Nintendo removes creepy petting feature from Fire Emblem Fates

The English-language version of the game removes the controversial game mechanic, along with a scene criticized as homophobic.

Fire Emblem Fates has already met with some controversy, and it appears that Nintendo has sat up and taken notice - and is altering the English-language localization of the game to avoid more criticism.

Among the recently-revealed changes is the removal of a feature which allowed players to pet, rub, or stroke characters by using their stylus on the 3DS touch screen. When done to characters that the main character has achieved an S-rank relationship with, the dialogue has reportedly turned much more suggestive.

Nintendo reps confirmed with Kotaku that the controversial mechanic will be removed from the localized version, but still defended its existence in the original version of the game:

You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game, but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan.

Another feature which was apparently not considered "inappropriate," but which will nevertheless be removed from the localized version, is a scene some have criticized as "homophobic." The scene involved the male player character spiking the drink of a female character (yikes, already in some questionable territory there) - a character who is attracted to other women - with a magic powder which makes her see men as women, allowing her to become attracted to men.

Many saw the idea as being uncomfortably close to "gay conversion therapy," which attempts to change a person's sexual orientation so that they'll be heterosexual. And the scene's presence is indeed a little odd, considering that the game has been praised for allowing the option of same-sex marriage.

As you can imagine, reactions to the news have been mixed, with some supporting the changes and others calling them "censorship." But in any case, Nintendo has made their decision, and there's little chance that they're going to change their minds on the issue.

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Published Jan. 26th 2016
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    This feature is one that could be ignored entirely by anyone who didn't care, and the petting minigame wasn't relegated to only females so I fail to see how this is creepy.

    There's this real life skill called "ignoring things you don't like" that some people need to learn, and if you find this type of minigame "creepy" you are one of those people that need to learn that wonderful skill and move on with your life. Get offended over something real and not a minigame in a game you almost definitely wouldn't have played anyway.
  • Will_1221
    But wouldn't a drug that caused people to see others as the opposite gender actually be the Holy Grail of gender equality?
  • GameSkinny Staff
    Those petting scenes are hella uncomfortable. HELLA.
  • Mathenaut
    Playasia had the perfect response.

    Perhaps the moral censors really are changing something for the better in the long run. Original versions of these games are easily obtainable.

    Foreign games in the US are getting the manga/anime localization treatment. It's heartbreaking to see, but better for the market as a whole. Essentially, localization will stop being a platform for censorship and will generally just fade into Select Language: English.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    This is just sad. Every game out of Japan now is becoming more and more censored. Just because some people might call something creepy doesn't mean it should be removed.

    I'm going to just learn Japanese and start playing the games as they were intended.
  • Ashley Shankle
    Associate Editor
    yo boi it ain't hard

    I'm a liar, I'm sorry.

    That said, Asian-region releases with English options are more common than ever because of Singapore.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    You're right, should just be importing the games.
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    This ultimately won't affect my enjoyment of the game; however, it does erk me that it is removed at all since it was ADVERTISED. What will certainly tick me off in the future is if it gets re-released as paid DLC. That will make me drive over to Nintendo of America HQ and picket. Changing a conversation to spare American sensibilities is one thing, but don't remove an entire section of the game!

    Sure, this feature can be seen as "creepy" for some people, but no one said anyone had to use it. Flat out removing it means we are getting less than the full game, and that's just not fair.
  • Si_W
    So it doesn't affect your enjoyment of the game at all, but you're irked because it was listed as being included?
  • David Fisher
    Featured Columnist
    I like to think of it with the following analogy: I ordered an ice cream with a cherry on top. They forgot the cherry, so I feel cheated that I didn't get what I paid for. On the other hand, I'm not a fan of cherries, so it doesn't bother me enough to send the order back.

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