Stating that it's "committed to fun and entertainment for everyone," Nintendo issued a formal apology Friday afternoon for it's failure to include same-sex relationships in the upcoming 3DS game Tomodachi Life.
Billed as a "life simulation," Tomodachi Life allows players to use virtual avatars knowns as Miis to engage in everyday activities with each other, from eating to modeling clothing to falling in love with other Miis right up to (and including) marriage. The same-sex controversy arose when, in the original Japanese version of the game, players unearthed a glitch that allowed users to re-gender male characters as female, allowing the semblance of same-sex relationship. But Nintendo eliminated that bug, unleashing a wave of protests and campaigns demanding the company enable same-sex relationships as part of the game's upcoming North American and European release (it launches stateside and in Europe on June 6).
Here's Nintendo's apology in full:
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.
It's impossible, standing on the outside, to say how "significant" the development change Nintendo refers to would have been, but Nintendo's quality control is legendary in the industry -- it does nothing lightly or easily. The company is doubtless hoping its formal apology and promise to be "more inclusive" and "better [represent] all players" in future versions will quell or at least mitigate some of the outrage.