This week some debate arose around the localisation of Fire Emblem Fates, when it emerged that a 'drugging' scene, in which a character sees men as women and women as men, had been removed from the game in its Western versions. Nintendo stated, rather simply, that in the localised version "there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters". Localisation can be a tricky topic, of course, and some were unhappy that content from the Japanese version has been changed, while others supported the removal of a scene that a fair number will regard as inappropriate.
No doubt aware of the online debate around this Nintendo has issued a statement clarifying that such changes are natural in localisation, and has also highlighted that Fates will also have some same-sex marriage options through the campaigns. Marriage was a key part of Fire Emblem: Awakening, as pairing characters together for extended periods would see them form relationships, marry and perhaps even have children; in practical terms marriage gave that team stat boosts to improve their performance. The statement is below (thanks, Siliconera):
Making changes is not unusual when we localize games, and we have indeed made changes in these games. When we localize a game we do so in order to make it appropriate for that particular territory. All our choices were made from that point of view.
In the Conquest edition a male main character created by the gamer can pair up with another male character (Niles) which ultimately leads to marriage. Similarly, in the Birthright edition, a female main character created by the gamer can pair up with and eventually marry another female character (Rhajat). Like married couples of the opposite gender, these same-sex couples enjoy the stat boosts that come with marriage, which means when they are paired up in battle they are stronger than when they are apart or paired up with another character.
In the third edition, Revelation, that will be released as DLC in the eShop on March 10, a same-sex marriage is possible regardless of the sex of your main character, as both Niles and Rhajat can be encountered in this edition.
Though the same-sex marriage options are limited, this does nevertheless seem like a notable step for Nintendo, and a case of it following through on its promises from a Tomodachi Life controversy in 2014. When the Mii-sim was released in the West without support for same-sex marriage it prompted a 'Miiquality' campaign. Nintendo's response was criticised and it apologised for its handling of the issue, promising that a future entry in the series would "strive to design a game-play experience from the ground up that is more inclusive, and better represents all players". By utilising the resources at its disposal when localising Fire Emblem Fates, Nintendo seems to - in a limited but welcome way - be showing commitment to that aim for more inclusion in these aspects of its games.
It's a step, at least, and naturally optional for players in terms of the editions they buy and the characters they marry together.
As an editor's note, I'm leaving comments open but want to emphasize the message that debate should stay on topic and be respectful; if either of those aspects are ignored the comments section will be shut down in this article. Please refer to my editorial on the Tomodachi Life issue if you want any more context relating to this policy.