Follow-up: "skinship" feature removed from Fire Emblem Fates, confirmed by IGN

IGN confirms that Fire Emblem Fates will not have the "skinship" feature. However, we are supposedly getting something to compensate for it.

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!

Featured Columnist

Author, GameSkinny columnist, and part-time childhood destroyer. David W. Fisher (otherwise known as RR-sama) is a no B.S. reviewer and journalist who will ensure that you get as close to the facts as humanly possible!

Published Feb. 15th 2016
  • Emily Speight
    Featured Correspondent
    If anything, this weird face-touching game belongs in a Sacred Stones remake as a complement to the game's weirdly incestuous vibe.

    (Which is to say, more incest than usual for a Fire Emblem game.)
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    You know... I never thought about that until now!
  • GameSkinny Staff
    I can't help but find it bizarre that so many people seem to REALLY want to awkwardly pet NPCs. Like, people are comment-fighting tooth and nail for this.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    While following this story I've had a hard time tracking the motivation for it. Surprisingly, it seems - at least for the most part - to be less about the actual minigame itself, but rather because people feel as though they're being cheated out of something (i.e.: paying full price for a game missing a feature). Others seem to simply be upset on the grounds that they believe this is the result of "SJW uproar" but this is mostly mislead as no one actually called for the removal. It could be seen as an indirect result of previous backlashes at best.

    But yeah, it's really quite a ruckus that this removal has caused.
  • Tobbpitt
    Featured Contributor

    Best I can say. Guess I'm importing.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    That seems to be the consensus, particularly for the people who really want that waifu/husbando petting...

    That said, I'll be sure to get the full details out to readers once I get my copy of the English game. If there's a substitution that'll satisfy players, the GameSkinny community will be the first to know. :)
  • Dustin Frisch
    The dust is far from settled, the Internet never forgets RR-sama. Like I have said to everyone before, I may still get this game just to experience it. I am over the petting minigame and censorship. I'm gonna have to deal with a generation of victims, so be it.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Something like this will certainly be remembered. I'm hearing that in Japan they are considering not adding this in the future since it got slight backlash over there too, but that's all hearsay once again.

    If Conquest is as difficult as advertised (i.e.: like original Fire Emblem games) then I'll be satisfied. Hopefully whatever they are supposedly intending to do to compensate for the minigame will suffice.

    And yes, we are living in a generation of victims. It comes with the age of the internet, really. The more connected people are, the more they are going to feel like they have to self-segregate and unify as a singular being. Maybe one day we'll all stop being offended at things and these supposedly open-minded people will realize you have to take your Ying and Yang together instead of believing that the individual represents the entirety.
  • Mathenaut
    Part of me wants to learn japanese, so I won't have this problem in the future.

    Otherwise, with a bit more effort, importing and getting a translation wouldn't be so bad.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I'm hoping that we get a decent feature to fill the gap. I'll be sure to let everyone know in an upcoming article what exactly is being done to make sure we don't miss out on the benefits of this feature!
  • Mathenaut
    It sort of raises the question of what the point of this removal even is, and who called for it.

    It certainly isn't the core fanbase, and the people they are pandering to don't even play these games for much. The media has given these developers a twisted perception of what the US market is.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Well no one called for it, really. Like... literally no one. Not even Patricia Hernandez wanted it gone. It might be that the very VERY small population who is so small that even KotakuinAction didn't notice overexagerated how bad the minigame was (as stated in the Nintendo quote in the Kotaku article) but who knows. :/
  • Mathenaut
    That's the thing, though. She didn't literally call for it, but weren't they the first suspects in it? Isn't that exactly what was expected of that crowd?

    Isn't this what they have been pushing for? For creators to censor themselves precisely like this is order to cater to what they have expressed their views to be?
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Well, the story was broken by Nathan Grayson. Supposedly Patricia, despite thinking the minigame was silly, wanted to see it first hand. Supposedly the director of Nintendo's Treehouse is an ex-Gamespot employee who they share a mutual acquaintance, and that is how Grayson got the information.

    That said, if they truly wanted to see this feature - and they are likewise responsible for outcry on average - you could certainly see this as digging their own graves. By constantly causing uproar, eventually you will see that which you desire stripped away to prevent it in the future.

    I think one of my sociology professors a while back told me that the bane of free speech will be free speech itself. I don't think that his extreme views are accurate by any means, but this case seems to be a perfect example of it.

    Hopefully the feature that will supposedly replace this isn't too bad. I'll try my best to keep on this story, and release the final verdict once I get my hands on the physical copy. :)
  • Mathenaut
    In a real sense, your professor wasn't wrong. With all things being equal, people who temporarily have a platform, or an upper hand, will sometimes undermine the system to maintain what they have. Oh, how quickly they forget how they got there to begin with.

    They'll say "This ins't what I wanted" because of the disconnect between what they say and what they do. The hypocrisy isn't apparent to them and they never recognize the horrors that spawn from what they've created.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Well, that's not to say that any party isn't capable of doing so. However, regardless of who does the undermining it's a problem for the greater majority.

    But hey, isn't that villain mentaility right there? I mean, I swear Eggman had that moment several times in the Sonic Adventure series where he's like "Oh, crap... I just realized that doing X will result in Y".

    I think the world as it stands is just filled with a bunch of people (on both sides) that can't seem to realize that they're just an extremist of a sort. It's the people in the middle (in this case the Fire Emblem fans) who really don't care for politics that suffer because of the stupidity of those on either side. All they want is to play their game the way it was made.
  • Mathenaut
    Any resistance movement will have it's extremists (some people just want to watch the world burn) and those sinister elements what want pull a Virgil on the whole thing.

    The SJWs are sort of the villains with the idiot ball who call down powers that they have no control over and constantly wonder why things turn against them or those they care about.

    God damnit this is SatAM Sonic, isn't it.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    Pretty much. Still, I wouldn't exclude the opposing force from the equation. There are groups on the opposite end of the scale that are just as bad, and frankly the result is more and more people fleeing from the middle to either side in an effort to be spared by what they perceive as "half of the population". The internet will do that to people. While looking through a screen it's hard to see that there's much less of these kinds of people than there are irl.

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