Nintendo of America has announced that Fire Emblem Fates is the fastest-selling game in the history of the franchise. The strategy RPG sold 300,000 units during its launch weekend, which is astounding considering it took Fire Emblem: Awakening a month to reach 180,000 across physical and digital sales. According to NoA, Fates sold more than five times what Awakening sold during the same time period, which means even if every fan bought both versions, Fates is still selling ahead of its predecessor.
"Both fans and critics are falling for Fire Emblem Fates, and the early sales numbers prove the game's undeniable appeal," said NoA executive vice president of marketing Scott Moffitt. "This strong momentum for Nintendo 3DS is only the beginning, as many more high-quality exclusive games are set to launch for the hand-held system over the next few months."
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright was the top selling version of the game, pointing to the strength of the more casual audience for the franchise. Birthright was the version created to be more like Fire Emblem: Awakening, which was many players' first entry into the series. That said, Conquest sales were "close behind", according to Nintendo. Many of those players may have also picked up the other version as DLC for their chosen copy and fans without the Special Edition still have the options to pick up the third path, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation and the Map Pack 1 DLC.
There's two strong takeaways for the sales success of Fire Emblem Fates. The first is that the 3DS still has a ton of strength at the end of its lifespan. The second is that there's a real desire for the specific content that Fire Emblem provides. Not just the strategy aspect, though Fire Emblem is one of the few Japanese strategy RPG series that's published on a regular basis in the United States. The mixing of a strategy game with light visual novel elements like extensive conversation and romance options seems to be a hit with fans.
It's unique enough that Fire Emblem Fates sold as well as it did despite a fan campaign against the US release due to extensive changes in localization. Those fans have argued against what they saw as a poor translation, changes to certain support scene conversations, and the removal of the Pokemon Amie-style rubbing game. The campaign was dubbed "Torrential Downpour", much like the Operation Rainfall campaign that helped The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles finally see a Western release.
Taking only the civil responses and uses of the hashtag #TorrentialDownpour, those fans have done exactly what they should have. If you want your voice heard, not buying the game is only the first step. You must also let the publishers know why you're not buying the game. Everyone's voice is important. I may not agree with the aims of the campaign, but hey, as long as you're civil, you absolutely have a right to air your grievances. The publisher and developer will decide what to do with that feedback, if anything.
Players that would prefer a different translation also have another option available to them. A group of fans have been translating Fire Emblem If, the Japanese version of the game. This group is working on a patch for Fire Emblem Fates that will restore certain missed content and provide a different localization of the game's dialog. You have to buy a copy of Fire Emblem Fates and the patch may bork your copy, but it'll be an option eventually. (There's also another patch that adds more same-sex romance options to the game.)
Fire Emblem Fates is still missing a significant part of the fanbase though, as the European release does not have a launch date yet. Either way, these sales bode well for the future of the series.