July 9, 2015 | by Kay
IF You’re Defending Fire Emblem Fates, You’re Still Wrong

(Trigger Warning for talk of drugging and rape.)

The game Fire Emblem Fates has become engulfed in a fire of controversy.

The internet is ablaze with arguments of whether the game’s treatment of the character Soleil is incredibly offensive or just poorly written. The conflict started with a Tumblr post explaining how in the recently-released Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates, the male main character slips a magical drug into Soleil’s drink which alters her perception of gender. Soleil, who prefers women, ends up hooking up with the male main character as a result of this. While this all sounds straightforward, this resulting debate between two sides has made things appear muddier than they actually are: The fact that the best argument the defending side can make is that things were ONLY poorly written and executed, as opposed to being extremely horrible in addition to those two things says a lot about the truth of the matter.

After the post blew up it got noticed by a certain well-known hashtag which called some of the poster’s claims into question. Soleil was stated to be a lesbian in the original post, but some were now arguing that she is supposed to be bisexual. Arguments calling into question the specific effects of the magical drug also surfaced. This lead to a loud back-and-forth about Japanese culture, sexuality, and if comparisons to gay conversion therapy and date-rape druggings were warranted.

In the end though, the base situation cannot be argued to be a mistranslation or misreading of dialogue and context: The male player character slips a perception-altering substance into the drink of Soleil, who prefers women, and can use this to get together with her. Regardless of the true specifics of the drinks effects or potency, it was still given to this character without her consent. Her reaction upon learning she was drugged doesn’t excuse that it was done without her knowledge or permission. Even if player had used a spell instead of literally slipping Soleil a mickey, the lack of consent given beforehand would remain.

Regardless of what certain lines translate to, what scenes may surround it, or what the writers intended, the base premise and context of the situation is still horrid. The character of Soleil is still written poorly outside of this scenario, and is still only able to hook up with men despite her preference for women. Her attraction is still painted as a weakness. The game is still full of Anime Tiddies and bizarre pseudo-incest. It still only has two gay options, each version exclusive, and still limits your choices to a sadistic gay guy or a predatory lesbian. Even ignoring all these things, the game still lets you drug a queer woman, something inexcusable in any game!

People have every right to be upset. Nonconsensually drugging a queer woman, or ANY woman for that matter, is universally gross. Anyone claiming otherwise is silencing the voices of the marginalized for the sake of enjoying a game. To claim otherwise is selfish and wrong.

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1 Comment
  • First time hearing of this issue.

    I think there was a huge misunderstanding in context and the cultural differences between Japan and America. I had to read 3 different articles after reading this one. It’s easy to make mistakes without checking things and trying to comment respectfully.

    I’m a Fire Emblem, love their games. I had a hard time believing this actually happened. In no way, Nintendo didn’t intend to cause this. In Japan, gay marriage is illegal which made it hard for them to get that concept to their games for audiences outside of Japan.

    Because of the Tumblr post, you had folks raging over homophobia in this game, Tomodachi Life, and other Nintendo properties.

    “Soleil does indeed fall for both male and female characters but due to the complexity of the Japanese language it isn’t conveyed very clearly in straight translations. ”

    From the article: Consent and gay conversion issues in Fire Emblem Fates by Jed Whitaker

    The article written on Destructoid by Ckarasu cleared a lot for me. The powder was controversial. I had wish it was placebo thing that had no effect when the protagonist helps Soleil. Sadly, the powder and the without consent is still there.

    We just got to wait for the English release and see how they handle and translate things.

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