It’s always heartening when logic and reasoning prevail over outrage and hysteria. Today it has been revealed that Fire Emblem Fates has become the fastest selling game in the series’ history in the US, despite the online campaign #TorrentialDownpour being set up with the threat of a mass boycott of the game due to perceived localization problems.
#TorrentialDownpour was set up by Twitter users who bemoaned what they felt was censorship of the game after pieces of dialogue and certain features were removed and changed for its US version. Despite localization being something that has occurred in the video game industry since, well, forever, and with the validity of these localization choices being entirely subjective, the individuals taking part in the campaign took it upon themselves to send emails to Nintendo of America and incite what they believed would be a major boycotting of the game. As we can now see, this campaign didn’t particularly have the desired effect on the game that these individuals thought it would.
The game, which was launched in two editions – Birthright and Conquest – has shifted 300,000 copies over the course of its launch weekend, selling five times the amount of the series’ previous record Fire Emblem: Awakening in the same time period. That’s an impressive figure, and it could be suggested that the larger spotlight placed upon the game as a result of the campaign may have actively bolstered this number.
We had previously covered an admittedly odd localization decision made in Conquest, in which a conversation between two support characters had been removed in its US/EU versions in favor of a series of ellipses. But while I personally found this to be little more than a curious replacement in among plenty of other completely acceptable dialogue exchanges, those championing the #TorrentialDownpour campaign used it to add fuel to the fire of why localization is basically just censorship, overlooking the more reasonable opinion that it’s absolutely not and is actually a necessity in order for publishers to successfully target their games to different cultures in the most effective way possible.
Sure, some localization is poor and worthy of criticism, and Fire Emblem Fates featured its share of questionable alterations, but there are certainly more mature methods of conveying your criticisms than starting an online campaign and attempting to stage a boycott, over what amounts to a relatively small amount of curious yet thoroughly innocuous changes. There were people posting with the hashtag that actively condoned pirating the game as a result of the changes, confusing the act of boycotting with still enjoying the thing they’re criticizing, but failing to pay the people who made it any money.
To those who are that offended by localization that they feel obliged to petition, write vitriolic emails to Nintendo and refuse to play otherwise great games as a result of their petty quibbles with them, I’d suggest should dedicate the time they’re wasting on these campaign to more campaigning more pertinent issues, such as global warming or something. Or, failing they, they could take the advice I dealt out to those bemoaning Quantum Break‘s PC release and go play badminton.