Nintendo has taken a lot of heat recently for being behind the times on many fronts. The company was widely panned by YouTube creators for its dated approach to sharing content on YouTube. Last year the company was forced to make vague apologies after after fans complained that there was no option to have their avatars engage in same sex relationships in the company’s popular life simulator game, Tomodachi Life. Today, however, it looks like Nintendo is finally ready to take a step forward with the release of Fire Emblem Fates, a role playing adventure game that will reportedly include a same-sex marriage option.
In previous installments of the series players would have the option to marry non-player characters of the opposite sex if they bonded with them sufficiently. This is the first game in the series, and the first game ever released by Nintendo, that will expand that option to same-sex duos. It’s a major reversal for Nintendo. In the past the company has strictly shied away from developing games with content that might be perceived as politically sensitive. Based on the amount of press Nintendo has intentionally driven to Fire Emblem Fate and its new feature it seems that might be changing.
Obviously eager to shed their conservative image Nintendo was quick to release a statement highlighting the novel new feature. “”We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate and, at the same time, we will always design the game specifications of each title by considering a variety of factors, such as the game’s scenario and the nature of the game play,” While Nintendo seemed pleased to burnish it’s progressive credentials that didn’t stop the iconic gamemaker from ending on a familiar note. “In the end of course, the game should be fun to play. We feel that Fire Emblem Fates is indeed enjoyable to play and we hope fans like the game.”
Is this the start of a new and more inclusive era for Nintendo or is the company just trying to balance the PR scales after an embarrassing 2014? It’s too soon to tell but it’s a promising start.