Word has been spreading that it wasn’t just a dialogue sequence in Fire Emblem Fates that may have been altered to fit the sensibilities of the West… it appears a petting mini-game was completely removed as well ahead of the game’s February 19th release for the Nintendo 3DS.
Kotaku is reporting that Nintendo has confirmed the removal of a feature that allowed players to pet their teammate in suggestive but non-erotic ways. Nintendo stated…
“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.”
“[…] Yes, that is the case [that petting isn’t in the English version]. 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.”
You can see the petting mini-game in Fire Emblem Fates in action with the videos below.
Even though Nintendo did confirm in their statement to Kotaku that the same-sex marriage is still in the game – and so is stat boosts for same-sex couples – a majority of gamers across the web are not pleased, especially considering that the game has been butchered in the localization process.
On the YouTube video above the comments are starting to pile in from hardcore gamers tired of Nintendo’s Treehouse localization group, with users like JediPrime7 saying…
“Darn, their censorship! Although quirky, that’s part of the fun with these types of Japanese games and intimate fun with your partner. – once again the original creation is tainted. Thanks for striking again, Nintendo Treehouse!”
It wasn’t just on YouTube that the disappointment in censorship was made apparent. Commenters on other gaming websites, such as Destructoid, were also not pleased. While there were some gamers who completely did not care and shrugged it off, a good deal of comments pointed out that the feature was in Pokemon and if it’s in Pokemon why does it have to be removed from Fire Emblem Fates?
Hypno Coffin wrote…
“I don’t care about the feature in and of itself, but any and all censorship really irks me. Sure, it may be a little strange to pet some chicks and dudes in a video game, but it’s artistic integrity. I don’t blame Nintendo, I’m just disappointed.”
There were some individuals in the Destructoid comment section defending the removal of the feature, saying that the optional petting mini-game didn’t belong in Fire Emblem Fates anyway and that localized censorship happens all the time.
Syn had a very interesting rebuttal, stating…
“All we have to do to make people believe it is keep repeating “this happens all the time”
“Everything can be forgiven as long as someone is telling you “this happens all the time”
“Interpret that as you like. It happens all the time. And if it happens all the time that makes it 100% A-OK.
“So all the horrible things that happen around the world all the time? They’re fine. They happen all the time. That makes it OK.”
It’s funny because the defense of censorship is the same kind of defense people used to use to maintain discriminatory practices.
Over on Kotaku, the commenters are a lot more in favor of censorship, but there are a few who had to offer corrective information to some of the misinformation that’s been spread around by sites like Kotaku. In fact, a few users were keen enough to make some salient points about how is it okay to censor one thing in the game and not the other if different people get offended by different things? Revolver_OcelScott made a very good point that in the gaming industry the censorship is really getting out of hand as various minority groups attempt to get things censored they don’t agree with…
“You’re fine with the “petting”, but not the exaggerated “gay conversion”? What if I am offended by the “petting” and not the “gay conversion”. It’s silly either way.
“Something is always going to offend someone, and yes it’s Nintendo’s choice to remove it, but only after the backlash, that if they did not change would have resulted in endless Gawker articles condemning Nintendo, giving them a bad rap, just for releasing a form of media unaltered.”
Baltasaronmeth made a lengthy comment explaining that a lot of the problems stem from internet echo chambers and that in the real world people are a lot more reasonable than those influenced easily by the corrupt and divisive-seeking media. He also questions why it’s so necessary for some groups to censure gaming so readily that it results in actual censorship…
“What is it about the concept of “offenses”, that makes people so uncomfortable? Is a game not allowed to display something that some might find disturbing? Why do we feel the need to oppose the display of things we don’t want? How are people supposed to learn critical thinking, if they are not confronted with things they might want to find objectionable after thinking about it?”
Over on Niche Gamer users were also quite peeved about the petting being picked clean out of Fire Emblem Fates, with bateruchan writing…
“this is a slow moving train-wreck and i’m super glad they’re giving us all the details of what got crushed on the train rather than glossing over it and leaving us to buy the mangled pieces off the market.
“holy shit why are they even bringing this over? we all knew it’s waifu simulator more than fire emblem these days, but they’re taking all the waifu out.”
Some argued that this is just a “perv” simulator and that petting people is weird, and that removing the option removes a “creepy” factor in the game. They were quickly bombarded with people who brought up some really good points about content censorship and labels about being “perverted”, with darkgamer001 commenting on a Nintendo Everything article, stating…
“I’m a pervert if I use features like this in a video game? I’m not a potential mass murderer if I enjoy storylines and features that involve killing/violence/etc.?
“Let’s talk about the one thing the pro-censorship guys won’t face. With their position, you’re either being extremist (remove all morally questionable content from games) or a hypocrite with extreme double standards (remove only the questionable content that I am not okay with)”
On a similar note and in a different article about censorship Straw Hat made the astute observation that standing by idly while content they don’t care about gets censored will eventually lead to a situation where content they do care about gets censored, writing…
“For me it all comes back to the “They came for …., and I said nothing”. If I speak out for the rights of dark corner macdougals who want to buy their thinly veiled anime porn in peace, then I should have no problem enjoying all the violent and other explicit media that I enjoy .”
Francesco Azzena took the opportunity to completely rail against Western society, dropping a diatribe about the West’s puritan-focused, authoritarian media wave, writing…
“Please stop ruining my only passion! Please stop being a gun loving, hatred filled, warmongering society! Please accept nudity, gays, abortion, stop being political correct, forbid your cops from using pistols, etc. That’s not normal! From now I will only buy japanese products!”
I wonder if poor sales will see Nintendo attempting to adjust for their actual audience or if they’ll continue to make adjustments based on the politically driven media outlets that no longer represent consumers?
Regardless, some gamers have already taken to Change.org to stand against this censorship.