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Fire Emblem Fates Heads West Without Controversial Gay Support Scene [Updated]

Nintendo has decided to remove the option for a lesbian character to end up with your male character.

News by Mike Williams, .

Update:Nintendo of America has confirmed to Kotaku that the Pokemon Amie-style petting mini-games found in the Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates will not be making the transition to the Western release. Below is the NoA representative statement on the matter.

"Yes, that is the case. You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game, but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan."

Some have surmised that this is an omission due to the cost of voice acting, with the petting mode having extensive voiced dialog. Still no clarification on the changes being made to Soliel's plotline though.

Original story: Nintendo of America has confirmed to Nintendo World Report that one of the controversial aspect of Fire Emblem Fates in Japan has been removed for the Western editions. There's no clarification on if the scene has been edited in some fashion, or removed completely.

"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." a Nintendo representative told Nintendo World Report.

Fire Emblem Fates' Soliel.

Similar to Fire Emblem Awakenings, there is the option to pair yourself with a character when your Support level gets high enough. The conversation in question involves Soleil, who is actually not one of the gay character options in the game. (Niles and Syalla are both bi-sexual and can end up with either a male or female player character.) Soleil is a cool female warrior who has a weakness for cute girls, to the point that she ends up fainting around those that are her "type". The implication, though it's never outright stated, is that she's gay or bisexual. Soleil wants to be a "cool, strong woman" and believes her weakness will prevent that from happening.

A male player character eventually obtains a magic powder that he administers to Soleil by spiking her drink. The powder causes Soleil to see men as women and the idea is that Corrin (Kamui in the Japanese version) is going to help by slowly easing her into being around and interacting with women. After a few conversations, your player character approaches Soleil and proposes marriage. Soleil agrees, stating that she fell in love with Corrin after seeing him as a woman and now loves the male version as well.

The controversy stems from two facets of that overall story. The first is that the player character spiked Soleil's drink without her consent. The second is that to some, the situation reads like "gay conversion therapy", as noted in the Nintendo of America statement above. Despite some sentiments to the contrary, the in-game situation had detractors on both side of the pond, according to Kotaku's Brian Ashcraft. Some Japanese LGBT fans even started a small website drawing attention to the situation and other perceived issues with Fire Emblem Fates handling of gay representation.

Some have explained that reading of the in-game interactions is probably not was intended by Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. I'd agree with that and what we have here is rather some unfortunate implications that flew by Nintendo unseen. In many cases, localizers are trying to preserve the intent of the creator, not the exact contents of a title. Regardless, the changes and omissions are decried as censorship by many, despite the reasons behind those changes.

Soliel accepts the player's proposal.

"The ideal localization walks a fine line," professional localizer Alex Smith told Kotaku in an article about localization and censorship. "It's subtle and intended to reproduce the game's experience as faithfully as possible in the new language. So, if not changing something in the English version of the game would result in a lesser or otherwise altered experience for the English-speaking gamer, that's grounds for 'localizing' whatever the problem is."

"Something intended to be simply humorous or risqué in a Japanese game might come across to an American gamer as creepy or worse, as pedophilia," added Smith. "Keeping the problematic content in there with the intent of preserving the creator's original vision is misguided, because the creator presumably didn't intend for the audience to feel uncomfortable or offended. The original vision is better served by making adjustments so the new audience appreciates the work on (as closely as possible) the same terms as the original audience."

In this case, I presume the intent was not there to make it seem like the player spiked another's drink without her consent or that the powder converted a previously gay character into a straight one. When Japanese and Western fans expressed their issues with the game's portrayals of LGBT characters, it probably took Nintendo aback. And while the Japanese release is out in the wild and can't be changed, the company is able to do something for the Western releases.

Fire Emblem Fates' gay romance options: Syalla and Niles.

There's an ongoing discussion about changes and censorship, arguing whether content can be changed or edited. For some, there's a hardline and they want the original work with no changes whatsoever. This is a difficult idea to work with though, because localization will always change the original content. Simply the act of translation is a change and the more drastic ones tend to happen when games move across regions. Moving from East to West, sexual content is usually what's changed, while moving in the opposite direction tends to see violence and gore removed.

In the Kotaku story above, Smith noted that he changed a line from Yuna to Tidus in Final Fantasy X from "Arigatou", which would directly translate as "Thank you", to "I love you" because he felt that the "Thank you" didn't convey the same feelings in English. The FFX scriptwriter, Kazuhige Nojima, agreed with the change when Smith brought it up for his approval. That's how the localization process generally works; the localization team working hand-in-hand with the original creators.

There's a ton of small changes in the script and visual presentation of a game when it gets localized. Sometimes those changes are relatively huge and much easier to see, like the drastic change World of Warcraft undergoes in China before the game even hits the country's government approval organization. The United States, Japan, and Europe have entertainment rating organizations (ESRB, CERO, and PEGI respectively) that serve a similar function, with developers and publishers tailoring content to achieve certain ratings. (Many big retailers won't carry Adult rated titles, so companies want to avoid that distribution issue.) That can be taken as self-censorship, as can any other changes a developer makes during the development process.

Which is to say that censorship is not a black or white concept. Once you add the commercial aspect (including distribution) and translating a product over to different cultures, things become far more complicated than simply bringing an idea over whole cloth. Publishers, developers, and localizers want to minimize the changes made to bring over the work in as close to its original form as possible, but to say no changes can be made is to ignore the reality of the process. The best we can do is to have an ongoing discussion as to what constitutes good or poor content changes. That's difference depending on what work is being translated and the audience you expect to reach. The folks behind Senran Kagura and Fire Emblem Fates have different aims in mind.

In the case of Fire Emblem Fates, I can't really tell you if the changes are good or bad. The in-game situation reads all wrong to me, but I have no clue what the final Western version will look like. Until then, I'd say you should think of what Nintendo and Intelligent System really wanted to get across with the Soleil scenes and if that intent could be brought over to our shores with little issue. My mental version still required cuts here and there to work. Perhaps yours will be different.

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Comments 46

  • Avatar for manny_c44 #1 manny_c44 2 years ago
    The perennial invitation to "discussion"...does the USgamer staff really want a lecture on formal logic and moderate realist philosophy in their combox? Will the Eurogamer paymasters just delete it after I go through all the effort?
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #2 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    I'm okay with the change because it will shut people up, hopefully. That's about all I can say on the matter without devolving into aimless ranting and name calling.

    It's a dumb sub plot in a game with a dumb story. I'm happy we can move on.Edited January 2016 by Kuni-Nino
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  • Avatar for bobservo #3 bobservo 2 years ago
    @manny_c44 How formal are we talking? I took logic courses in college, but I might be a little rusty.
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  • Avatar for MHWilliams #4 MHWilliams 2 years ago
    @manny_c44 I assume you must be new to USgamer. As long as you're civil, we generally let it ride. See the DOAX3 thread for an example. (http://www.usgamer.net/articles/doax3-still-not-releasing-in-us-koei-tecmo-makes-excuses) The comment section is for discussion. Just stay within our content guidelines. (http://www.usgamer.net/conduct)
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  • Avatar for ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop #5 ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop 2 years ago
    it's the old Persona 4 bullshit again. do JRPGs ever get their approach to homosexuality anything but wrong?
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #6 KaiserWarrior 2 years ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop From the other direction: will western players of Japanese games ever stop trying to force their morals and values on other cultures?

    It remains to be seen what alterations will be made to the scene, and there's really not a whole lot of discussion to be had until they're known. I don't agree with the idea that removing a scene or changing its substance falls under "localization", but we don't yet know what exactly they're doing to it.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #7 Lord-Bob-Bree 2 years ago
    It's hard to make a judgement on this without knowing how it was changed, but the current information makes me think it was a good idea, and that IS will take the time to learn from this (especially after Tomodachi Life).
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #8 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop She isn't a homosexual. She only gets with dudes. Awhile back, some people got mixed messages from a shoddy translation and ran an article about it hoping to start a shitstorm. They did and Nintendo caved despite all the evidence that what's present in the game is about as innocuous as your usual filler anime show. It's stupid, yes, but it's the kind of stupidity born out of ignorance that's usually common when you encounter stories from another culture with different values. Nintendo is right to change it. Fire Emblem doesn't need backlash.

    Because of the lack of maturity and intellectual prowress of the gaming audience though, every single little instance of this is going to get blown way out of proportion. Gamers are going to get offended and we'll start this cycle again until a new shiny game comes out that makes everybody forget everything for awhile. Then we'll start the frivolous "discussion" again when some another anime game decides to show some tits.

    It's really sickening just how routine this conversation has become.
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  • Avatar for ojinnvoltz #9 ojinnvoltz 2 years ago
    Might be a while before we get any decent story lines dealing with sexuality from a Japanese publisher anytime soon, especially from a developer as insular as Nintendo. I'm generalizing Japan here (and I'm admittedly out of touch with what goes on there), but its a place where one of the biggest gay characters a decade ago was Hard Gay, an old fashioned stereotype of a flamboyant, leather-clad man that dances to Ricky Martin. Look him up on Youtube. Some of the gags are still amusing. It's kinda like Sacha Baron Cohen's Bruno, but without the irony and social commentary.
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop I like Kanji's arc in Persona 4. There's uncertainty and questioning, which matches the adolescent discovery of sexuality. Sexuality is fluid, not some switch that points to gay or straight. But what do I know, if I had to self-identify I'd be cis hetero.

    Anyways, I'm generally getting annoyed with Nintendo's censorship. I mean c'mon, most of their fans are around 30; they can make up their own minds about a story line involving sexuality or if a character is too scantily clad.
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  • Avatar for bobservo #10 bobservo 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino Based on the amount of Japanese games I've played that have approached homosexuality, I've found that it's either seen as a kind of fetish or a fun personality quirk, rather than an identity held by real people. (And trans stuff is handled even worse.) I can definitely see how these attitudes informed this kind of content in Fates.
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  • Avatar for scarritt #11 scarritt 2 years ago
    Regardless of what their intent with the scene was, the fact that her drink is spiked still makes me feel uncomfortable.
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  • Avatar for bobservo #12 bobservo 2 years ago
    @scarritt Oh yeah, the whole lack of consent thing is the most troublesome part of this.
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  • Avatar for link6616 #13 link6616 2 years ago
    I'm really concerned Nintendo's take away from the response to all this will be...

    "Gay characters are too much effort! You wanted them, we gave you them and all you did was complain. Never again. We will use Japanese gay stereotypes for a few characters every game and that'll be that."

    Which, would be a bit sad given Fire Emblem appears to have become a pretty cool strategy/dating sim hybrid given how people talk about it these days. And thus a good place to put these characters.
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  • Avatar for camchow #14 camchow 2 years ago
    I'm all for the change, the original scenario was creepy and frankly kind of dumb. Awakening tended to be more funny than serious when it came to the character bonding scenes so if they change up her scenes to be less creepy and more fun I don't see the problem. Nobody is infallible, it's not like the original japanese script is some divine document that must remain pure and holy. Let be changed and hopefully improved.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #15 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    @bobservo Videogames as a whole are seen as a largely infantile medium in Japan. Nintendo is also a company strictly focused on capturing kids. I don't expect to see any of their games to capture the complications of sexuality with anything resemblance nuance anytime in this century to be honest. I don't look for a videogame to do that either. It's not how I want to consume them. Also, I'm not going to draw conclusions about Japan based niche media designed for 12 year olds. That's like trying to find out about American society by using Hey Arnold as a reference.

    Besides, doesn't FE Fates have actual homosexual characters that you can pair others with? How is that handled? I bet it's just as silly and contrived as the other romances in the game.
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  • Avatar for donkeyintheforest #16 donkeyintheforest 2 years ago
    I remember the first time I noticed changes due to localization was when the characters in the original airing (in the usa) of the pokemon tv show were calling riceballs "donuts." I though this was strange. Did they think the concept of a riceball as a snack was too complicated for an american child? It stifled the cultural origin of the story. I would prefer to experience a work as close to the original as possible, warts and all.

    However, I am also glad that so much more is making it's way over stateside these days! I guess the original content is second to perceived financial return. Artistic vision is often hamstrung long before localization. Just look at the struggle between a writer/directors vision and the producers in film making, or the horrible reworking DC did to Jack Kirby's Superman!
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  • Avatar for docexe #17 docexe 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino @KaiserWarrior

    Mmmmm… This not directly related to the matter of Fire Emblem Fates, because without knowing how exactly they are going to change the scene, I think it’s just impossible to judge what Nintendo is doing here.

    But, on a more general point of view, I would argue that there is a limit to what you can excuse, justify and overlook as a matter of cultural differences and values, because there are things that are just universally awful no matter how you slice it (and bear in mind I’m saying that as a Mexican who is very, very proud of the Pre-Columbian civilizations of his country, yet the more I read about their sacrificial rituals and practices, the more I can’t really excuse that part of their cultures, even if I’m aware they felt justified about them given their particular cosmology).

    Having said that, I think you are perfectly entitled to criticize or call out whatever aspect that doesn’t sit well with you of media from another country (even as an external observer), regardless of cultural differences, but by the same token, other people are also perfectly entitled to refute or dismiss your assertions. What I don’t think you are entitled to do is actually go there, to a country that is not your own, and actively try to impose your particular culture and values on other people by force.

    But I think expressing an opinion or commentary online, even one whose primary aim is to persuade, convince or entice other people to do something or change something, is not by itself an act of imposition because (and this is something that I think a lot of people just don’t get), it’s still the prerogative of that other people whether or not they listen or ignore it. The problem is that… well, ultimately geek culture in general lacks a lot of critical and analytical thinking and too many people just lack understanding of the concept of nuance, so they immediately go to extremes and start acting like jerks and assholes, regardless or whatever cause they claim to support.Edited January 2016 by docexe
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  • @Kuni-Nino "Mixed messages from a shoddy translation"

    Explain the LGBT people from Japan who actually confirmed that takeaway, then.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #19 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    @franciscovillarrealh What's there to explain? I know about as much of that as you probably do. I don't read Japanese. I don't speak it. I'm going by the various people who have played the game, who know the Japanese language, who have said that any reading of Soleil's sexuality being strictly homosexual is a stretch. The game itself never lets her hook up with any of the other girls. She can also fall for other dudes who aren't the main character and she never gets as a ridiculous an arc as the one being described here. Go read the GAF thread on this thing and see how deep, convoluted, and silly the relationships in FE can get from people explaining how it all works. It's ludicrous! If you want incest, you can almost make it happen.

    I don't get why this needs any attention other than: "Yeah, good on Nintendo for eliminating something stupid." The US has real problems with date-rape on young women. The US has real problems with depictions of sexuality in media. There's no need to draw the attention and ire of the crowd that hovers over those issues to this game that never had any intentions of being anything more than another shounen anime tactical RPG where the story is played for laughs and mechanics are backed up by insane plot contrivances. It's FE. Not War and Peace.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #20 TernBird 2 years ago
    There are a lot of LGBT gamers who follow Fire Emblem and were looking forward to them. There are a lot of women who love Fire Emblem (who may or may not have suffered sexual assault in their lives) and who were looking forward to Fates.

    Nintendo has more to lose by keeping potential date rape in their game than by being safe and trying to mend their own mistakes.

    There are also far more people who are uncomfortable with nonconsensual drug sharing than those who aren't, who could potentially pick up FE:F (after all, every game is someone's first).

    I've asked this three times today (elsewhere), I'll ask it again: if the thing we all want is for creators to create as they see fit, why are they being lambasted when they themselves make modifications to their works, especially when they're commercialized art?

    Call me when there are actual, legally-enforced guidelines preventing topics being handled in the media--then we can talk about "censorship" in games.
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  • Avatar for Namevah #21 Namevah 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino "Besides, doesn't FE Fates have actual homosexual characters that you can pair others with?"

    There are two bisexual characters in Fates. The thing with those two characters is that they will only engage in a homosexual relationship with the main characters. Otherwise, the rest of their possible relationships are with the opposite gender. I haven't read their supports with the two characters, though.

    For the curious, there is a decent article exploring the character in question, the offending quote, and the controversy, written in response to this news. You can read the article here.Edited January 2016 by Namevah
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  • Avatar for retr0gamer #22 retr0gamer 2 years ago
    Censorship is always bad but let's just call this out for what it is. This is localisation not censorship. It's two very different things. People that feel offended by this and call it censorship need to wake up. It's a entertainment product meant to make money and there's no way a scene like this would fly outside of Japan.
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  • Avatar for Mooglepies #23 Mooglepies 2 years ago
    The spiked drink thing I can understand the furore over, at a stretch. It seems to be handled fairly innocently in-game but I can understand frustration and even anger with that element of things.

    The gay conversion therapy stuff I can't see though, let alone understand how the thought process got to that conclusion, no matter how I stretch my brain. Soleil is a character who only has romantic supports (that is, character actions) with male characters as far as I can tell.

    I'm not saying that no one else could or should read it that way (evidently others did or we wouldn't be here now) but when I read two translations I saw of the scenes from different people, the writing didn't seem to support that.

    Ultimately, this isn't that important an issue for me. I'll leave it to the people that do have strong feelings about it to take that forward.
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  • Avatar for cheapLEY #24 cheapLEY 2 years ago
    @Mooglepies There's no such thing as innocently spiking a drink, period. The fact that anyone would say something like that is handled innocently is part of the problem.Edited January 2016 by cheapLEY
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #25 The-Challenger 2 years ago
    They should have referred to it as a "Mickey Finn." Now I still need to figure out which version to get. Since all three contain the taint, I'm at a loss as to which to buy.
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  • Avatar for siamesegiant #26 siamesegiant 2 years ago
    I live in Japan. This country is stuck in the past when it comes to LGBT issues. It's nice that there's at least some acknowledgment that this stuff wouldn't fly outside the country. The whole thing seemed super ill advised in the first place though, not sure what they were thinking.
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #27 KaiserWarrior 2 years ago
    @docexe But keep in mind the overall context of what's going on in the scene. This "spiking the drink" business. It's not a date-rape drug. The protagonist does not spike her drink and then have sex with her. It's a fictional substance that causes her to see men as women, with the intent of using that altered perception to ease her out of her crippling (quite literally) anxiety about being around other women. It's not done maliciously to get into her pants, it's done to try to help her get over a problem she's having. It's not done to make her stop liking girls and instead like guys, it's done in an attempt to get her to a place where being around other women doesn't cause her to drop to the floor and become helpless.

    I don't claim to know much about Japanese culture and societal perceptions in this kind of situation, but it is NOT directly analogous to date rape drugs. Cultures outside of Japan may look at it and immediately make that connection, but that may not be the case over there. Certainly Nintendo didn't think so at the time they made it, and it's pretty safe to say that Nintendo, of all companies, does not just frivolously make games about date-rape.

    But the real question here is: does anyone actually mean it when they say they want video games to explore more things? This is a novel situation only made possible via fiction. It's interesting to explore. But heaven forbid we make anyone uncomfortable, at all, ever.

    I, for one, want challenging games. I want games that explore new things. Those things are sometimes going to be hard. That's how life is. Unless you live in a completely sheltered bubble, cut off from any semblance of the real world, you will occasionally encounter and have to deal with things that make you uncomfortable. If we actually want video games to be taken seriously as an artistic medium, we have to be prepared for them to do that. This is not a case of puerile Dead or Alive style titillation for titillation's sake. This is not skimpy outfits or "damsels in distress". This is not Dungeon Explorers and gratuitous panty shots.

    This is a woman with a novel problem, and a protagonist trying a novel, if perhaps misguided, solution. Maybe it's not the best solution. People make mistakes. It's possible to solve a problem, but solve it in a less-than-ideal way, and that leaves room for interesting discussion to be had.

    But to do that, you first have to be willing to accept a medium that won't always make you feel like happy shiny rainbows and puppies.

    Which, it seems, a whole lot of people aren't ready for.
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  • Avatar for Mooglepies #28 Mooglepies 2 years ago
    @cheapLEY I'm going to direct you to the post directly before this one by KaiserWarrior. Context is important. Comparing this directly to real life social issues when they are only tangentially related is really stretching that context.

    Like I say, I can understand some people taking issue with it, even if I don't agree.
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  • Avatar for Lord-Bob-Bree #29 Lord-Bob-Bree 2 years ago
    I can't say this makes it a "challenging" game. "X is afraid of girls!" sounds like a plot that's been done in anime multiple times (in Dragon Ball, for example). The implementation was just badly thought through this time.;

    EDIT: And really, to blame it on people who want all games to make them feel "happy rainbow puppies" is misguided, because that is certainly not what is happening here.Edited January 2016 by Lord-Bob-Bree
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  • Avatar for richardphillips76 #30 richardphillips76 2 years ago
    @KaiserWarrior "But keep in mind the overall context of what's going on in the scene. This "spiking the drink" business. It's not a date-rape drug."

    Does it feel good to bury your head in the sand just to be technically correct?
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  • Avatar for KaiserWarrior #31 KaiserWarrior 2 years ago
    @richardphillips76 The pejorative there was really uncalled for. I welcome honest discussion on the subject. If you feel it is analogous, by all means, explain where you're coming from and why you feel that way about it.
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  • Avatar for Vonlenska #32 Vonlenska 2 years ago
    @ol\'dirty\'bus\'stop

    I recently played through (and totally loved!) Trails in the Sky and was a bit pleasantly surprised. It's not super overt about anything, but the game does feature a bisexual character, a genderswapped play and minor straight male character that makes relatively silly flirty jokes with other guys. It kind of teases these things as jokes initially, but ends up playing them all completely (heh) straight, which is really refreshing after Persona 4. Not perfect, and barely touching on gender or LGBT representation at all, but it's progress. Not sure how much of that is XSeed and how much is Falcom.

    Overall, Japanese pop culture does feel like it's lagging behind Western culture on LGBT issues, but it's only very, very recently (past...5 years, tops) that homophobic humor wasn't totally common and 100% okay in Western media, so I cringe a bit at the inevitable hand-wavey, "unbridgeable cultural differences." No; Japanese culture is dealing with the same issues, and it's not as if cultural differences or different levels of pop culture awareness somehow make bigotry okay. This is stuff that needs to get criticized.

    The bit of the game as described is super, super creepy on multiple levels (rapey drugging, conversion therapy is incredibly harmful, just ick ick ick), so dropping it entirely is probably wise.
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  • Avatar for richardphillips76 #33 richardphillips76 2 years ago
    @KaiserWarrior Nah, the pejorative is fine. You are being willfully ignorant if you can't see how spiking a girl's drink so you can get her to fall in love with you is analogous to date rape.
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  • Avatar for Thad #34 Thad 2 years ago
    @KaiserWarrior
    From the other direction: will western players of Japanese games ever stop trying to force their morals and values on other cultures?


    I don't see that anything's being forced on anybody. We're talking about western releases of Japanese games here. Changes get made. If content comes across as offensive to a foreign audience and wasn't intended to be, then it seems to me that preserving intent means changing it to fit the audience's expectations.

    Oil Man in Mega Man: Powered Up is a pretty good example, I think -- the Japanese version of the game has him looking like a blackface caricature. That design seems innocent and inoffensive to a culture that doesn't have the same history as the west, but it's *pretty offensive* in the west. So they changed his color scheme. Good change.

    What precisely the change is going to be in the US version of Fates remains to be seen, as you say. Maybe it'll be a good change and maybe it won't. But it's not a change that anyone forced; it's a change that the publisher chose to make.
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  • @Vonlenska just started a playthrough of that myself, great so far
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  • Avatar for docexe #36 docexe 2 years ago
    @KaiserWarrior Mmmm... I think you are misunderstanding my point. I wasn’t commenting about the case of Fire Emblem Fates specifically. I haven’t even seen the scene in question so I don’t really know if it actually resembles a “date-drug” situation (although from the textual description, I can see the logic that could lead to interpret it as one).

    I was actually referring to your opening paragraph when you bemoaned “Westerners forcing their values on other cultures with different values”. I found that to be somewhat unfair and probably an oversimplification.

    My point was (and I suppose I probably didn’t state it that clearly), that there are things that are universally objectionable and that you can’t merely excuse or justify them by merely claiming “it’s a different culture”, and that you are ultimately in your right to call them out as you see fit. But here is the thing: Getting offended by, complaining about or criticizing something in a game (or really any piece of media and art) produced in a different country is not by itself and act of imposition, it’s not really “forcing your values on other cultures” because, even if your ultimate intention is to demand, provoke or incite a work to be changed, their creators in that other country are entirely in their rights to either listen to your comments and change their work accordingly, refute your comments and defend their particular creative vision, or even to completely ignore and dismiss your comments.

    Furthermore, I actually agree entirely with your points that videogames (and really any other form of art) have the right to contain offensive content, to explore touchy or complicated subjects, or to deal with challenging, scandalizing or controversial material, because yes, one of the major purposes of art is to challenge you as an observer. Heck, I myself enjoy a lot of works (not only games but movies, TV shows, comic books, anime, manga, etc., etc.) that touch on complicated issues and that include a lot of what can be called “objectionable content”. I enjoy both works that explore those issues in a sensible and thoughtful manner, as well as works that are merely exploitation and that only exists to sublimate our basic animal urges (and really, I’m not even per se against things like panty shots, damsels in distress or puerile titillation in games, I don’t think those should disappear or not be included in games anymore, if anything my issue is that some of those things have become excessive in the most visible sectors of the gaming industry and should probably be dialed back a bit, but that’s a different discussion for another time).

    But, as I said before: Everyone is ultimately completely in their rights to say “that kind of content offends me” or “that content disgust me”, and to criticize that content, to complain about it, even to lambast it and decry it, as well as to refuse to engage with the work in question and/or with its creators. Such a thing is not by itself an act of imposition, because it’s ultimately the prerogative of the creators (or really, in the case of videogames, the corporations who publish the work in question) whether or not they change the work in response to the outcry or stick to their guns.

    It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand about the concept of freedom of expression (heck, I myself only really wrapped my head around it until a few months ago, to be honest): As long as you don’t actually harm someone, you are perfectly entitled to create whatever work of creative expression you want, but you are not impervious or protected from criticism, by the same right of freedom of expression, other people are perfectly entitled to say whatever they want (even really awful things) about your work. And by the same token, you are also completely entitled to listen to them, to ignore them or to refute them.

    Mind you, this doesn’t mean that I’m perfectly kosher with every vocal form of disgust and dissatisfaction that people might have about a creative work. I actively draw the line when people base their opinion of the work in question on misinformation, when they demand something to be banned from sale or boycotted based merely on offensive content, when they state textually “this game should not exist” or “games shouldn’t be about X”, or when they actively engage in what can’t really be called anything else but campaigns of harassment against a particular creator for their work.

    I’m a bit more selective when it comes to alterations and even some forms of censorship applied during the localization process, because I understand that the different laws and regulations in different countries, the guidelines of the rating associations and even the problematic aspect of commercial realities, inevitably mean that works of commercial art will be adapted for a particular public in order to get released at all, but I deal with each one on a case by case basis, depending on how much they affect or dilute the original work and its creator’s vision. Hence why I refrain from judging the situation with Fire Emblem Fates, I haven’t seen yet the scene in question, and we don’t even know what changes Nintendo is going to implement on it.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #37 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    Wow. This is making me angry. I think I won't buy this game. Not because I won't get to pet the characters or whatever, but because we're not going to get an identical version that released in Japan.

    If it's because they want to avoid controversy, that's stupid because it doesn't mean anything. It's a harmless mini game.

    If it's because they want to cut cost, that's really fucking dumb. A bunch of us are willing to pay over $90 for the full experience and they're cutting content? That doesn't make any sense. We want the whole thing, not an almost. You're telling me that NOA can't afford to pay actors to say a few more lines in a studio? They didn't go cheap on the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles X so why are they going cheap on Fire Emblem? An actual franchise coming off a game that sold almost two million copies?

    Come on.Edited January 2016 by Kuni-Nino
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  • Avatar for richardphillips76 #38 richardphillips76 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino So, this whole "I insist on an experience identical to Japan!" is really transparent. You definitely wanna just pet faces and your argument would be way better served by just getting that out there.

    Also, cost cutting is a totally legit reason. They're already charging you $90 for the complete game. Do you seriously think they're going to up the cost of the game just so you can rub your totally-not-underage-not-sister's face in a bath house?

    Why are neckbeards so mad that they can't play their games with one hand down their pants?Edited January 2016 by richardphillips76
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #39 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    @richardphillips76 Struck a nerve huh? I'll ignore the idiotic bits in your post and take you seriously for a sec.

    How do you know cost cutting is a legit reason? Do you have any information on the budget NOA gets to localize games? Do we have information on the cost of actors, studio, and translators and script editors? Cuz I can't find any. I do know that Nintendo typically spends big to do stuff right like Smash Bros, Zelda, and Xenoblade. Even for stuff that was relatively unproven like Kid Icarus, Nintendo went all out to localize it. They got the pockets to do this stuff right and Fire Emblem is something they WANT to get right.

    I also know bits and pieces about American culture and how dumb it can get when sex is part of the topic especially if it's deemed inappropriate. Nintendo is a family-friendly company and they can't risk losing that image. Going by your post, I can see why Nintendo would nix a mode like this because it's going to draw that kind of negative attention. FE doesn't need that.

    You put two and two together and it's not hard to come to the conclusion that Nintendo probably chickened out. That's alright, too. It's their product. They can decide what's best for it.

    I can disagree with it too. I don't have to swallow that it was for costs. I don't like the idea of a stranger deciding what I should find acceptable or inacceptable especially if it's something from a foreign country. That's why I'm mad. Shit, I'm still mad at Harvey Weinstein for cutting off half an hour of Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster for the North American release. Weinstein did it because he thought it would make the film better, but what the hell does he know?

    That's ostensibly what's happening here. You have other people deciding what's good for you. If you think that's a great thing, you're a fool.
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  • Avatar for richardphillips76 #40 richardphillips76 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino Literally no one is "deciding what you should find acceptable." Your post is nonsensical. You spend what like...4 paragraphs saying Nintendo can do whatever they want with their game and you totally don't care and then spend your final sentences saying you absolutely do care and you're super mad.

    "That's ostensibly what's happening here. You have other people deciding what's good for you. If you think that's a great thing, you're a fool."

    Nintendo is deciding what is good for Nintendo. They don't give a damn what's good for you. Get over yourself.Edited January 2016 by richardphillips76
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #41 The-Challenger 2 years ago
    This still doesn't help me decide which version to buy.
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  • Avatar for Captain-Gonru #42 Captain-Gonru 2 years ago
    So, without wading into the discussion over, well, everything going back and forth, I'm left to wonder I there will be an alternative "minigame" that still allows for character affinity to be affected outside of battle, or is that entire concept being ejected due to the form it took in the first place? Because I didn't need to rub anyone down, but I would like the opportunity to grow character relationships without compromising battle tactics, as I felt at times I had to in Awakening.
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  • Avatar for Thad #43 Thad 2 years ago
    @Kuni-Nino
    Struck a nerve huh?


    I don't know how many posts I've seen in Internet comments sections that begin this way, but I know exactly how many of them have gone on to make an intelligent and nuanced point.

    I'll ignore the idiotic bits in your post and take you seriously for a sec.


    That's mighty magnanimous of you.

    As a sign of respect and thanks, I have decided to ignore almost all of the idiotic bits in your post, and only respond to the first two of them.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #44 Tetragrammaton 2 years ago
    @The-Challenger Happy to try to advise.

    As you know, Fates works a bit like The Legend of Zelda Oracle series. There are two (actually three) wholly separate games that share a prologue that lasts from chapters 1-5, after which you choose a side. They are:

    Birthright: Hoshido
    Conquest: Nohr

    On their own they are $40. You can purchase the opposite story for $20, as DLC. The third campaign is DLC exclusive (and another $20):

    Revelations: neither side

    Hoshido is easier and Nohr is harder. I'm told that Hoshido has a more cohesive story and better characters, while Nohr has better maps. Whichever you pick, I recommend buying one or both DLC campaigns. The third storyline contains more explanations for the events you see happening in Birthright and Conquest, while the opposite campaign from your "base" gives you the rest of the basic story.

    Any specific questions?Edited January 2016 by Tetragrammaton
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  • Avatar for The-Challenger #45 The-Challenger 2 years ago
    @Tetragrammaton Interesting. So when I buy the digital version I receive a discount on the other story. That helps, I was only going to buy one copy, but if the price is right I can fork over another $20. When I buy both I am going play them concurrently.

    Thanks, Tetragrammaton!
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