Nintendo could be haggling with a public relations nightmare ahead of the worldwide release of a popular “life simulator” game that hit big in Japan. The gaming company says that it will not allow same-sex relationships for the game Tomodachi Life, prompting pro-gay critics to speak out.
Tomodachi Life is a game built of Nintendo’s virtual “Mii” characters, who engage in real world activities such as going to work, entertainment, dating and the like. So far, only male and female characters are allowed to flirt, date and get married which sparked a small campaign by 23-year-old gay fan Tye Marini last month.
The Associated Press has more:
The publisher of such gaming franchises as “The Legend of Zelda” and “Mario Bros.” said Tuesday it wouldn’t bow to pressure to allow players to engage in romantic activities with characters of the same sex in English editions of “Tomodachi Life.” This follows a social media campaign launched by fans last month seeking virtual equality for the game’s characters, which are modeled after real people.
“Nintendo never intended to make any form of social commentary with the launch of ‘Tomodachi Life,'” Nintendo of America Inc. said in a statement. “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 says that the game has sold nearly 2 million copies, and is set for release in North America and Europe June 6. Tomodachi means “friend” in Japanese and the game’s English tagline is “Your friends. Your drama. Your life.”
Fans of the game pushing for the inclusion of gay characters in Tomodachi Life have been using the social media tag “#MiiEquality” to galvanize others in the cause.
Watch the trailer for Tomodachi Life in the clip below. Hit the jump to see a small gallery of photos.
Photos: Nintendo, YouTube