Revealed in a new statement to NintendoWorldReport, a controversial section of the upcoming Fire Emblem Fates is being changed for western releases. In particular, after raising an uproar last year it appears Nintendo is going to change Soliel’s Support Conversation that certain segments of the internet and games industry denounced as “gay conversion therapy”. Here is the statement they provided to Nintendo World Report:
In the version of the game that ships in the U.S. and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters
This is far from the only time that Nintendo has changed things in western releases, especially recently with titles like Xenoblade Chronicles X. In this scene what happens in the Japanese release is that Soliel gets weak kneed around cute women and has issues with that in accord with her self-goal and image of being a strong, cool woman. So as the support interaction goes on, the protagonist evenutally uses a magic powder to make Soliel see people as the opposite gender. The idea with it is to use it as a sort of acclimatization to help her overcome what she viewed as a weakness that she had. As the support tree continues on, if you hit the highest support level, Soliel realizes she is in love with the protagonist and accepts when he proposes to her saying that she started to realize it when the protagonist appeared as a female but that she hasn’t felt the same way about anyone else – male or female. Fans have translated the writing on multiple occasions since Fire Emblem Fates release in Japan, with this being a commonly consulted one in many circles.
There are some other important bits to note that help further inform the scene that counteract the accusations of “date rape” or “gay conversion therapy” that were haphazardly thrown around last year. First is that bit there that Soliel didn’t feel that way around women that she does around the protagonist, nor around other men who appeared as women due to the powder. This is meant to be a case of the character falling in love there with the person, not how they appear. Second, is that Soliel has a history of her own in wanting to overcome weaknesses that she perceives herself as having in things such as being a timid cry-baby and the fact that she gets weak kneed around cute girls genuinely distresses her.
Third is that it’s something she acknowledges between the two events as something he did to try and help her… but that it didn’t actually change how she reacted to girls, still getting weak kneed in the village. She is thankful to him for his help and being her friend and is fine with him however he appears. Finally to deal with accusations about drugging, the S-Support happens without any ‘magic powder’, and the protagonist is quite clear and vocal about staying away from anything even remotely construed as taking advantage of her, and talks about how she has to value herself for who she is. There’s no attempt here from the protagonist to change Soliel at any time, just an attempt to help her overcome something she views as a weakness.
How exactly the scene will be changed in the U.S. and Europe is yet to be seen, but from that quote it appears likely that Nintendo of America is probably going to be playing it on “the safe side” with making sure there’s nothing that can be construed similarly in Fire Emblem Fates’ western release.
This was a ridiculous thing last year when sites pushed this narrative and now it is causing a character’s arc to be changed in some way for ‘localization purposes’. One thing I want to toss into the discussion here beyond that is that acclimatization is something that is commonly used for people who have issues with anxiety around different things similar to how Fire Emblem Fates is using it. The idea is that exposing yourself to what is causing you to panic in controlled situations will help you learn to manage it better and confront problems. I’ve seen it used for both social anxiety and phobias and suggested by different therapists and groups over the years as a commonly accepted tool to help deal with it. There is a bit of humor in some of the writing there, but there would be no real difference if the protagonist had a female friend come and help with this issue – the idea would be the same… although you’d miss the scene of Soliel running out to see what everyone looks like in their opposite gender.More About This Game