It's not about perving on girls.
People who hate on the Fire Emblem Fates localization have a wide variety of reasons to do so. Sure some of them are perverted, and it's their right to be if that's what they want. There's #roomforeveryone, right?
Many, though, feel that the reliance on memes for dialogue, or making up dialogue that neither has a basis in the original script nor fits the character as they were intended to be portrayed in the original game, cheapens the experience. The localization team literally used jokes in place of the original character dialogue
These customers want the same product the Japanese audience received. They made an exchange of legal currency just the same as Japanese customers, and were not told the localization adjustments would go so far as to outright change characters, and elements of their stories, prior to their purchase. These people have a right to be angered by the product they received. It is literally not what they wanted or paid to experience. They have a valid points, and are justified in their complaints. There is no reason to some of the glaring changes the localization team made.
With all of this said, I look forward to putting this localization fiasco behind me for now…
The questionable content.
The “petting minigame” was removed from the western releases of Fire Emblem Fates. In it you could become closer to your friends and acquaintances by rubbing their character models faces in the touch screen while they either got happy or mad at you. There was also some suggestive dialogue in closer relationships.
However, the biggest issue was the Soleil support conversation which was falsely reported as “date rape” or “gay conversion” by people either using a poor translation or outright lying about the content. Soleil is given a “magic powder” without her knowledge, which is shady as fuck, but keep these things in mind:
- Soleil is informed of its effects before anything happens.
- Soleil's mental and cognitive faculties are not compromised.
- Soleil willingly continues using the powder after being told what it involves in full., and the main character even has to plead with her not to misuese the magic that has her completely amused by its power
The Nintendo Treehouse tried to “fix” this exchange not by writing it better, but by altering and removing bits of it. The localization has managed to tick off LBGT community members because Soleil is not allowed to marry females. That sounds terrible until you consider the real issue: Soleil may not have been a lesbian in the Japanese version of the game, but the Treehouse altered the script and made her sexuality unambiguously lesbian for the North American release anyway.
Moe transcends sex..
Have you ever heard the term "moe" used before? It's a very vague concept, that can be used to describe something cute, atractive, or that evokes a desire to protect, among many other things. While it can lead to sexual feelings, attraction to moe can be viewed as seperate from romantic or sexual attraction.
In Japan it's not an uncommon trope for women to fall victims to crippling bouts of moe fascination. When this fascination with moe traits is given to a female character, they may show attraction to cute girls, but not necessarily in a sexual manner. Essentially, Soleil may not have been getting worked up by cute girls out of sexual lust, but out of a love for cute things: She loves cute things. The girls are cute. She loves the girls. Substitute kittens for girls and it works the same in theory, because it's not necessarily a sexual attraction.
At least I hope it's not a sexual attraction to kittens…
In this manner the Treehouse team may have altered a straight or bi-curious woman into a firm lesbian, and that's why the localization receives flack for not allowing a "lesbian" to marry other women. Oops?
Changes to content that was not questionable.
Hisame is a serious character in the Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates, but was changed to have an overt obsession with pickles, possibly intended to be funny.
Harold and his child Lutz have been renamed to Arthur and Percy. The original names are from old European words related to war, which tied in to the theme of the game they appear in: Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest.
Kana now speaks dragon at times, which is just gibberish like “rghhrrrrrgh grhh rrr.” It's a play on an old meme. The character has been made far more childish in North America than in Japan. Male Kana is also shot down with by any character he proposes to in the North American version.
Sophie was a little clumsy in the Japanese version, but the American localization plays it up and gives her silly lines that aren't present in the original.
Keaton is a werewolf in the Japanese version, but in the the NA release, his race are “Wolfskin.” They changed all of the werewolves into furries and made them fascinated by their animal traits. Dialogue between Keaton and his daughter was changed significantly.
Saizo and Beruka had an entire conversation cut and replaced by ellipsis. It was a fairly in depth conversation revealing a lot about the characters' backgrounds and reputations as feared assassins.
The list goes on and on, with references to the Simpsons (Wellity, Wellity, Wellity), Sonic (You're too slow!), and urban dictionary terms (Slappyface!) spread throughout.
More than 60% of the vocal audio files in the game were removed. The voice actress for Azura was recorded telling people that Nintendo's secrecy on the project lead to voice actors knowing virtually nothing needed to do their jobs well. This would explain why the voice acting is of such poor quality and why many characters have reactions that don't fit what's actually happening in the game.
Coincidentally, shortly after the Niche Gamer ran this story, the video was taken down, with the uploader claiming "harassment" was the primary reason. The voice actress then said Niche Gamer had it wrong. Fortunately, Niche Gamer had a mirror of the video uploaded as proof of their claims.
Given Nintendo's heavy-handed dealings with anyone that leaks behind the scenes information to the public, it's extremely likely the "harassment" came from Nintendo.
Update: One reader has provided a nice resource containing more examples of Nintendo of America's lackluster localization efforts, here.
To understand the frustrations people feel about Nintendo's shitty localization practices of late, let me take you back to another situation that's similar in some ways:
Do you remember when DmC: Devil May Cry came out? If you enjoyed it fine, it was a functional action game, but there were several major, factual downgrades from other games in the series: 30 fps, color-coded enemies, no lock-on, and Devil Trigger cast all enemies into the air. Ninja Theory altered the formula, but didn't understand what they were messing with.
What made the whole ordeal particularly annoying was the change of art direction, because art is subjective. Whenever you tried to explain to someone why DmC was a downgrade, they would brush off everything you had to say because “you really just didn't like New Dante.” It was hair tearing levels of frustrating, and now its repeating itself.
As bad as the localization changes to Fire Emblem Fates and Bravely Second are, people will blindly defend them and claim you're just a pervert that wanted the questionable content.
Instead of arguing with those types of people, just link them to the following page, which consists purely of fact, with no spin. Maybe they'll finally see there's more to these changes than just questionable content.