Last year, I wrote about Fire Emblem’s poorly conceived romance option which involved drugging your lesbian companion so she would have sex with you — but only if you were male. This was perceived by many observers as (a) creepy as fuck and (b) reminiscent of a barbaric American practice known as Gay Conversion Therapy, presenting the idea that homosexuality as a character flaw that can be fixed. Ian Miles Cheong tried to handwave it away as normal for Japan, describing one of the most sexually repressive countries on earth as ‘sex-positive’.
Anyway, there was enough of a stink about it that Nintendo decided to change this quest when they localized the game for America. This is, of course, completely a common process when localizing games, as Nintendo pointed out.
“Making changes is not unusual when we localize games, and we have indeed made changes in these games. When we localize a game we do so in order to make it appropriate for that particular territory. All our choices were made from that point of view.”
Indeed. As a common example going the other way across the Pacific, you can’t go into China with skeletons, and you can’t go into Germany with swastikas. It’s also not uncommon for design teams to remove content that wasn’t obviously objectionable in later releases. In this case, they actually added content – adding same sex romance options to the game (some existed before but didn’t end in marriage). It also, uh, removed a face-petting minigame. These sorts of changes are routine for the Fire Emblem franchise.
“In the Conquest edition a male main character created by the gamer can pair up with another male character (Niles) which ultimately leads to marriage. Similarly, in the Birthright edition, a female main character created by the gamer can pair up with and eventually marry another female character (Rhajat). Like married couples of the opposite gender, these same-sex couples enjoy the stat boosts that come with marriage, which means when they are paired up in battle they are stronger than when they are apart or paired up with another character.”
“In the third edition, Revelation, that will be released as DLC in the eShop on March 10, a same-sex marriage is possible regardless of the sex of your main character, as both Niles and Rhajat can be encountered in this edition.”
Needless to say, the contingent of gaming idiots who believe that SJWs are too thin-skinned and that artists should always have the right to steward their own art decided to go on a hysterical hissyfit because an artist dared to adjust his product to better suit market sensibilities. This led to cries of censorship from the mothership of the GoofyGrape brigade. They immediately declared a boycott and email campaign which has bafflingly dominated discussion by the sort of maladjusted shitlords who literally believe that editing=censorship. An example:
FE Fates is currently the focus of the campaign due to its Western release coming soon on February 19th. The intent is to spread awareness and send a message to Nintendo that Western gamers do not want censored localisations via #FireEmblemFates and #TorrentialDownpour on Feburary 19th.
There’s even a petition to avoid this looming act of heresy! Um, with fewer than 8K petitioners. So you can probably guess how all this turned out.
The dual release launch strategy was an intriguing one, seeing the Intelligent Systems series follow the examples of the likes of Pokémon and Yo-kai Watch. It seems to have worked, too, with Fates setting the record – by quite some distance – as the fastest selling Fire Emblem release in the US. Nintendo of America has confirmed that over 300,000 copies were sold over the game’s launch weekend (just three days); that’s over five times the equivalent Fire Emblem: Awakening figure, which held the previous record.
Given the success of similar reactionary idiocy of Mad Max and The Force Awakens as well as idiotic overreactions to more indie endeavors like Gone Home and Firewatch, it seems more and more like getting rejected by neanderthal thinking is more and more quickly becoming a pathway to getting known.