Localized versions of ‘Fire Emblem: Fates’ to see several changes
The latest installment to “Fire Emblem” is quickly approaching, but it is getting itself into a heap of controversy. A drugging scene, Japanese voice and a mini-game are rumored to not appear in both the North American and European versions of the title.
VG24/7 reports localized versions of “Fire Emblem: Fates” are cutting a “drugging/gay conversion” scene. This particular scene features a young woman named Soleil, who is attracted to women but tends to be very nervous around them. In an effort to help her gain confidence, the male protagonist slips a magic powder into her drink without her knowledge. This powder allows her to speak confidently to women as she sees them as men, and men as women.
Soleil later becomes a marriage option for male characters, despite being known as “The Girl Lover” in some instances. The game explains that she loves the male protagonist, despite having initially fallen in love with the female version of him that she experienced while under influence of the magic powder.
Polygon confirms that this installment will only contain English-voice acting, unlike its predecessor “Fire Emblem: Awakening” that had options for both English and Japanese voices.
Polygon also confirms the change in the “petting” mini game. As a way to improve character relationships, the Japanese version of the game allows players to “pet” their comrade’s faces. In the localized versions, this mini game will not exist. Instead, players will still be able to experience the dialogue and animations associated but without the physical interaction.
It’s not uncommon to see localized versions of video games face changes. Anything from character design, dialogue, certain scenes and more have seen alterations and complete cuts altogether. The main reason behind this is culture.
The Japanese language is incredibly different from English. The sound, grammar, structure, and not to mention the characters, cannot be translated literally or easily. Something that sounds and flows well in Japanese may not in English, so translations generally tend to be a bit off beat from their original meaning.
Also, many video games are based off of a particular region’s pop culture. References that are familiar in one part of the world may not be recognizable in another, so localization is really all about finding the right balance of maintaining the game’s origins, as well as ensuring the player’s connection.
Another dominant reason why localizations face so many changes is because of the age of consent and sensitivity regarding sex.
According to ageofconsent.net, Japan’s base age of consent for sexual activity is 13, although many of the prefectures have their own consent laws that raise this age from 16 to 18.
Japanese video games and art have been known to feature more mature themes. Of course, this can contain violence or grotesque content that may not be appropriate for all ages, but it can be due to the sexualization of characters, particularly young females. In the West, this form of sexualization isn’t always held in the highest regard.
Generally, games that feature extremely sexualized characters, or would receive an 18-plus, adult-only rating, do not have a chance at localization overseas. We have extremely strict laws and societal views that conflict with the views of other countries, so it can be difficult to get a foreign game localized without some sort of censorship because of it.
Localization changes are common and happen simply to make the game more relatable and digestible to certain audiences. Die-hard fans may suffer knowing that they might be missing out on that extra, taboo scene, but the reality is that games are meant to please the masses.