Censorship Makes the Biggest Release for ‘Fire Emblem’ Also Its Worst

Intelligent Systems/Nintendo SPD/Nintendo
Intelligent Systems/Nintendo SPD/Nintendo

Over the course of its opening weekend, Fire Emblem Fates‘ Western release has broken franchise records. Unfortunately, the most successful release in the series has been butchered beyond comprehension by its localization team.

The #TorrentialDownpour hashtag is chock-full of series fans enraged over an estimated 2,000 lines of dialogue cut or drastically altered from the North American release of Fire Emblem Fates. A Change.org petition pleading with Nintendo for less aggressive localization with nearly 8,000 signatures at the time of publication seems to have had little effect.

The most egregious examples include everything from entire scenes hacked off, characters erased, and plotlines rewritten. Memes have replaced meaningful dialogue, and challenging themes have been turned cringe-worthy. For devotees of the acclaimed tactical series, it feels like a slap in the face.

One of the most blatant examples has been captured in a tweet directed at Nintendo’s primary Twitter account, by user @Mombot:

The video depicts a fourteen page scene of character exposition in the Japanese version of the game reduced to four ellipses in the Western release. It’s just one of the jarring character alterations featured in the game, another of which appears to revolve around two characters becoming “pickle pals.” If it sounds nonsensical and silly, that’s because it is.

There are other major changes — such as the removal of a character-petting minigame — that make sense in the context of Nintendo’s brand as a family toy company and anxiousness to avoid public controversy. But in trying to smooth away every potentially “problematic” part of the title, the localization team at Treehouse has lobotomized the game’s personality.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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