Follow-up: "skinship" feature removed from Fire Emblem Fates, confirmed by IGN
EDIT (10/02/2016): Review copies have disproven the original rumor. Read more here.
For those who are still wondering, the "skinship" petting minigame in Fire Emblem Fates has been removed. During its Nintendo Voice Chat segment on January 29th, IGN confirmed that the feature will not be coming to western shores.
The rumor of the skinship minigame's removal has been floating around for some time ever since the initial Kotaku reveal. Fans were in denial about the removal, insisting that Kotaku was not a reliable source for this information; at the time they were the only ones who had received word of this change. This denial quickly turned to anger and frustration as rumors spit back and forth about the game's file size being larger in the American release or that NoA representatives seemed to be getting their facts mixed up.
This anger soon turned to bargaining...
In a poll that I conducted over the last week, at least 29% are unwilling to purchase the game without the removed feature at least becoming free DLC in the future. Surprisingly, 4% are actually willing to see the "skinship" feature return as paid DLC. Now that IGN has broke the news to fans that the feature will not - beyond a reasonable doubt - be in the game, maybe it's time fans move past this and accept it.
This news will be heartbreaking to some; however, the IGN podcast does offer some good news in the video below (start @ 52:23).
Fans are undoubtedly still upset that the feature has been removed from the game, but at least they have closure. Not only that, but according to IGN the game will still have the ability to invite characters into the My Room part of the game. While players will be unable to touch the characters, the IGN playtesters were told by Nintendo that the benefits the feature gave are still there in some form. IGN wasn't told exactly how this will be replaced, but fans can rest assured that they can still get the bonuses from the minigame in a different way.
The Nintendo Voice Chat cast also went into discussion about the game itself, and the host made one very important point: the game itself is still very sound. All three paths in the game are well written, and the choices you make are - in his words - "gut wrenching," as any path you choose has its painful moments. The game is also described as a solid member of the Fire Emblem series, so anyone who is a fan of the games so far will feel right at home.
Has your stance changed, RR-sama?
I've had some time to think about this since my original article post on the 27th. In that article, I made the following comments about the removal:
"As someone who works on a pragmatic level whenever possible, I have to say that this hardly affects my enjoyment of the game. I pre-ordered the Fire Emblem: Fates Collector's Edition to play Fire Emblem, not Medieval Waifu Simulator 2016. As such, the changes don't really affect me."
I went on on to rant about how the removal of this feature does cause some issues in terms of gameplay difficulty, primarily due to the buffs/affinity raises being removed. This makes Conquest in particular a much more difficult game. However, the latest news has shifted my viewpoint - if only slightly.
So where do you stand now, RR-sama?
If we do, in fact, have a replacement for this feature I am 100% okay with this. The fact that the international version of the game still remains several-hundred MB larger than the original Japanese versions means we're getting something, we just don't know what yet.
Maybe, as some have suggested, we will be getting dual-audio, in which case fans will have something to rejoice over. Maybe the models used in the skinship minigame will be put to use in a more Western audience friendly version? Maybe we'll have something completely new? I'm guessing they'll just leave it in, minus the petting or something like that.
In any case, Fire Emblem Fates still has plenty of content that Fire Emblem Awakening didn't, and we seem to be getting something as consolation for the removal. As long as that's true it's alright with me...not preferable, but alright nonetheless.
Don't think I've gone soft, though. If it turns out that upon opening my copy of Fire Emblem Fates that there is literally no replacement or consolation for the removal of this feature, your beloved RR-sama will be there to set the world on fire as always!
What do you think about this news now that the dust has settled? Has your opinion changed on whether or not you will buy the game? Will you wait for the RR-sama review before buying the game? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!