Fire Emblem Fates’ Localization Censorship Has Gamers Fighting Back

Poor localization, cut content and censored material in a game coming from the East to the West has been an issue for a long time. However, gamers have grown to a point where they feel as if the industry needs to mature to the point where localizers should stop denigrating regional cultural differences  by removing content or censoring material they deem culturally inappropriate. This kind of localization corruption all came to head recently with the release of Fire Emblem Fates for the Nintendo 3DS.

Recently there was a tweet by game developer Mark Kern who runs the pro-consumer advocacy group League For Gamers, where he and others have formed together to use social media to make other gamers aware of the content butchering happening through the localization process.

Mark Kern on Twitter

Nintendo’s localization of #FireEmblemFates is rife with cut content and unneeded censorship. #ChallengeOurFates https://thndr.me/x8UqcH

There’s an additional image in the Twitter feed attached from 8chan where they explain all of the content that’s been altered or removed from the Japanese version of Fire Emblem Fates when it made its way through Nintendo’s Treehouse localization process. They mentioned that out of the total 3,196 audio files, the North American version only contains 1,208. So yes, 1,988 audio cues are missing. Many attribute this to the missing head-petting mini-game that was supposedly removed from Fire Emblem Fates, even though some conflicting reports like the one from Go Nintendo state that maybe the head-petting isn’t completely removed.

According to the post various character changes were made, names were altered and some skill names were changed. One of the more damning charges is that the voice actors allegedly lacked proper direction by the Treehouse localizers. This was covered in a report by Niche Gamer. However, later the voice actress tried clearing up what she meant and opted to have an interview with Niche Gamer about the topic, following the original video being taken down where the claim was made.

A thread over on /r/Games/ from user Zhaoshike also gained quite a bit of popularity after he pointed out how the localization team completely altered one character’s entire personality from what it was in the Japanese version, linking to a pastebin of other changes that the localization team took liberties with in Fire Emblem Fates.

A video from Netscape9 also quickly covers some of the changes in the game as well as the charges of censorship against Nintendo’s Treehouse localization outfit.

#TorrentialDownpour/#ChallengeOurFates: No More Gaming Censorship!

My Twitter: https://twitter.com/netscape9 My Tumblr: https://netscape9.tumblr.com/ My Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/netscapenav9 – More Information – KotakuInAction: …

Even gamers over on the sub-Reddit for the Nintendo 3DS have become disgruntled with the completely rewritten dialogue sequences in Fire Emblem Fates where the top comment from JSRen asks…

“Do you know what would be nice. Actually translating from the original source material and faithfully representing the original work?”

The issue of proper linguistical representation is sometimes excused away because some state that the languages are so different that not everything spoken or said in Japanese translates 1:1 in English. Well, most gamers aren’t asking for a 1:1 lexicon, but they are asking for a fairly accurate representation of the dialogue as opposed to conversations, phrases and jokes completely made up to fit the localizers’ cultural specifications.

What’s more is that there are a series of other changes made in the game such as outfits that were removed, as outlined on the Serene’s Forest forum. According to the post, some of the clothing options were replaced with a large towel or completely removed altogether.

Some gamers were angry at the fact that Treehouse would have writers on board that don’t speak Japanese, as admitted to by one of the Treehouse members, Rich Amtower. A collection of tweets where Amtower essentially admits to not being qualified for translating Japanese text have been dug up by the anonymous diggers over on 8chan. You can check out the tweets that were posted by Amtower on Twitter.



According to Amtower, he actually does what many gamers are angry about: making things up and completely ruining the translation by “localizing” games with content  not faithful to the original.

Nich Maragos is another localizer who worked on Fire Emblem Fates that recently joined Nintendo’s Treehouse after doing a stint at Atlus, as noted on his Twitter account.

Maragos was firm in making it known that he didn’t want companies like XSeed and Aksys to localize games like Senran Kagura, and he also made a video claiming that no one wanted to take away games, even though the United Nations recently made it a priority to discuss the possibilities of banning certain Japanese games following a report they did about harassment against women in the gaming industry.

Nich Maragos – #roomforeveryone

A veteran localization writer discusses the fear that social justice issues are in danger of killing gaming, and explains why it’s not founded. There’s #roomforeveryone in games–if you’re a game developer, send your testimonial video to roomforeveryonevideos@gmail.com!

This isn’t anything new to the space of translations and localization, though. Just in 2015 alone there were several cases of censorship via localization, including the Blade & Soul incident, where the localization team made story and characters changes unrelated to the original design and censored various kinds of content to fit in line with their perception of American “cultural sensitivity”. When gamers caught wind of this and attempted an e-mail campaign to NCSoft, the localizers and community managers had the e-mail campaigns censored and banned.

Another case in 2015 included Xenoblade Chronicles X, where various outfits, character customization features and story related content were either cut, censored or altered to fit Western sensbilities.

Gamers absolutely livid at the mistreatment of titles being localized that come out of Nintendo of Japan can be proactive and do something about it.

There are letter-writing campaigns just like in the early days of #GamerGate directed to both Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Japan, as well as Thunderclaps designed to help get the word out about the misappropriation being exercised in the translation process by the localization team. Change.org petitions are also up and alive to collect signatures of Nintendo fans who are fed up with corrupt localization efforts being applied to the creative works that they hold near and dear to their hearts.

Would you like to learn more? You can direct your efforts toward the Kotaku in Action thread to informed about what you can do to help.





About

Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Contact.

  • Brad

    We know that direct translation is not possible. But we do want a game that is faithful to the original with all content. The reason we were fans of the franchise was yes, including the petting style mini games.

    • But we do want a game that is faithful to the original with all content.

      Indeed. Just let gamers be and let live. It’s really that simple.

      It’s shocking now that gamers are actually having to fight in order to get the original intended content in future games. As far as I know, games which have already been censored by Western Censorship/Localization Teams will officially stay that way unfortunately.

      And this will keep happening until the developer/company wakes up, puts a stop to it and monitors the localizatiomn process. Or they simply stop hiring these fucking SJW feminist pricks.

  • Okay now, this is really quite shocking and quite frankly disgusting.

    This is somewhat proving that when it comes to the separate entities of Western localization teams (Treehouse) of video games, the main headquarters (in this case it would be Nintendo of Japan and America) may actually be clueless and oblivious to what they’re actually doing to the original game. When they find out, it’s probably too late.

    Nintendo of America will probably just agree to the changes by default so fuck them. Nintendo of Japan are who we need to alert.

    I imagine that if these Western localization teams are found out and criticized by the main company, they’ll just respond with bullshit like: “we respect women and just want them to be depicted and treated better in video games”. And of course if the [insert main company here] disagrees, they’ll be threatened with the “misogynists” and “sexists” labels.

    This is exactly the same shit that happened to Blade & Soul and Xenoblade Chronicles.

    At first I didn’t think these localization teams were THIS bad and took everything under their own control without any ‘check-points’ from the main company. But after seeing that fucking gimp Rich Amtower’s Tweets, I’m convinced now that there is a high chance that a main company is clueless and oblivious to what the Western localization teams are doing to their games.

    So yet again, SJWs and feminists somehow keep managing to get into these positions, push their own personal agenda and completely ruin it for everybody else.

    Surely it’s about fucking time now that there has to be some sort of a controlled regulatory body that monitors the localization process of video games? This fucking SJW/feminist shit needs to be kicked out of video games once and for all.

    • Oh snap, I completely forgot to include the Blade & Soul and Xenoblade Chronicles X examples. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Immahnoob

        Did you see this Billy?

        https://archive.is/Gw9h0

        Nich Maragos works for Treehouse now and took part in the localization of Fire Emblem Fates, he was an Atlus USA employee and took part in their localizations:

        https://archive.is/JgeDO

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRyG5_HSSy4

        He also seems to have called for a boycott towards Senran Kagura (XSEED localized):

        https://i.imgur.com/quaOpZs.jpg

      • I’m glad that XSeed didn’t listen. Did he ever say why they shouldn’t localize those games?

      • TT

        Probably the same reason as the others in the SJW localization clique. Because he’s a total cuck.

      • Immahnoob

        If you want more just to give you a taste:

        https://pastebin.com/2rq0BTkV

        Conflicts of interest for Eltrian Odyssey and Persona Q.
        Second one is for Fire Emblem Fates

      • Fear Me I Am Free

        SJWs are the fucking worst. They can claim they just want to add “diversity” to gaming, but anytime I hear anything about people like this, it’s always some political bullshit.

      • Their “diversity” policy for the most part is nothing more than the censorship of sexy/cute/scatily-clad female characters in video games and passing it off as “social justice” or some “respecting women” bullshit.

  • Philip Weigel

    Certain changes are unavoidable. For example, if a character is pompous and spouts of Japanese poetry in Japan, that wouldn’t work for outside of Japan other than people who study the culture very closely. On the other hand, changing it to say, Shakespeare, for example, works really well since that’s well known in the West.

    Anyway, there is a saying for what happened to Fire Emblem Fates…

    As the Russians say, Fire Emblem Fates got Nadmozg’d.

    Nadmozg is a Russian word for a very shitty/bad translation that loses too much meaning from its origin source.

    As a Russian pal of mine put it…

    “To be specific “Nadmozg” is very broken translation of the word “Overmind” (from the game Starcraft). If you would TS Nadmozg back in English you would get roughly “upbrain”.”

    • Laytonaster

      There’s still a difference between changing something untranslatable and changing something for no good reason. If they haven’t already, Treehouse has become notorious for shoehorning memes and other internet bullshit where it doesn’t work.

      • Philip Weigel

        Exactly. Which is why the “localization” of Fates got Nadmozg’d.

    • scemar

      Changing poetry to poetry kinda works, not my cup of tea because I can understand the context already, but at least it’s an honest translation.

      But changing the guy that loves poetry into a goofy fool that spouts bad jokes is more like the sort of thing the Treehouse would do.

      • Philip Weigel

        …That sounds like something 4Kids did.

        Rice balls are Jelly Donuts!

        Granted, they do make Rice Ball style Jelly Donuts, but still!

      • scemar

        Treehouse did that too.
        In every FE game they have a few characters completely reworked and changed in some silly way.

    • Tidal Tantrum

      In most cases “Nadmozg” is like a machine translation. But at least sometimes “Nadmozg” is somehow understandable (just like my English, but better, I think).

    • Whilst you’re right about the Japanese poetry / Western Shakespeare thing, I still think that there should be at least an option in the game where the player can choose to keep the Japanese poetry. This ensures that the game is fully intact with it’s original text/dialogue.

      Regarding Fire Emblem Fates, I wouldn’t even say that it’s a “shitty/bad translation”. That’s giving Treehouse too much credit.

      It’s outright censorship using the ‘IT’S FOR THE AMERICAN CULTURE!’ to justify it.

      • Philip Weigel

        Wouldn’t be a bad thing I think.

        Of course, there’s other reasons to change words, since some words can mean 3 different things at the same time in Japanese. (Exaggerating here, I know) Sometimes words just don’t have good translations, such as honorifics like San, Sama, Chan, Kun, Dono, Sempai, etc. (I know I forgot a few). Anime generally does a good job at translating those words, and while I know what they mean, normies probably don’t.

        Nadmozg just describes how it ended up is all.

        I do agree that this is censorship though.

      • Audie Bakerson

        The honorifics aren’t 100% untranslatable, it really depends on circumstance.

        様 is actually pretty easy to translate. Some kind of title is generally appropriate in English when someone is using it.

        Now girls using 僕… THAT is impossible to translate.

      • Philip Weigel

        Yeah, I know they aren’t untranslatable, I was just giving examples of words that don’t translate well and/or have multiple meanings.

        To use Naruto as an example, Jiraiya, Tsunade and Orochimaru all have “sama” as an honorific in Japan, in the English version, they’re called Master Jiraiya, Lady Tsunade and Lord Orochimaru. They all fit, but it’s three words for the same phrase.

        To use another example from Naruto, “dattebyo”, the verbal tic Naruto has in the anime, has no meaning, and you probably know this, but I’m explaining for others who may read this, but when the word was translated into English, it was changed to “Believe It!”

        Another series is Tenchi Muyo, in the Japanese version, Washu likes to call herself “Washu-chan”. English dub was “Little Washu”. Didn’t quite have the same meaning over here, I think, as it did in Japan.

        One problem with honorifics and how we, in the West, talk to each other is sometimes things do get lost in translation.

        For example, in the series, Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha (Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha), Nanoha tells two human aliens to call her “Nanoha” and not use any honorific like Nanoha-chan or Nanoha-san. In Japan, that’s a sign of being really close to someone, in America, it’s just normal.

        Then there’s the whole “calling people by their last names” in Japan. In the West we don’t do that, and sometimes scenes don’t translate well.

        Just some stuff.

      • 萌えゲー

        They could always go the Steins;Gate route, highlight words that explain Japanese culture and memes and set them in a dictionary bank for those interested to know later on.

      • Some movies do this as well in the subtitles. I just don’t understand why it’s so hard not to just explain terminology and cultural differences instead of saying “lol ‘muricans dun understand; let’s throw in memes!”

      • michalok

        “They could always go the Steins;Gate route, highlight words that explain Japanese culture and memes and set them in a dictionary bank for those interested to know later on.”

        This is the best thing that every translator can do. Game stays in original form, and audience is able to learn something new. I really wish that this practice will be more popular in future.

      • michalok

        Honorofics should be left-in as a part of a name. It’s impossible to translate them, so they should just add the note in game instruction/booklet whatever like it has a place in many translations of Japanese books.

      • Nanya

        I like the way that some anime does it.
        Like Washuu-chan becomes “Little Washuu”
        Or Jiraiya-Sama, Tsunade-Sama and Orochimaru-Sama becomes “Master Jiraiya”, “Lady Tsunade” and “Lord Orochimaru”

      • michalok

        But it’s totally inaccurate in some cases 🙂
        I’m ok with this kind of “localization” if story isn’t set in Japan. Then it’s perfectly fine. But if story is set in Japan, then it’s not an option for me.

      • Nanya

        It’s not inaccurate though. Heck, there’s what Ranma 1/2 did with Tatewaki Kuno. In the original Japanese he spouts off Japanese poetry. In the dub, it’s Shakespeare.

  • Fear Me I Am Free

    Love how that Nich guy called the injection of politics into gaming just a bogeyman when we are seeing it cause real damage to the industry. He is part of the problem and he most likely knows it because he conveniently closed the comments and dislikes.

    • Audie Bakerson

      Who?

      • The guy in the video linked in @immahnoob:disqus comment.

        He closed off the comments and removed the like/dislike meter so you can’t offer any feedback.

  • Bitterbear

    The NX is going to tank harder than the Wii U..

    • jlenoconel

      Agreed. I have zero interest in Nintendo at this point.

      • Philip Weigel

        They’d have to pump out 3 Metroid and 2 Zelda games for the NX for me to be interested in it.

    • Dgnfly

      I’m afraid it’ll be nothing more then a SJW gaming machine with non stop butchered games and maybe it’ll include a safespace for those ppl.

  • Anonymous

    “Some gamers were angry at the fact that Treehouse would have even higher writers that don’t speak Japanese”

    Hired.

    We live in a world where cultures are no longer separated by thousands of miles and territorial borders. The amount of exposure the average internet user has to foreign cultures and ideas far exceeds that of any other time in history. Heavy handed localization is no longer necessary and borders on being patronizing to the consumer. Censoring content to protect hypothetical sensibilities is also insulting.

    Let the customer decide what is and is not appropriate for them. Taking another person’s work are rewriting it to exclude “problematic” content and then selling it is completely vile.

    • Heh, thanks. I caught that typo later after making another edit pass and fixed it right proper.

      Let the customer decide what is and is not appropriate for them. Taking another person’s work are rewriting it to exclude “problematic” content and then selling it is completely vile.

      Absolutely this. I cannot believe that it’s gotten to this point. I love foreign films not because I want to see a French or obscure Danish film for its American sensibilities, but to see them for their own cultural sensibilities. It’s sickening that these localizers want to white-wash other cultures to fight American standards. That is some puerile horse piss.

      • Gamer

        I watch Kung Fu Hustle subbed. Great film.

      • Philip Weigel

        Even Disney, fucking DISNEY, is better at capturing cultures than SJWs are.

  • Dominic John Chan Maca

    This is really disgusting. I should have picked up translator as a profession so I can enter the localization industry. Damn.

  • scemar

    The FE Fates job is terrible, just terrible.
    The amount of cut and changed content is huge.

    What can really help right now is having all that information condensed into hard facts, names, numbers, changes and having it in useful to share and spread infographics.

    Most people don’t care if they are told there were changes, but if you tell them they removed half the audio, they turned X character from Y to Z or show them the amount of items removed they will reach their own conclusions.

    The best thing is that we got 3DS modding working already, so a great game does not have to suffer due to a poor localization.

    • Most people don’t care if they are told there were changes

      That in my opinion, is a huge part of the problem. The people who don’t care about the “trivial” changes; and the ‘HUR HUR NO MOAR BOOBIES FOR DA WEEABOOS’ dudebros and trolls. Both these sets of groups help push the SJW/feminist narrative.

      but if you tell them they removed half the audio, they turned X character fromY to Z or show them the amount of items removed they will reach their own conclusions.

      They will of course reach their own conclusions, but unfortunately I fear that at least half of them still won’t care. But it is about getting the message out there of course and that’s the most important thing.

      • scemar

        I wouldn’t stereotype everyone that easily.
        Plenty people don’t care that much but aren’t really trolls or anything, they just don’t know the facts and don’t care enough to look into them but if given the chance to see them they might care. Even if it’s half of them that’s good.

      • 萌えゲー

        Right? And when you say I’m importing they’re like “UR JUST BEING SPITEFUL TO NOA, AT LEAST WE GOT THE GAME!”

      • michalok

        If someone is using “weeaboo” term, then he/she is not worth my/your time. Burger imbeciles are the worst cancer in the internet.

  • jlenoconel

    There’s a reason piracy is so popular on Nintendo platforms lol.

    • Dgnfly

      Piracy is now the only way to play nintendo games considering its infested with SJW and other retarded ppl.

      So glad i never bought a nintendo console they never felt like a true gaming machine anyways.

  • MusouTensei

    This is so disgusting, I hate these people.

  • Nusstopher

    Did you guys see the dialogue excerpt from the new Fire Emblem where that character is talking about pickles? The translators just pulled stuff out of their arse because they thought it would be funny. Any self respecting translation company wouldn’t have let that make it to the final product.

  • Gamer

    I’m glad gamers are fighting back. This censorship is horrid. Censoring art is very bad. Look back on history and you’ll see why. I don’t care who does the censoring, it’s still wrong.

    These people, like Nich, are disgusting. They infiltrate and seek out positions that have influence to push their religious views. It’s both sad and infuriating at the same time. Just look at mods of any forum. Narcissists with no education or a degree that actually matters trying to convert everyone to their views. Everyone else is scum and non-human in their eyes.

    I watched a great video from the Censored Gaming youtube channel. He gave an AMAZING example. These Sensitive Just-Us Whiners complained when Nintendo removed gay marriage from Tamagotchi L.i.f.e. ‘s western release. Hypocrites.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6MxZbw-qsM

  • GeneralSalt

    Very rarely does the English translation become more cringeworthy than the Jap version. #BoycottNintendo

  • Leonardo Cornejo Bernal

    As a translator and aspiring video game story writer with a project in the oven I am quite angry at this. Something I was told by those who trained me in the art and craft of translation is that during translation and localization it was vital to stay as faithful to the original as possible. But don’t wory chum, so get read for some boogers and… Oh wait, wrong phrase. But don’t worry chum, my project, which I might release during the next 20 years (I don’t make it a short term project because I don’t have money) will be very politically incorrect and will actually counter all of this, think about it, a game in which one of the main villains is a misandryst spoiled princess inspired by Anita Sarkeesian herself, a game where there is a 13 year old furry werewolf girl who will be featured in swimsuit and underwear and is dating a half demon in his early 20s, a game where some major female characters have agressive clevage and major boobage, a game which will show religion in a positive light for a change, a game where war will be heavilly criticized while at the same time mocking social justice, a game with influences from both Japanese and Western RPGs, a game where nearly every major character will be shown in underwear at least once, a game where everything will get morally burned. You can’t get more un PC than that. That game will be so controversial if the trends don’t reverse that Hatred will look like nothing even though my project is a lot less violent.

  • You know what?

    **** NINTENDO OF AMERICA. NoJ should take full and unrestricted control over NoA and be allowed to do as they please. And they should also have direct oversight of every bit of “translation” and “localization” that gets made.

    And I do sincerely hope for a general return to the N64-GameCube era of Nintendo as a whole. You know, the F-Zero, Wave Race, 1080, Rogue Squadron era. Those were good days…

    • Christine otabo

      i love it you are the best kisssssssssssssssssssss

  • Uhhhhhhhh

    What a bunch of whiners you gamers are. Get a life!!!!!!!

  • Hearthwing

    A non issue. Barely anything was changed. Every JRPG for 30 years has seen varying degrees of localization edits. That is the nature of what it means to bring things to other regions.

    But because Nintendo and for hits, it becomes a story.

    • That is the nature of what it means to bring things to other regions.

      No, it doesn’t. In this case we can just stick with playing Western games. If you want hamburgers and fries, stick with American. If you want sushi, try Japanese. We don’t need ketchup and mustard on our sushi just because we’re eating it in America.

      • Hearthwing

        You sound insane here. Then just stop buying Japanese games. They all have localization changes.

      • lol, insane for wanting to experience someone else’s culture as close to the original as possible? Pretty soon you’ll be saying CD Projekt Red was wrong for keeping Polish culture so intact in The Witcher 3 because they didn’t adapt the game’s lore and themes to Western standards.

      • Hearthwing

        Witcher 3 had localization changes.

      • Care to cite any? Show us actual examples?

      • Behelit

        “teen rating” https://imgur.com/a/Imgtu
        Feels like it’s being presented to 5 year olds with cringy humor.

      • Note the post I was replying to; I was talking about The Witcher.

      • It had translated voices sure, but what other localization changes did it have?

      • Hearthwing

        Some dialogue actually was different in different regions

      • Show us where the dialogue was different in different regions, then.

      • Gamer

        You’re beginning to sound racist and xenophobic for wanting to change other cultures.

      • Hearthwing

        You sound delusional to think some things in one culture would sell in another

      • TT

        “You sound insane here.”
        From the looks of it, the only one coming off as unhinged is you.

    • Erthwjim

      Just because it’s been happening for 30 years doesn’t mean it needs to continue happening. Here’s the thing, in 30 years, people age, what didn’t matter when we were children matters now. And frankly, many of the people that bought the JRPGs as children have grown up and are still buying them, they expect things to improve, not get worse or remain mediocre.

  • cloudstrife990

    Lispy pasty nerd gamer….oh what a surprise he’s an sjw. Someone needs to explain to these idiots that being an SJW doesnt get you laid.

    • Bro, that’s their only hope because there’s no other options for them. SJW or bust for the goony-beard men.

  • 萌えゲー

    TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER.

  • Evgenij Merenkov

    I was thinking of buying this game, but now I won’t. At least not western version. I don’t want to promote a practice with my money were you butcher artist vision in favour of SJW.

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  • Ruz18

    Censorship didn’t bother me much until when I played Fire Emblem Fates.
    When I found out about the bath towel, I was wondering to myself as I
    upgrade the accessory shop, I can unlock more clothes for my characters.
    I fully upgraded the shop and nothing changed. The bath towel is still
    there and is the only body accessory in the game. It really bothered me
    thinking if there would be any other clothing in the game. I looked up
    to see if there is, and there are other body accessories, but everything
    but the bath towels are in Japan only, even the Toga of Love, which is
    way less revealing comparing to the others! What’s the point of having
    body accessories without at least a good selection for characters to
    wear? I hope that Nintendo of America and the Treehouse are realizing
    this because I believe that they pushed the gamers’ last button.

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  • michalok

    It’s rather funny, because translations of all Senran Kagura games were localized as f*ck too. Xseed is just A LITTLE better, but better =/= good.

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