Nintendo has apologised and pledged to be more inclusive after being criticised for not recognising same-sex relationships in English editions of a life-simulator video game.
The publisher said that while it was too late to change the current game, it was committed to building virtual equality into future versions if they are produced.
Nintendo came under fire from fans and gay rights organisations this past week after refusing to add same-sex relationship options to the game Tomodachi Life.
The company said in a statement: “We apologise 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.”
The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters – Nintendo’s personalized avatars of real players – living on a virtual island. Gamers can do things like shop, play games, go on dates, get married and encounter celebrities like Christina Aguilera and Shaquille O’Neal. Already a hit in Japan, Tomodachi Life is set for release June 6 in North America and Europe.
Tye Marini, a 23-year-old gay Nintendo fan from Mesa, Arizona, launched a social media campaign last month seeking virtual equality for the game’s characters.
“I want to be able to marry my real-life fiance’s Mii, but I can’t do that,” Mr Marini said in a video posted online. “My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fiance’s Mii or to avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it.”
Mr Marini said that he was “very happy” with Nintendo’s response.