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One character in the game, CJ, makes multiple references to his male “partner” Flick, according to a user on Resetera.
Another character in the game, Merry, seemingly makes reference to a pair of Lesbian lovers when players ask her to tell them a “romantic comedy”.
2019’s Fire Emblem: Three Houses allowed some gay romance options, although these were player-driven decisions.
The Switch exclusive makes a number of other changes designed to increase inclusivity, including the removal of binary ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ gender classification, and the ability for characters to wear all types of clothing.
However, many of these changes are reportedly missing in the Japanese version of the game, which is said to include binary gender options and none of the LGBT character references.
According to one Twitter user, character CJ’s references to his “partner” appear as “friend” in the Japanese version of New Horizons. It does, however, include the ability to customise characters however players want.
The Animal Crossing series has previously seen localisation changes related to gender in the opposite direction.
2013’s New Leaf features two male characters – Gracie and Saharah – who in the Japanese version speak in “an extremely feminine manner,” according to Legends of Localization. Both characters had their genders changed to female for the Western release.
The director of Animal Crossing: New Horizons, Aya Kyogoku recently said that the decision to addflexible character customisation to the game was “not just about gender,” but relates to the team’s overall feeling that “society is shifting to valuing a lot of people’s different identities.”
“We basically wanted to create a game where users didn’t really have to think about gender or if they wanted to think about gender, they’re also able to,” she told The Washington Post this month.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons released last week and is reportedly Nintendo Switch’s biggest launch to date in Japan.
According to Geo Corporation data, in its first three days New Horizons sold more than the 1.3 million units previous record holder Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield sold during the same time span.
UPDATE: Animal Crossing: New Horizons has had a huge launch in Japan, selling 1.88m and propelling Switch hardware to its biggest ever week.
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: In the UK, Animal Crossing: New Horizons also achieved the biggest launch for a single Nintendo Switch game.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons reviews were published on Monday ahead of the game’s release.
VGC’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons review says the “comforting life sim is a tranquil haven at a time the world needs it most”.