A plotline that sees a lesbian drugged and tricked into falling in love with a man – yes, really – will not be included in the Western version of 3DS RPG Fire Emblem: Fates.
In the Japanese release lesbian character Soleil is depicted as being so hopelessly attracted to women that she struggles to concentrate when around them. If players then pair her with a male character, her drink is spiked, without her knowledge, with a ‘magic powder' that causes her to see men and women and women as men. This is supposedly done to allow her to ‘practice' being around women.
As is the way in the game, paired characters will often form a strong attachment that often ends in a proposal of marriage. When the above scenario plays out Soleil ends up falling for her male companion. When the drugs wear off, she decides that the love she felt when she believed he was female is still valid, and proposes.
It's not hard to see how this has been interpreted by some as a ‘gay conversion therapy' plot, and by others as simply date rape. Either way, Nintendo has confirmed to Nintendo World Report that things will be different in the Western SKU.
In the version of the game that ships in the US and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters,” a Nintendo representative explained. It is not clear how the events of the game have been altered to accommodate the change.
The sensitivities to the game's approach to sexuality are no doubt heightened by Nintendo's previous attitude toward homosexuality.
In 2014 3DS title Tomodachi Life, which is a game about relationships, was widely criticised when it emerged that Nintendo had not made it possible for players to enter into same-sex relationships. The platform holder apologised, but argued that it was impossible to fix.
While most would regard any plot concerning gay conversions or date rape as entirely inappropriate, the likelihood is that Nintendo will now face strong criticism from the internet for ‘censoring' Fire Emblem. In recent months it has come under fire from cetain sections of its fan base for alleged censorship of titles including Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water and Xenoblade Chronicles X.
In the case of the latter, the ‘censorship' involved the decision to remove the ability to alter the protagonist's bust size and make her wear highly revealing clothing. The protagonist, incidentally, is aged 13.