Why Nintendo Is Removing a Controversial Conversation From Fire Emblem Fates

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Today, it was revealed that the upcoming western release of Fire Emblem Fates would be chopping out a controversial sequence. Nintendo confirmed to Nintendo World Report that a conversation option involving drugging and gay conversion would be removed as an option.

In the version of the game that ships in the U.S. and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters.

The moment specifically involves the character Soleil, who is attracted to women per the game’s allowance of gay marriages and romances. Soleil is noted for being weak around other female characters, wanting to be strong and cool in their presence. One such support conversation when pairing her with a male character involves him drugging her with a “magic powder” to make her see all women as men to boost her confidence. The scene ends with her coming to and proposing to her male partner. The darker implications of the scene were clearly enough to see it wiped away.

This isn’t the first time in recent memory where Nintendo’s western branches has changed controversial content from a game out of Japan. Late last year, both Fatal Frame: Maiden of the Black Water and Xenoblade Chronicles X saw select content that could be considered lewd and offensive knifed out. Fatal Frame substituted scantily clad costumes for special Nintendo-themed outfits, while Xenoblade removed skimpy swim wear from the character Lin, who’s young age of 13 prompted the decision. Both tended to irk the ire of hardcore fans who cried “censorship” at these changes, but the truth is both were instances of localization choices playing safe to the west.

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Anything disturbing or uncomfortable is often too much for American audiences when it comes to media, excepting gratuitous violence. Even with the given context, this sexual conversion is still too iffy to retain this scene in the western release. Alternatively, making Soleil a bi character might have been a good way to change her but maintain the structure of the plot. But Nintendo is not removing/changing the scene because she’s a lesbian. They are changing it because of slight references to mind-altering drugs and themes of gay conversion therapy. In a world where same-sex marriage is now legal in all 50 states of America, this seems tasteless and uncomfortable.

This is a drastic change for a game being ported to different countries, but to different cultures: this is happening for North America and Europe, whereas Japan is a different culture altogether. There are some similarities with them and the rest of the world, but the core of who they are started from a far different place than North America or Europe. They have different values and find different things okay and not so much versus the west. A lot of times, sexuality both homo- and hetero- is played up for laughs in their media.

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The game was made with Japan in mind first, and clearly they (the Japanese audience and developer Intelligent Systems) are okay with this kind of “gay therapy” content. When localizing, you are doing more than just translating, but are reshaping the media that you are working on to better fit into the market that you are bringing it too.

Don’t blame Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe for looking at their respective markets and making this choice, because you the hardcore player are just part of what they looked at. They had a plan for a broad audience they are aiming to get this game (or trilogy of games). Nintendo made judgments based on the market that this sequence wouldn’t be an easy pill to swallow. Sometimes bad publicity doesn’t add up to good publicity.

At the end of the day they are a company that is trying to make money. They aren’t tailor making this game for you: it’s for the wider market and what local cultures would find acceptable. Ultimately, only one set of conversations is being changed: a male support character and Soleil. The two remaining S-Supports that are homosexual in nature are still there. The only thing left to find out is if the questionable face touching from the “My Castle” mode is being left intact or not.

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Editor-in-Chief (Former)

A man with a plan. My favorite video game franchise is Pokemon, but his favorite video game is Resident Evil 4. I can also tell you trivial cartoon factoids.