In Japan Tomodachi Life has already been released. This version of the game actually would allow same-sex marriage, though this was because of an exploitable glitch that was eventually patched.
North American fans were not quite pleased with same-sex marriage not being programmed into the game. After loud campaigns took over twitter, Nintendo finally responded.
“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.”
This response however was less than well received, as it seemingly ignored the issue that same-sex proponents were bringing up. While Nintendo certainly did not want to make a social statement, they did when they released a game that, by design or not, avoided the preferences of certain people.
Despite saying that they intend for Tomodachi Life to give fans a chance to enter an alternate world, some people do want to emulate real life when playing the game. Nintendo issued a full on apology to combat the poor reaction to their statement.
“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.”
Nintendo is a Japanese company and simply put, there is a huge cultural difference between the Japanese and American people. Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Japan whereas in America more and more states are allowing it. While it is constantly a topic of conversation in America, in Japan it just really isn't something that is talked about, and as a result Nintendo never seemed to consider putting it in their game.
Video games are more and more becoming a forum for people to express their views and opinions. Just five years ago nobody would have considered gaming to be an outlet for commentary. Is this really the best forum for progress though? Games are just that, games. They aren't to be taken seriously, they are just a distraction. While not vocal, the majority of those that play games feel the same way.
In my opinion it seemed that Nintendo truly did not wish to create a social issue. Like always, Nintendo was just trying to make a fun game. While in the future they should certainly try to include everyone, I still believe their goal was to do just that with this game.