About that Fire Emblem Fates “Controversy”

Hoo boy. I should have saved the title “Free Fire Fandemonium” for this rant, because yeah, there’s going to be some fire dished out here. And it’s all about a bunch of people unhappy with Nintendo and their best selling game.

There are some people very unhappy that small things have been removed from Fire Emblem: Fates. People are muttering imprecations like “Boycotts” and “Twitter Thunderclaps” and “censorship” and “Social Justice Warriors”. Things like Drugging a woman on your team to see folks as the opposite gender, because they are distracted by beautiful women. or Sexy time “petting” minigame with suggestive dialogue getting somewhat removed.

First off, if you use Social Justice Warriors (or SJW or Ess Jay Dubs or whatever shorthand you prefer) as a negative perjorative, my internal translator immediately sends it to “Hi. Please Ignore everything I have to say about Everything, because I just got my certification as a Class A certified idiot and I want to show off my newly proven idiot-skills to the world.”

Secondly, Really? This is the kind of shit that we’re worried about? Oh wait, this is sponsored by the fine folks that brought you GamerGate. Never mind. Par for the course.

Enough electrons to light Times Square for the rest of 2016 have been spilled about GamerGate’s temper tantrums and nefarious activities under the micron-thin veneer claim about “It’s about ethics in Game Journalism”. They claim the media is pushing the narrative, and only brave folks like Breitbart are telling the truth about how SJW’s are taking over video games because… because!. (And Breitbart? SERIOUSLY? Slightly to the right wing of Atilla the Hun, they claim Feminists are ruining everything, which is apparently enough to make them common travelers with GamerGate).

Actually... it's about..

Let’s put it this way. The folks behind this were so virulent and so beyond the line of good taste and in some cases, possibly illegal actions, that 4Chan, the site that took on powerful foes like Scientology and had a reputation that ANYTHING went told Gamergate to get out and never come back. The reaction in the video game industry is about the same, Batman: Arkham Knight, even mocked it in game, with the Riddler lamenting that #CrusaderGate (his attempt to turn the Internet and Public Opinion against Batman), never took off, describing those who used the hashtag as “idiotic and easily led rabble”. DoubleFine’s Tim Schafer even poked fun at them in a speech at the 2015 Game Developer’s Conference, to a standing ovation. It’s safe to say that GG doesn’t have many friends, and they seem to like it that way, as it gives them more targets to go after.


The Riddler is disappointed. Trust me, Riddler, the real thing ain't much better.
The Riddler is disappointed. Trust me, Riddler, the real thing ain’t much better.

It’s not the first time that different cultures have clashed. Quite a few games from Japan have been changed for US release. Usually in small ways (less revealing costumes, removing bits of gameplay deemed problematic, such as potentially underage characters), etcetera.  This kind of thing is not unknown to me. For another site I’ve done several reviews for, the editor there LOVES to assign me those games that make you embarrassed if you tried to play them in public. Monster Monpiece, the game where to make your characters higher level, you had to stroke the Vita in a manner that made it look like.. um.. you were engaged in an activity that your mother always told you would make you go blind). For those of you who think I’m joking. I’m not. See below.

Now, the only thing that changed between the Japan release and the US release were that several characters were slightly changed to avoid the feeling that you were groping a child like monster.. but that caused a hue and cry as well. We’re only truly hearing about this one because A) Fire Emblem is a much bigger selling series then past games that have had localization changes in the US, and B) We’ve just had a recent issue in the same vein, where it was announced that Boobie Simulator with volleyball somewhat attached game Dead or Alive Xtreme 3 would not be getting a US release.

I don’t even mind the calls for boycotts because well, that’s simple, don’t like it, don’t play it, and tell folks why. When I reviewed Monster Monpiece for my friend’s site, I even said I liked the gameplay, and if you can get beyond the nature of the minigames, there’s a fun game there. But I haven’t played it since, because well, that kinda thing isn’t for me.

I’m pretty sure however that that Nintendo would lose more sales from the controversies from folks worried about bedroom rubbing and Drugging people then they would from a small minority of gamers mad about such features being removed for the American environment, so the boycott is somewhat limited. They know this, so they go to the next level. Targeting the localizers in an attempt to harass them out of the industry. And what a shock (not), they seem to be focusing on the female members of Nintendo, including one who isn’t even on the localization team, but tweeted support for them! They’re rather upset at the moment that Nintendo hasn’t tried to engage with them. Gee. I wonder why?

It’s not like localizations don’t have a long history of changing things for different markets, going back to the NES days, some of it successful (for the longest time, religious symbols were banned in games brought over to North American markets), and some of it.. not so successful. (Mortal Kombat’s lack of blood on SNES vs Genesis, anyone?) It seems to be when the changes change the whole selling point of a successful game (MK is MK because of the blood and gore), then there’s a backlash, but not when it’s minor changes .

The changes made to the game don’t have any affect on the core game or storyline (which I covered in my review), but still, this is the hill that they’ve chosen to fight on. (wait, I’m going to have to avoid making a joke comparing hills to.. well.. you know). I’m sure however it turns out, that the folks behind this campaign will claim victory… But I’m pretty sure that the rest of us will yawn and move on.. except for the folks who get harassed of course.