After a horribly botched explanation of why gay characters couldn't marry in simulation game Tomodachi Life, Nintendo has issued an apology. "We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life," says a statement on the company website. Unfortunately for players, it's not going back on its previous decision, saying that "such a significant development change can't be accomplished with a post-ship patch." But it's promised to take fan criticism to heart. "We are committed to advancing our longtime company values of fun and entertainment for everyone," the company says. "We pledge that if we create a next installment in the Tomodachi series, we will strive to design a gameplay experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players."
Tomodachi Life, which puts players in a whimsical world with the Mii versions of their friends, lets avatars get married, but only to the opposite sex. A campaign called Miiquality attempted to change this, pushing for same-sex marriage to be added when the game was released outside Japan this summer. Nintendo demurred, but it did so with a tone-deaf statement, saying that the game was a "playful alternate world rather than a real-life simulation" and denying that it meant to make "any form of social commentary" by not including the feature. The defense, intentionally or not, implied that including gay marriage was a political issue instead of a new player option.
While Nintendo has given an unqualified apology, it hasn't actually promised to add same-sex marriages to its next game, if it comes out. But at the very least, it's responded to criticism and given fans a principle that they can hold it to in the coming years.
Update 10:00pm ET: A previous version of this article stated that Nintendo had patched out same-sex marriages in the Japanese version of the Tomodachi Life. Nintendo states that the issue was misreported and did not involve in-game relationships. The article has since been updated.