Tomodachi Life -- or Tomodachi Collection: New Life as it was known in Japan -- is one of those 3DS titles that you've probably heard of but more than likely don't know a lot about.
That's not surprising, really, because to date it's remained confined to Japan, where it's been a strong seller for Nintendo and its handhelds since the DS original version's launch in 2009. Now, after frequent rumors that it might be coming West at some point in the future, Nintendo quietly snuck out a rather strange and enormously entertaining video this morning confirming that yes, indeed, the newly renamed Tomodachi Life is on its way.
But what is it? The video gives a surprisingly solid overview of what to expect amid all the chaos. Set aside ten minutes and enjoy.
Essentially the game is a life sim somewhat akin to Maxis' The Sims series. You'll populate a small island with Miis, either drawn from your 3DS' existing collection or created within the game itself, and then take care of their needs, watch them interact with one another and generally just hang out. On top of the visual customization options the standard 3DS Mii Maker software has, Tomodachi Life also allows you to infuse each Mii with a distinctive personality by rating several different attributes on a sliding scale -- and they have voices, too. These synthesized, Vocaloid-style voices sound very artificial, but likewise can be personalized in a number of different ways to ensure different Miis have their own distinctive sound as well as appearance.
Unlike Nintendo's other popular life sim Animal Crossing, you don't take direct control of the Miis in Tomodachi Life; you instead act as an overseer of the island, keeping an eye on things and ensuring they run smoothly -- or not, as the case may be. Over time, the Miis who populate your island will interact with one another and build friendships or even relationships with one another -- although notably stories emerged last year of Nintendo patching out same-sex male relationships from the game on the grounds that it was a bug. Same-sex female relationships were never included in the game, so it is possible that the same-sex male relationship mechanics were unintentionally included, but when the feature was originally discovered it drew a lot of positive attention from players -- and, understandably, a lot of negative attention when it was removed. Nintendo hasn't given any indication over whether or not gay relationships -- male or female -- will be included in the Western version of the game.
Tomodachi Life is set to hit 3DS on June 6 of this year.