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Nintendo responds to criticism regarding same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life [UPDATE]

GLAAD representative says Nintendo is sending a "hurtful" and exclusionary message with its latest 3DS game, but Nintendo says they'll be more inclusive with their next Tomodachi game.

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Nintendo issued the following response to the current issues equality issues surrounding Tomodachi Life:

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.

The original story appears below.

LGBT advocacy group GLAAD has called out Nintendo for not allowing same-sex relationships in its 3DS game, Tomodachi Life. Speaking with VentureBeat, GLAAD's Wilson Cruz criticized Nintendo's stance and said the company should follow other contemporary games in supporting relationships of all kinds.

"In purposefully limiting players' relationship options, Nintendo is not only sending a hurtful message to many of its fans and consumers by excluding them, but also setting itself way behind the times," Cruz said.

Nintendo released a statement to the Associated Press this week on the matter, saying it never intended to make any kind of social commentary with Tomodachi Life. The Mario and Zelda company went on to say that Tomodachi Life was designed to be a "whimsical and quirky" game, not a real world simulation.

The issue rose to prominence after a fan launched a social media awareness campaign called #Miiquality. Tomodachi Life is one of the most popular 3DS games of all time, selling 1.85 million units, and it's not even released in the United States yet.

Cruz pointed out that The Sims, one of the first mainstream games to allow same-sex relationships, was released over a decade ago. Many major game franchises have followed suit in supporting same-sex relationships, including Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Fable. "Nintendo should do the same," Cruz said.

On its own blog, GLAAD associate director of entertainment media Matt Kane said: "By listening to its users and providing inclusive relationship options, Nintendo would be taking a positive step forward and invite more players to join in."

For more on Tomodachi Life, be sure to read GameSpot's interview with Nintendo's Bill Trinen.

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