Nintendo has replaced the petting mini-game in the U.S., rendition of Fire Emblem Fates with a different set of features: the ability to blow into the mic or the ability to tap the screen to wake up your spouse.
Kotaku received an update from Nintendo who explained exactly how they’re replacing the petting mini-game, with a rep saying…
“In certain circumstances, S-Level characters are able to wake up their spouses by blowing into the microphone or by tapping the screen to touch their hair, face or shoulder. These randomly triggered events are unrelated to the mini-game in the Japanese version.”
[Update 2/16/2016: Some readers have notified me that this mini-feature is not necessarily a replacement because the blowing and touching is still in the Japanese version of the game.]
Yes, in the Japanese version it’s possible to pet your spouse — and the previous comments from Nintendo about the feature being removed in the Western release of the title sent a spark throughout the gaming community being furious that Nintendo was practicing unnecessary self-censorship.
However, the Kotaku comment section is mostly for the censorship, with only nary a few souls willing to say “nay”. Alternatively, the comment section on Go Nintendo is rife with anguish, frustration and people with vastly opposing views that stand a gulf apart.
Users like Rikukh note that this won’t be over until Nintendo stops censoring releases through the localization process…
“It’s not done, and there will be more and more unsatisfying, pointless censoring.”
You can see what all the controversy is about with a clip of the mini-game courtesy of YouTuber Spikey.
There are also still people saying that this isn’t censorship, with users like Nickd80 writing…
“I still refuse to believe that people are actually upset by this. I just have to believe that people don’t want to pet another virtual human being that badly to keep downvoting and getting upset by this.
“And if censorship is your only reason, look up the definition of the word please. It’s not censorship.”
Well, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of the word, censorship is…
“[…] the institution, system, or practice of censoring b : the actions or practices of censors; especially : censorial control exercised repressively”
And what pray-tell is “censoring”? Well, the official Merriam-Webster definition of the transitive verb “censoring” is…
“[…] to examine in order to suppress or delete anything considered objectionable ; also : to suppress or delete as objectionable ”
So the question is: did Nintendo remove or suppress content in the U.S., release of Fire Emblem Fates that was present in the Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates? The simple answer is “Yes”. And in light of that, it means that Nintendo censored content when localizing Fire Emblem Fates for the Nintendo 3DS.
It’s not a matter of whether or not it’s censorship (because by the very definition of the word, it is) it’s a matter of whether or not you’re okay with it. If you are, then feel free to pick up a copy when the game launches in the U.S., on February 19th. Alternatively, you can hold the wallet… or get proactive and join Kotaku in Action with a Thunderclap to broadcast to Nintendo that you oppose censorsihp.