Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Gay marriage, virtually

While same-sex marriage remains illegal in Japan, it will be allowed in Nintendo’s latest installment of its hit series, ‘Fire Emblem’

AFP, TOKYO

Nintendo recently announced that same-sex marriage is allowed in its new game Fire Emblem Fates.

Photo: Reuters

The sword and spear-wielding warriors in the new installment of Nintendo’s hit Fire Emblem series will be able to marry whomever they like, the Japanese game-maker has said.

The move comes after the board game-turned-console behemoth was forced to apologize for excluding same-sex relationships in an earlier game.

Fire Emblem Fates, which hit the Japanese market on Thursday, will roll out in the US and Europe next year.

In a statement released this week, the Kyoto-based company said the game, in which players advance through a fantasy world doing battle with other characters, will be inclusive.

“We can confirm that Fire Emblem Fates for Nintendo 3DS ... includes the possibility for a same-sex marriage to take place between the main character created by the gamer and another character,” it said. “We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate.”

The development came after Nintendo America was forced to apologize last year when users complained that a life-simulation game, Tomodachi Life, did not allow same-sex marriage.

“We apologize for disappointing many people by failing to include same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life,” a statement released in May last year said. “We will strive to design a gameplay experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players,” it said.

While calls are also growing for Japan to legalize same-sex marriage, there is no specific legal protection for gay people and the issue is not widely debated among the public.

Tokyo’s Shibuya district council voted earlier this year to issue “partnership” certificates to gay couples, the first such recognition of same-sex unions in Japan.

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