Fire Emblem: Awakening has been out for a few weeks now, and according to StreetPass it would seem every other 3DS owner out there is playing. After having logged an almost embarrassing number of hours, and getting past the initial uselessness of just about every unit except Frederick, I’ve fallen in love with the game. The critics certainly have, too. But, for spoilerific reasons I won’t get in to, Awakening gives players the ability to marry off characters. As long as they’re not of the same sex.
In fact, the manual that comes with the download goes out of its way to let you know that you’re restricted to opposite-sex characters.
So where’s the controversy?
Is it because neither Nintendo nor Intelligent Systems itself has (as far as I can tell) said anything at all about it? It would be hard to believe it’s for lack of disclosure that the issue is dodging the spotlight – except, perhaps, because the whole relationship mechanic is a bit spoiler-y? Is that keeping it hush-hush? Are there no other gay gamers playing Awakening?
Is the reason that Awakening is getting a pass from gamers SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read) that the whole point of forming relationships in the game is to procreate? On the surface that may make some sort of sense, until you realize it sounds awfully like the typical, bigoted “marriage is for making babies” argument that the religious right has been hammering away at for ages now. Frankly, if that were the reason, I would find it as revolting as if Nintendo had kept same-sex relationships out of Fire Emblem because they thought it would cost them sales to include them.
END SPOILER ALERT
Or are people getting activism fatigue on this issue? Is it not a Big News Item any more? Are people in many jurisdictions just too busy fighting for LGBTQ rights in the real world?
I don’t know what the answers are, but I know that this hasn’t been taken as a big deal in the press. It has been mentioned in passing in reviews, and on some LGBTQ-centric sites, but that’s about it. The gaming public is aware of it, but there seems to be little consternation out there.
And ultimately I have to wonder why I haven’t made as big a deal out of it as I have with other games. Is it because I really, really, really like Fire Emblem: Awakening, and we’re all prone to give things more leeway if we like them? But it bothers me – it really chafes – that as I pair up my characters, I know that Vaike and Frederick will never go to the level above A in compatibility despite how clearly perfect for each other they are.
I’m not saying I want to turn the whole cast into a resurrection of the Sacred Band of Thebes, but I can’t help but think it wouldn’t have taken a lot of work to program in one or two options.
After all, the dialogue is suggestive enough.
What do you think? Give us your thoughts below!