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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 pickassoreborn

The internet will still not be happy though, right?

Posted by patrickklepek

The internet will still not be happy though, right?

They might have a point: this should have been Nintendo's original statement. It has sound reasoning, explains the localization process, and acknowledges how it can be handled in the future. Nintendo knew this was coming, due to the "bug" in the Japanese version, and still didn't have a good answer.

Staff
Edited by Crembaw
@pickassoreborn said:

The internet will still not be happy though, right?

I think it's totally understandable to be kind of mad at the promise that 'oh the NEXT one will totally include you guys, we promise,' a statement inherently operative upon its success or failure in the market.

Whether or not they will be mad, well, we'll see. I think the creator of the Miiquality campaign mentioned he would view something like this - getting same-sex relationships into the sequel - as a success, so there's one angle at least.

Posted by Amafi
Posted by Amafi

@patrickklepek: Their original answer was fine, only someone really looking for something to be offended at could possibly have taken that the wrong way.

Edited by Cogzwell

I... There were times when I was bummed that games did not support same-sex relationships... this was not one of them.

(listen, I don't want to talk about personal things in a comments section. But I don't care about about Miis being able to get married while there are people I have liked I cannot marry.)

Posted by CatsAkimbo

I've been out of the country for the past two weeks. Is this actually a thing I need to go back and read up on or will it be gone in another week?

Edited by Crembaw
@catsakimbo said:

I've been out of the country for the past two weeks. Is this actually a thing I need to go back and read up on or will it be gone in another week?

It's just another stumbling block for Nintendo. Wherever one stands on the particular matter at hand, they really cannot afford to be making as many small missteps as they have been lately. I mean, in a grander context, no company can afford that, but Nintendo is operating under heavy losses lately. Even with their massive cash reserves, for a company that size, losing money is never a good thing.

Posted by JasonR86

@amafi:

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

Online
Edited by scaramoosh

I agree with their original statement, it makes perfect sense! Sadly though media sites print titles like "NINTENDO HATES GAYS" and suddenly Nintendo gets a big backlash even if they never said anything of the sort.

These stupid headlines and news sites need to be held accountable for what they write up. It is like when you get news saying "Cliffy B hates PC gaming" or "PM thinks Minecraft is amazing... AGAIN" and people end up getting fed up with them. Not their fault, they probably just randomly speak to someone and they decide it is news worthy to go on their site....... blame the stupid arse site.

Why I like Giantbomb, they don't write shit up like this.

Edited by Toug

Yeah, that would have been a reasonable answer the first time around.

Second time's a charm Nintendo!

Posted by Amafi

@jasonr86: nah, bored waiting for UPF, and I find this kind of thing incredibly funny, to be honest. The kinds of things some people chose to act all offended over is incredibly fascinating.

Edited by freakin9

Mario and Luigi just need to fuck and get it over with.

Posted by BeyondStrange

@crembaw: But that is what the founder of the Miiquality movement wanted anyway: a promise that the issue could possibly be addressed in the future. If I recall, this second statement was kind of what he was seeking all along.

Still, I must admit my bias on the subject. I feel that the Miiquality movement is fantastic and totally thoughtful and measured, but I also feel the response to Nintendo's original statement was overly harsh. To me, it was taken in the most negative way possible. People took the original statement as "Nintendo is saying homosexual relationships are a political issue" when Nintendo seemed to me wanted to say "we didn't mean to offend anyone or make it seem like we were against homosexuality." This second statement to me is more of a clarification due to some questionable wording rather than the typical bigot's half-hearted apology.

Posted by President_Barackbar

I've been out of the country for the past two weeks. Is this actually a thing I need to go back and read up on or will it be gone in another week?

Basically Nintendo is making a Sims like game that doesn't include the possibility for same sex relationships. A twitter campaign was started and their initial response was basically "this wasn't a political statement, its a fantasy world and its not how we designed it." People got pretty mad, so then they put out this follow up statement that clearly articulates why it can't happen.

Posted by EveretteScott
@amafi said:

@jasonr86: nah, bored waiting for UPF, and I find this kind of thing incredibly funny, to be honest. The kinds of things some people chose to act all offended over is incredibly fascinating.

I like you. Until you say something I don't agree with of course. But I agree, sometimes things are said or done and not meant to be an insult or negative opinion on someone, a life, a look, etc.

Posted by Hyuzen

"Quickly."

Edited by Crembaw

@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.

Posted by Efesell

@patrickklepek: That first line seems like it got a little bit jumbled Patrick.

Posted by jamessmarion

@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."

Edited by Encephalon

That was a way more straightforward response.

Posted by DaveKap

"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."

Yeah, we're not getting another Tomodachi game. :(

Edited by Illuminosopher

I'm a person who when able makes their characters gay and I find it more insulting that people find this insulting.

Edit : is Giant Bomb slowly becoming a click bate site?

Posted by freakin9

I will play devils advocate for the gay people getting offended... you don't have to accept a carefully worded response, when the evidence points to a concious effort to remove gay relationships from the game.

I'm more offended by the people dissecting the carefully worded response. But whatever, I'll join in:

This is pretty much what they said in the original comment: "It's a game about fantasy, and our fantasy, quite frankly, is to be rid of you people."

Edited by metalliccookies

@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."

Edited by Yohosie

I think it's hilarious that people chalk it up to "social commentary" to include gay couples in their games, when not including gay couples is an equal statement of social commentary.

Furthermore, something that isn't talked about, is that your character automatically marries a man. It's not really a choice in game, you can't stay single. I'm a lesbian, I don't want to marry a dude. No choice if I play Tomodochi Life! Kind of a bummer, enough to not make me buy the game, honestly. If the game is all about this virtual world where you build relationships, but I'm forced into a relationship with a man (which I don't want to do, fantasy or reality), then why would I buy it.

Game looks nuts. I'm glad they're making it. This breaks it for me, though. I don't want to participate in a fantasy world where my orientation doesn't exist. Sounds like a shitty fantasy to me.

Edited by RoyCampbell

I find it fucking disgusting how the games media sensationalized this whole thing. Now make sure to drag this dead horse into next week with your article about it on Monday because lord knows we need yet another disingenuous, hysterical piece of input added to the pile.

The lull in anything newsworthy in games brought this non-issue (made a non-issue because of the game's circumstance in terms of localization and its impending release) to a complete boil within a day because a first-world controversy was obviously amiss.

All I've seen is bullying from special interest groups as well as from swathes of people from tumblr and neogaf, etc.; it has completely soured my wanting of gay relationships in Tomodachi Life. It's a loud minority, yes, and it has just ruined the whole sentiment for me.

And to think: all this vitriol AFTER Nintendo put out that completely silly 11-minute long video. The number of outlandish things happening in that video and social justice yet again takes the main stage.

Nintendo obviously should've expected this when they decided to bring it to the west. Hypersensitive outrage over anything. I wish they'd have originally kept quiet about the whole thing. Everyone is too busy looking to be upset, no matter what answer could be given.

Don't worry, I did plenty of privilege checking before even typing out a single letter. I'm good!

Edited by InternetFamous

While I would have gone with their second statement first ("we can't do it, because, no really, we just aren't capable of it" is a better excuse than "we really would rather not weigh in on social issues"), I can't believe people lost their shit over this. They're a company that's trying not to step on toes by distancing themselves from a hugely polarizing issue that people have tacked onto what basically amounts to a design oversight. Why is that at all surprising?

Posted by CatsAkimbo

sounds like all I needed to know, thank you :)

@crembaw:

Posted by JuggaloAcidman

I think the original comment was taken alittle out of context. For years all of us have been complaining that Nintendo is stuck in the past! We're talking about the company who just released their 90th "Fat Plumber Plays Sports" game now in 3D! Is this really the company we expect to be progressive on this issue?

Edited by Atwa

@patrickklepek said:

@pickassoreborn said:

The internet will still not be happy though, right?

They might have a point: this should have been Nintendo's original statement. It has sound reasoning, explains the localization process, and acknowledges how it can be handled in the future. Nintendo knew this was coming, due to the "bug" in the Japanese version, and still didn't have a good answer.

I think that way too much much focus has been put on their response. As if they just had worded their response differently most of the negative feedback would never have occurred. Especially when their original response was in no way offensive and clearly desperate to try and make people understand that they meant nothing bad with Tomodachi Life.

It has been way blown out of proportion when The Guardian and BBC write stories that try to claim that Nintendo has an anti-gay agenda. In the end its largely ignorance that has made it such a big thing. If more people knew about gaming as a whole. They would realize that the game was released over a year ago in Japan and that localization teams have no power to change things like these.

I just hope that this incident won't stop Nintendo from gambling on smaller titles like Tomodachi Life in the future. It was a risk to begin with and hopefully this haven't scared them off from doing it again.

Edited by peritus

@roycampbell said:

I find it fucking disgusting how the games media sensationalized this whole thing. Now make sure to drag this dead horse into next week with your article about it on Monday because lord knows we need yet another disingenuous, hysterical piece of input added to the pile.

The lull in anything newsworthy in games brought this non-issue (made a non-issue because of the game's circumstance in terms of localization and its impending release) to a complete boil within a day because a first-world controversy was obviously amiss.

All I've seen is bullying from special interest groups as well as from swathes of people from tumblr and neogaf, etc.; it has completely soured my wanting of gay relationships in Tomodachi Life. It's a loud minority, yes, and it has just ruined the whole sentiment for me.

And to think: all this vitriol AFTER Nintendo put out that completely silly 11-minute long video. The number of outlandish things happening in that video and social justice yet again takes the main stage.

Nintendo obviously should've expected this when they decided to bring it to the west. Hypersensitive outrage over anything. I wish they'd have originally kept quiet about the whole thing. Everyone is too busy looking to be upset, no matter what answer could be given.

Don't worry, I did plenty of privilege checking before even typing out a single letter. I'm good!

Well said.

Also, we should try and remember that Nintendo is in no way obligated to add same sex relations to their game. That might be a big thing over here in the west, but im not so sure that its as big of a thing over there. But hey, im not Japanese, i guess i dont know that for a fact. But im also guessing most of us dont. ;-)

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

Posted by bunnymud

Bullying: How to get your way

Posted by Monkeyman04

@patrickklepek: "Nintendo came under earlier this week fire.."

Um..If I'm not mistaken, shouldn't it be "Nintendo came under fire earlier..."

Posted by SecondPersonShooter

All this accusation of an anti-gay agenda, how quickly people forget Captain Rainbow

Edited by Chicken008

Crazy how this escalated, didn't know so many people cared for Tomodachi Life.
I've never seen a huge controversy like this over the exclusion of same sex relationships in other life/relationship sim games.

Edited by planetfunksquad

A company from a culture which has a completely different set of opinions on homosexuality made a game which didn't include homosexuality? I am SHOCKED.

For real, the Japanese outlook on homosexuality is fucked up imo, but how can you expect a company the size of Nintendo to buck that social stigma, especially in a game that was probably never meant to come out anywhere but Japan? Thats an issue with Japan as a whole though, not just Nintendo.

As for the people who were just upset with Nintendo referring to homosexuality as a "political statement", in their own country it could have been seen as exactly that.

I'm all for gay relationships in Tomodachi Life, and any other game in fact, but it seems like the people getting upset aren't really considering the cultural differences here. Sure, they could have added it in localisation, but this is probably a massive gamble as is.

Posted by Afroofdoom

The original response from Nintendo was the worst combination of mealy-mouthed, tone deaf and non-committal I have ever seen from professional PR. It was incredible in it's badness.

If today's apology had been their opening gambit, nobody would have been up in arms, the #Miiquality movement would have been immediately successful, and most people would have been singing Nintendo's praises.

As it is, this is an acceptable climb down and acknowledgement that they dun goofed. Hopefully a sequel happens, and hopefully they are true to their word and "design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players".

Posted by wewantsthering

@patrickklepek: "Nintendo came under earlier this week fire.."

Um..If I'm not mistaken, shouldn't it be "Nintendo came under fire earlier..."

You beat me to it. :-)

Posted by jtotheotothestothee

@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."

the original statement did not suggest nintendo believes that the inclusion of same sex marriages in the game is akin to social commentary, but rather that the absence of non-hetero relationships was not meant to be taken as social commentary.

Posted by Hef

congratulations for the 5 people that even knew what this game was before all of this

Posted by Atwa

I find it fucking disgusting how the games media sensationalized this whole thing. Now make sure to drag this dead horse into next week with your article about it on Monday because lord knows we need yet another disingenuous, hysterical piece of input added to the pile.

The lull in anything newsworthy in games brought this non-issue (made a non-issue because of the game's circumstance in terms of localization and its impending release) to a complete boil within a day because a first-world controversy was obviously amiss.

All I've seen is bullying from special interest groups as well as from swathes of people from tumblr and neogaf, etc.; it has completely soured my wanting of gay relationships in Tomodachi Life. It's a loud minority, yes, and it has just ruined the whole sentiment for me.

And to think: all this vitriol AFTER Nintendo put out that completely silly 11-minute long video. The number of outlandish things happening in that video and social justice yet again takes the main stage.

Nintendo obviously should've expected this when they decided to bring it to the west. Hypersensitive outrage over anything. I wish they'd have originally kept quiet about the whole thing. Everyone is too busy looking to be upset, no matter what answer could be given.

Don't worry, I did plenty of privilege checking before even typing out a single letter. I'm good!

I wish I could like, thumb up, give gold or whatever. I'll have to make do with saying that you have some very good points that I agree fully with.

Edited by OfficerMeatbeef

@roycampbell said:
Don't worry, I did plenty of privilege checking before even typing out a single letter. I'm good!

Nope, you sure ain't.

That video was fantastic! I loved that thing. I think the game looks like a loveable little event. Think on this, though. That video had all those hilarious, outlandish things happening, right? And yet even with all that, the thought that people in a silly little life sim might want to be able to have relationships with people of the same sex was too outlandish for them to consider! At the very least, that represents a biiiiiig problem in their thinking on the matter, and it's AUTOMATICALLY social commentary, especially when a core part of your game is that a person who represents you is a key part of the experience!

Design oversight? That's understandable and I do honestly believe that's likely the innocent way this started. It happens to the best of us; remember early in the Massive Chalice Kickstarter where they missed that people would maybe want no-hetero marriages, and Brad Muir simply admitted that he honestly didn't think about it at first? He acknowledged that he blew it on that, changed the design, and everyone was happy.

Tomodachi Life was already done, changing the way relationships work for the NA release almost certainly would have been a big undertaking for something Nintendo is taking a gamble on catching on here. So alone, it wouldn't have necessarily warranted a nice strong internet shitstorm.

But they completely blew it on not just saying that right from the start and acknowledging future efforts would correct that, and trying to hide behind "we're not trying to make social commentary!" just made it much, much worse. At that point, they needed to be called out hard, because they fucked up and they need to know why. That is the only way they will learn.

Edited by Murdoc_

@atwa: ditto, sort of.

jtotheotothestothee - Yeah, maybe I'm dim or something, but that's how I took it. A feature wasn't included in a game, which normally is just a disappointing gripe, but instead was spun as a bigoted social statement from the company. Maybe Nintendo could have handled their reply better, but aside from that it should have just had a slight call out and moving on.

It would be like if every game ever was released and a company had to defend why the protagonist couldn't also be female, or transgender or not a mass murderer.

Posted by Generic_username

I'm a person who when able makes their characters gay and I find it more insulting that people find this insulting.

Edit : is Giant Bomb slowly becoming a click bate site?

No.

Patrick didn't even make a story until the second set of comments that Nintendo made.

The assumption that Giantbomb is becoming a clickbait site based on stuff like this is pretty goddamn insulting.

Edited by Pierre42

Hmm considering it's illegal in the main country of sale Japan I wouldn't hold it against them, their hands are tied in the matter. They'd probably get a in a lot of trouble there for including it. A real lose-lose situation. Heart goes out to them, so long as they don't handle PR like Don Mattrick I think this will pass without a major witch burning.

Posted by Roboculus92

@jamessmarion said:

@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."

the original statement did not suggest nintendo believes that the inclusion of same sex marriages in the game is akin to social commentary, but rather that the absence of non-hetero relationships was not meant to be taken as social commentary.

Their original statement regarding "social commentary" is ambiguous enough that you can interpret it either way. If they had been more clear about what they meant in their original statement then this controversy likely would have never occurred. Now that their improved second statement is out there, I believe this will all die down.

Posted by RVonE

I find it fucking disgusting how the games media sensationalized this whole thing. Now make sure to drag this dead horse into next week with your article about it on Monday because lord knows we need yet another disingenuous, hysterical piece of input added to the pile.

The lull in anything newsworthy in games brought this non-issue (made a non-issue because of the game's circumstance in terms of localization and its impending release) to a complete boil within a day because a first-world controversy was obviously amiss.

All I've seen is bullying from special interest groups as well as from swathes of people from tumblr and neogaf, etc.; it has completely soured my wanting of gay relationships in Tomodachi Life. It's a loud minority, yes, and it has just ruined the whole sentiment for me.

And to think: all this vitriol AFTER Nintendo put out that completely silly 11-minute long video. The number of outlandish things happening in that video and social justice yet again takes the main stage.

Nintendo obviously should've expected this when they decided to bring it to the west. Hypersensitive outrage over anything. I wish they'd have originally kept quiet about the whole thing. Everyone is too busy looking to be upset, no matter what answer could be given.

Don't worry, I did plenty of privilege checking before even typing out a single letter. I'm good!

All you've seen is "bullying from special interest groups..." It must be a wonderful place where you live, you know where history is somehow upside down.

But you must be right, it's because people are just looking to be upset.

Posted by PixelGorilla