Nintendo Faces Backlash After Releasing Japanese Storyline That Allegedly Endorses ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ and Drugging

Nintendo is under fire after announcing that they will be changing the storyline of the Western version of Fire Emblem.

In an interview with Siliconera, Nintendo clarified that they will be removing gay innuendos that were included in the original Japanese version. The original Japanese version includes a lesbian falling in love with the man who drugged her.

Though Nintendo initially released the game with options for the gamers to choose their own sexual orientation, the gamers were reportedly disappointed when they found out the game also offers them an option to drug the game’s lesbian character and make her straight, according to Takepart.

“In the version of the game that ships in the U.S. and Europe, there is no expression which might be considered as gay conversion or drugging that occurs between characters,” Nintendo spokesperson e-mailed Nintendo World Report.

The lesbian character in question is Soleil. Soleil is attracted to women and blushes whenever she is surrounded by them. Soleil has an insecurity that she might not look “strong and cool” because of her impulse around women.

The game will then give the gamers an option to partner her with a male protagonist, who will then drug her drink with a “magic powder” and make her replace her feelings about women and direct them towards men.

Soleil has become attracted to the female illusion of this male protagonist and has ended up proposing to him. When the drug wore off, she admitted she fell in love with the female version of the protagonist but still loves him even though he is male.

The bigger issue is not just the storyline. Aside from the morally incorrect manner of drugging the character without their knowing, the alteration was also interpreted as a means of “gay conversion therapy.” This is a method used by some religious organizations to change ones sexual orientation. This method has no scientific basis and is said to be abusive.

Nintendo’s Changes Not Unusual

Nintendo said in a statement that changes in local versions of the games are not unusual for them. They do their best to make the game’s storyline appropriate to a particular territory and that their choices were made from that region’s point of view.

In Japan, they do not necessarily see the part of the game as a form of gay conversion therapy. Commenters have noted the big cultural difference between Japan and the Western gamers. This is also why Nintendo will keep the original version of the game in Japan.

“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.”

Nintendo assured the gamers that the third edition, Revelation, which will be released as a DLC on Mar. 10, will offer options for same-sex marriage.

Fire Emblem is a tactical RPG based on a group of soldiers from the kingdom of Ylisse. It was initially released by Nintendo in Japan back in April 2012. There have been updates during April 2013. However, the latest one, Fire Emblem: Fates, focuses on the big royals rivalry of the Hoshido clan and the Nohrian royals.

Fire Emblem: Fate is set to be released on Feb. 19.

[Image Credit: Getty/Jonathan Leibson]