Nintendo has said it plans to edit an animation in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that features an offensive depiction of Native Americans. The company has said that the decades-old reference does not reflect its current values.
The animation comes from Mr. Game & Watch, whose attacks are based on the LCD handheld games from Nintendo. Reset Era noticed the move, which comes from the 1982 cowboy game Fire Attack. That game had you defending a wooden fort from Native Americans wielding torches. The move was shown last week during the final Nintendo Direct presentation for Smash Bros. Ultimate.
In a statement, Nintendo indicated it already had plans to remove the animation and that it appearing in the Direct was a simple oversight.
“Nintendo has been planning to distribute an update for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that removes the feather from the silhouette of Mr. Game & Watch,” a Nintendo spokesperson said. “The original game on which this depiction of the character is based was released more than three decades ago and does not represent our company values today.
“We sincerely apologise that this change was not noticed in our marketing material and are continuing our work to make Super Smash Bros. Ultimate an experience that is both welcoming and fun for everyone.”
This wouldn’t be the first time Nintendo edited Fire Attack to comport with the times. When it released the Game & Watch Gallery 4 for Game Boy, it removed the feather from the Mr. Game & Watch character so he would no longer appear to be a Native American stereotype. That same treatment is likely here.
Smash Bros. Ultimate releases on December 7, and Nintendo is planning a lengthy post-launch period of extra characters, stages, and music as downloadable content. Game director Masahiro Sakurai recently said those DLC plans are already set.