Nintendo is apologising and pledging to be more inclusive after being criticised for not recognising same-sex relationships in English editions of a life-simulator video game. But the publisher said it was too late to change the game.
Nintendo came under fire from fans and gay rights organisations after refusing to add same-sex relationship options to the game Tomodachi Life.
The game was originally released in Japan last year and features a cast of Mii characters - Nintendo's personalised avatars of real players - living on a virtual island. Gamers can do things like shop, play games, go on dates and get married.
A hit in Japan, Tomodachi Life is set for release on June 6 in North America and Europe.
Tye Marini, a 23-year-old gay Nintendo fan from Arizona in the United States, 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 fianci's [sic] Mii, but I can't do that," Marini said in a video posted online that attracted the attention of gaming sites and online forums this past week. "My only options are to marry some female Mii, to change the gender of either my Mii or my fianci's Mii or to completely avoid marriage altogether and miss out on the exclusive content that comes with it."
Marini said on Saturday that he was "very happy" with Nintendo's response. "I don't believe they are a homophobic company at all," Marini said. "I think that the exclusion of same-sex relationships was just an unfortunate oversight."