During Nintendo’s E3 2015 Digital Event, the world renown Japanese gaming company revealed an expanded story trailer for the upcoming installment in their long-running series, Fire Emblem Fates. The new footage built upon previous information about the game by delving deeper into the conflict between the Nohr and Hoshido kingdoms, and also by further fleshing out the nuanced traits and motivations of the sprawling narrative’s main characters.
In fact, Nintendo dedicated a sizable portion of its E3 demonstration to the Fire Emblem franchise, as the company also showed off brand new footage for the Japanese mashup game Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem. By providing a platform for Fire Emblem Fates and the aforementioned cross-over during their presentation, it’s obvious that Nintendo wants to generate some serious buzz about the strategy role-playing games in the West, aside from simply including Roy in Super Smash Bros. And now, in a move that is sure to gain some attention for the series, the Big N is announcing the introduction of same-sex marriage to Fire Emblem Fates.
Affirmation of the feature comes from an official announcement from the company in regards to the game. Nintendo says, “Fire Emblem Fates for Nintendo 3DS . . . includes the possibility for a same-sex marriage to take place between the main character created by the gamer and another character in the game.”
Interestingly enough, previously released entries in the series, such as Fire Emblem Awakening, gave gamers the option to marry characters of the opposite sex should a strong bond be formed through conversations. Plus, if relationships have received an S-rank status in Awakening, then one could have children, offering up new playable characters. Similarly, when characters of the same sex connect in Fire Emblem Fates, their partnership will be given an A+ ranking, cuing the possibility of marriage should players decide to wed. However, it’s unclear as to whether or not Fates will mimic the procreative feature of Awakening by allowing same-sex couples to adopt children of their own.
In their statement, Nintendo goes on to elaborate on the logistics of the same-sex relationships in Fire Emblem Fates, saying:
“Fire Emblem Fates comes in two different versions, called the Conquest and Birthright editions. In the U.S., Conquest and Birthright will both be sold separately, as is already the case in Japan. For those who have purchased either the Conquest or Birthright edition, a third edition will be made available as downloadable content at a later stage. Details on how the three storylines will be made available in other regions will be announced at a later date.
“In the Conquest edition of the game, there is a male character that the game’s player may have his/her male main character marry after they bond in battle. Similarly, the Birthright edition features a female character that a female main character may marry after bonding in battle. Both of the aforementioned characters can be encountered in the third edition of the game.”
While Nintendo‘s progressive decision to include the feature is refreshing, especially since the company has faced past criticisms for their restrictive attitude toward same-sex relationships in games like Tomodachi Life, the way in which they’re incorporating the option into Fire Emblem Fates seems over-complicated. For instance, in order for players to marry two male characters, the downloading of the game’s third plot line or the purchase of the Conquest edition is required, and if fans want to have two women wed, they have the same option with the story DLC or they need to buy the Birthright version. Honestly, it would make more sense just to provide the option in a single update.
Regardless of such a blatant attempt to get fans to buy multiple editions of the same game, Nintendo’s heart is still in the right place. Even if the company has caught flak for not properly handling same-sex issues in the past, at least they’re attempting to make amends with newer titles. The gaming organization goes on to explain why they felt the need to create the same-sex component, saying, “We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate.” And with any luck, we’ll see similar attitudes emerging from other video game firms in the near future.
Fire Emblem Fates is set to drop on June 25, 2015 in Japan and has a tentative release date of 2016 for the US and Europe.