Nintendo Apologizes for Caricature Deemed Racist in 'Super Smash Bros. Ultimate'

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The company will remove the feather from Mr. Game & Watch's character, which many have called a racist depiction of Native Americans, from the upcoming game.

Nintendo will distribute an update for its upcoming fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate that removes a caricature some have deemed racist.

The character of Mr. Game & Watch, who first appeared in the Nintendo franchise that pits famous video game figures against each other in 2001's Smash Bros. Melee, was shown in footage of the new game with a feather on his head and wielding a torch, sparking outcry as a racist depiction of Native Americans. The particular model of the character originally appeared in the 1980s line of Game & Watch LCD handheld devices from the company, in which players controlled a pioneer holding a mallet defending a wooden fort from similar silhouetted characters with feathers and torches. 

“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," a Nintendo spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We sincerely apologize 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.”

The new update will remove the feather from Mr. Game & Watch's silhouette.

The backlash began after viewers noticed the caricature during a Nintendo Direct event about the game earlier this month. A thread on internet gaming forum ResetEra dedicated to the topic quickly went viral, and many called for the removal of the caricature.