Despite the controversy surrounding its release, Fire Emblem Fates has managed to launch to an overwhelmingly positive reception. In three days on the market, the title managed to notch up 300,000 sales across its two versions. The previous entry to the franchise, Fire Emblem Awakening only managed to break 100,000 units in a week, well behind the current progress of Fates.
Although the Fire Emblem franchise is no stranger to censorship in the localization process, Fates managed to rub a lot of fans the wrong way. The removal of a face-rubbing minigame, which was used to bolster affection among followers, as well as the significant alterations to a particularly questionable scene were seen as overly dramatic changes. Though the sales numbers could have been helped by the simultaneous release of two distinct versions in Birthright and Conquest, even halved, the sales numbers greatly outweigh Awakening.
Perhaps this serves to demonstrate how a controversy can help to bring in new players. On the other hand, maybe the vast majority of fans were simply unconcerned with the changes. Either way, the localization process is often bound to bring about changes. Maintaining the ‘original vision’ for a product certainly is a noble goal, but that may not always be a reasonable option, particularly for a family-friendly company like Nintendo. That’s not to say alterations of this nature are inherently right or wrong, – they simply are – but they may often be a necessary evil.
Fire Emblem Fates is yet to make its debut in the European and Australian markets, with a specific release date yet to be set.