ScreenHunter_312 Jan. 22 16.58

Nintendo says a scene contained in the Japanese release of Fire Emblem Fates, which could be construed as advocating “gay conversion therapy,” will not appear in the English release.

Perhaps more than any other Japanese gaming company, Nintendo is well-known for taking localization very seriously. Where many Japanese gaming companies “farm out” localization work or keep a lone, sad foreigner on staff to translate a game’s text, Nintendo has an entire, massive department devoted exclusively to localization, and employs some of the biggest names in the (relatively small) world of video game translation.

While the company is well-known for some seriously stellar localizations, they’re equally well-known for not pushing the envelope when it comes to potentially controversial material sneaking into western releases. That’s why it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that a scene from the Japanese release of Fire Emblem Fates, the newest in the mature fantasy strategy series, would be left on the cutting room floor when it came time to localize the game for western audiences.

And, sure enough, Nintendo recently erased all doubt by announcing the scene — which we’ll get into below — is indeed being deleted for the English version of Fire Emblem Fates.

ScreenHunter_313 Jan. 22 16.58

For those who (understandably) haven’t been following along, some gamers and games journalists caught wind of a peculiar side story in the new Fire Emblem’s Japanese release that is triggered if the player attempts to romance a female soldier named Soleil while playing as a male protagonist. In the cutscene, it’s revealed (or at least heavily implied) that Soleil is a lesbian. At this point, the main character, apparently wanting to “help” Soleil — who implies that she can’t concentrate on being a badass warrior when cute women are around — spikes her drink with a “magic potion” which causes Soleil to see men as women, and vice versa.

After that weird, kind of cheesy deus ex machina moment, Soleil then, apparently, gradually falls in love with the “female” version of the male main character and, crucially, after the potion wears off, admits to still loving the male protagonist even though she now sees him as a man.

ScreenHunter_314 Jan. 22 16.59

Despite the western release of the game being a long way off at the time of the scene’s discovery, many gamers and even non-gamers in the western world were miffed about the scene and its implication that Soleil was “converted” from gay to straight and its seeming parallels to “gay conversion therapy,” while other gamers were miffed about those gamers being miffed about what they viewed as a harmless scene that was being misunderstood.

The actual scene, for what its worth, plays out over a lengthy, roughly 25-minute dialogue (you can watch it with a translation here), and is more nuanced than the short description above might imply. There seems to be a bunch of potential fuel for the fires of both gamer camps. The game clearly implies that Soleil is gay or bisexual, for instance, but never actually comes out and says it. There’s also nothing overtly sexual about the scene, on the one hand, but on the other hand, uh… the main character just covertly drugged this lady.

ScreenHunter_315 Jan. 22 16.59

Regardless of where you personally stand on the scene, though, it’s no surprise Nintendo has elected to remove it. The company has been playing it safe with stuff like this since the early Mario games, as much to protect their family-friendly brand identity as to protect their financial bottom line.

H/T Kotaku
Images: Nintendo/YouTube via Gaijin hunter