With the western release of Fire Emblem Fates imminent, Nintendo of America has released a statement on a particular series of scenes that were causing a stir among fans, particularly in this region. According to Nintendo World Report, Nintendo of America has adjusted a particular support scene to remove references to drugging and gay conversion therapy.
The scene in question is a support scene, a series of conversations between the hero and one of the other characters that is meant to earn that character’s loyalty and trust. Many of them end in marriage proposals. In this case, the male protagonist (Kamui) attempts to help Soleil overcome a strange problem. Soleil faints clean away whenever she speaks to cute girls.
The problem is that, in order to help her out, Kamui slips a “magic powder” into her drink that forces her to see all men as cute girls. Since Soleil has no problem talking to men, Kamui tells her that this will allow her to practice talking to cute girls while knowing they are actually men, so she won’t faint. Though he immediately tells her what he did and she agrees to continue the “special training”, the fact that he spiked her drink at all is the first cause for concern here.
The second is that, by the end of the storyline, the “magic powder” hasn’t worked at all in helping her overcome her fainting problem, and instead, Kamui proposes to Soleil…and she accepts. Which is fine. The way the scene is written makes it believable that Soleil could have fallen for Kamui, and nothing about her attraction to cute girls indicates that she couldn’t also develop feelings for a man. It is still possible to view this scene as a reference to “gay conversion therapy”, however, and thus it is also up for scrutiny.
However you feel about the scenes themselves, Nintendo has every right to adjust them to avoid upsetting a particular audience. It’s not censorship–it’s not as though the government demanded they remove the content. It’s an artistic and business decision to convey the meaning of a scene in a way that will not put off those who might spend money on a product. It will be interesting to see exactly how they make the adjustment, and how it affects the feel of Kamui and Soleil’s relationship.
Fire Emblem Fates comes out on February 19, 2016 in North America for Nintendo 3DS. There’s three versions–Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation, each with its own storyline.