack a Japanese game because it doesn't fit your culture is the most ethnocentric bullshit I've heard in a while.

Just stop. Because you're out and proud doesn't mean you can force other cultures have to be as well. Be tolerant of their culture too.

Edited by Amafi

@posh: There's actual bigotry and evil shit on the internet actually victimizing gay people. There are people spewing actual hateful shit that could do with getting some of this attention and hate heaped on them.

This was, at the worst, a poorly worded PR response, read this and tell me it's justified considering the situation here, or that this person couldn't have spent her time doing something more constructive.

Posted by WetVein

No sodomy? No deal!

Posted by Sergio

Good for them!

@pawsoffury: A lot of this probably has to do with the cultural differences between Japan and the Western world on homosexuality, and less on being more modern. That's how I see it, anyway.

I agree with you. The first Tomodachi Collection didn't come out here. This second one didn't seem like it was going to come out here either. They developed the game with Japan in mind where same-sex marriage isn't legal. Sure it would be great if same-sex marriage were legal there, but it'd also be great if that were the case here. (Arkansas' same-sex marriage ban was struck down by a judge today, so that's good.)

Edited by zeekthegeek

But wait, wasn't it already found that they had put it in at the japanese launch..and then declared it a bug and removed it?

Posted by Aoi

@crembaw said:

@djm389 Oh totally, I mentioned that in the second part of the post. But I think it would be equally valid, even though I don't personally feel this way, for someone to feel burned by a promise which hinges upon people buying the first product anyway. Tomodachi Life is a fairly bizarre title and its success in the market is far from a sure thing in the US. It's entirely within the realm of possibility that even if it gets a second installment, it might not even get a Western release.

I'm glad that they had the thoughtfulness to backtrack rather than stick with the standard Press Tidbit. Now it's just a matter of whether or not there will BE a TL2.

I would almost say that a TL2 is irrelevant at this point. What is relevant is that Nintendo acknowledged the issue, and will likely put thought into it in other potential projects where it might matter in general. The simple fact that they addressed it, and said they would work to be more inclusive in the future is a good step all around, and doesn't have to just be about any future Tomodachi games.

Posted by Hawkerace

This is video game news, lmao.

Posted by Aoi

@hawkerace: It's news having to do with a video game, a video game publisher, and the video game community. So um... yep... It sure is.

Posted by eccentrix

I don't know how integral to the core programming a character's sex has to be to not be able to patch in gender-neutral relationships.

Posted by zeekthegeek

I think it further cements the need for new blood at nintendo, and to do what Sony has done with the PS4: letting Europe and American divisions of the company have a far stronger say in the day-to-day of it all. If they talked to the Western divisions about this more they'd probably have figured it out pretty early and none of us would be talking about it.

Also lol at the thought police getting mad people are offended by something or not agreeing with Nintedo, how DARE they form opinions on things in public! It is extremely hilarious to me how often people will describe having a stance on something as CENSORSHIP or DESTRUCTIVE. Get a grip.

It's not about Nintendo causing offence, it's another example of backwards thinking from a company that really needs to modernize & understand things aren't the same as they were in the business or in the world around them circa 1990-1992.

Considering E.A. had this exact same argument regarding same sex relationships in Mass Effect & Dragon Age nearly half a decade ago now, you would have thought a company trying to woo 3rd parties to their platform would be more observant?

Posted by HatKing

@amafi: I don't get why people in your position think that just because somebody finds something like this (in the grand scheme, relatively harmless) offensive they can't also be bothered by more violent and aggressive discrimination. I don't like it when somebody stabs me to death, but that doesn't mean I'm okay if they piss in my soup.

I will say that this seems like a relatively non-issue (this specific game) at this point. I think I fall somewhere between the two extremes here. Obviously it is an issue that same sex relationships weren't considered during development, but I'm not cynical enough to think that Nintendo is completely tone-deaf, especially after a reaction like this. They heard us, guys. That's a victory. Future games will be better, or they'll face this again. And they're in no position to risk backlash.

Edited by TDot

A little late but they eventually said the right things.

Also let me praise animal crossing for letting little me run around in a dress and no one giving a shit.

Edited by OneTallGamer

I can't believe so many people are misinterpreting the "social commentary" line. Its obvious that they are saying the absence of same sex marriage is not meant as social commentary -- not that including same sex marriage would be social commentary.

It doesn't help that when you have gaming news outlets calling the statement "atrocious" or "tone-deaf" because the some writers are too emotionally invested and misconstruing the actually meaning of what Nintendo was trying to get across. And now because of that they are apologizing for a statement there was nothing wrong with in the beginning.

Edited by KentonClay

@amafi said:

@posh: There's actual bigotry and evil shit on the internet actually victimizing gay people. There are people spewing actual hateful shit that could do with getting some of this attention and hate heaped on them.

This was, at the worst, a poorly worded PR response, read this and tell me it's justified considering the situation here, or that this person couldn't have spent her time doing something more constructive.

But bigots don't just pop up out of nowhere, they're products of their environment just like everyone else. Nintendo saying that they're leaving out gay relationships in order to avoid social commentary is just another example of the larger unspoken media attitude that "the gays" are something that should be quietly swept under the rug and not exposed to children.