Localization can be a tricky business. Things like characters giving a thumbs up or even giving what we in America would seem like a peace sign can mean a variety of things to another culture, meaning that eliminating inappropriate signals and signs can help sales in a given country. Removing inappropriate features from a game can help tremendously, which is why it’s odd that Nintendo has eliminated its petting mechanic.
The feature allows players to use the touch screen to physically interact with the in-game characters. It’s quite similar to the Pokemon-Amie mechanic, where it is called the “skinship” mechanic, or more appropriately, “petting.”
Videos of such skinship can be found online. The videos show that by tapping on them, players create a stronger bond with which character they’re touching. This, in turn, produces better performance from that character in battle. The mechanic works for both male and female characters.
An anonymous representative told Kotaku that the feature has been removed from the game, emphasizing that even in the Japanese version of the game, the petting isn’t done in an inappropriate way.
“Yes, that is the case [that petting isn’t in the English version],” an unnamed representative said. “You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game, but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan.”
Nintendo’s already removed a scene from the Western version of the game that contained a gay conversation and the topic of drugging. The game releases in two separate forms: Birthright and Conquest. Fire Emblem Fates releases on February 19th for $40. As well, purchasing one will give you a $20 digital version of the other.