Animal Crossing: New Horizons Seems to Feature Nintendo's First Openly Gay Characters [Update]

Nintendo's first known LGBT characters appear to be in Animal Crossing: New Horizons' Western release, but not Japan.

April 19, 2020

Update 19/04/2020: After the speculation surrounding the sexuality of C.J and Flick in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons, it seems as if the two are simply just business partners. DualShockers received an email from someone who has informed us of an official clarification by sharing a photo of a “Did you know?” section found in the Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Official Companion Guide which launched on April 16, 2020, in Europe. The section specifies that C.J and Flick are both roommates and business partners.

So, while the wording from the two in-game might spark curiosity about hidden meanings regarding the relationship between them in the Western release, the official guide book confirms that the two are not in a romantic relationship. The two are simply just working together.

The original reporting continues below.

Original reporting (March 24, 2020): Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons has had a smashing launch, topping the GfK charts in the UK for physical sales alone in only three days since it launched on March 20. Players have been exploring their island, trying out new features, and enjoying the new island life. Among these new things to explore, it seems as if the game has some of the first known LGBT characters to be present in a Nintendo game.

As VGC reports, the following have been noticed by fans of the game who are getting stuck in with the island life and meeting the new residents. One of the island residents, C.J appears to make numerous references to his male “partner” Flick. This information comes from Resetera from a user who shared some images of conversations with the character.

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“Plus my partner’s into making slick collectibles if you want one. He’s sooooo talented.” reads one, “My partner’s a total artist, and I guarantee these models’ll make your neighbors jealous!” reads another. “Usually he’s all about models of bugs and stuff, but when he’s got a fish to work from, his work is AMAZING!” read the last.

(Image from Resetera)

VGC also recalls one character called Merry, who, when asked to tell a romantic comedy story tells a story of a pair of lesbian lovers as you can see in the video below. She details a story about a princess and her true love, another princess.

The game also has options that don’t assign gender. Players are asked to simply choose a “style” rather than a gender, they can wear any type of clothing, and can change their style at any point by simply going to a mirror in their house.

However, it appears as if these options aren’t present in the Japanese version of the game, and only in the Western release. As seen in the tweet below, Japanese users are given the choice of choosing between a boy or a girl. And when speaking to C.J, in the Japanese version the translation shows that he refers to his friend rather than a partner.

The Japanese version does still allow players to customize their character however they want though. It just appears to be less LGBT inclusive.

VGC mentions how the previous titles have seen the localization changes related to gender done in the opposite direction. New Leaf, which launched in 2013 has two male characters, Gracie and Saharah, who speak in “an extremely feminine manner,” according to Legends of Localization. In the Western release, these characters were changed to female characters.

Aya Kyogoku, the director of Animal Crossing: New Horizons has explained that the decision to add character customization to this extent 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.” She also told The Washington Post “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,”.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons has so far, for me, been an incredibly enjoyable and relaxing experience. It’s available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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