Nintendo confirms that the “petting” mechanic in Fire Emblem Fates is being completely removed from all versions of the game releasing outside of Japan.
Nintendo’s upcoming Fire Emblem Fates, the highly anticipated 3DS followup to the critically-acclaimed Fire Emblem Awakening, has been the subject of an unusual amount of controversy for the series. Lately this controversy has centered on Nintendo censoring parts of the game before it is consumed by western audiences, and now Nintendo has confirmed that Fire Emblem Fates has been censored yet again.
This latest censorship comes from Nintendo completely removing the “petting” or “skinship” mechanic in Fire Emblem Fates. In the Japanese version of the game, players are able to physically interact with their party members by tapping or rubbing the stylus on the touchscreen. The purpose of this act is to build a stronger bond with the character, which in turn results in bonuses during battle.
Those familiar with other games from Nintendo may realize that this feature is more or less exactly like Pokemon-Amie from Pokemon X and Y. As we pointed out in our Pokemon X and Y review, it’s an “adorable” feature in the context of Pokemon, but it comes across as a bit weird in a Fire Emblem game.
It seems reasonable to assume that Nintendo removed the feature due to the obvious sexual undertones with the activity when applied to human characters. Reports indicate that it allows players to rub characters basically from the waist up, with female characters responding in a suggestive manner when touched on certain parts of their body.
A representative from Nintendo had this to say on the manner:
“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.”
Sexual material in video games are generally more accepted by Japanese culture than it is in western territories. Even though Fire Emblem Fates will likely be saddled with a T for Teen rating in the United States, it will still be sold to children, and Nintendo understandably would like to avoid having something that seems overtly sexual in nature in the game.
This isn’t the first time that Nintendo has censored Fire Emblem Fates. In fact, there is a scene in the original Japanese release that hints at drugging a character and putting them through homosexual conversion that will not be seen in the western release. That scene was removed as it was deemed to be inappropriate for western audiences, which is likely the same reason that “petting” has been removed as well.
Despite this censorship, Nintendo is not shying away from other topics that western culture still finds controversial in Fire Emblem Fates. For example, Fire Emblem Fates will have same-sex marriage, even though the subject continues to be a major point of controversy in western culture, especially when as it pertains to the US. It will be interesting to see how the Nintendo faithful react to the game’s censorship and the controversial material that will remain intact for its western release when Fire Emblem Fates releases next month.
Fire Emblem Fates, both the Birthright and Conquest versions, will be available on February 19th, with the Revelation epilogue coming March 10th.