Cries of censorship have grown louder with the recent release of Fire Emblem Fates. A few changes have rubbed gamers the wrong way, as gameplay elements and a story beats were removed to match American sensibilities.
After years of fighting to recognize games as art, it’s easy to see why this could be viewed as censorship. The original vision has, by appearances, been compromised for the sake of cleaning up a narrative and not offending the sensibilities of some. There are good arguments to be made against this practice, to be sure. However, the moves have been decried with a level of vitriol we don’t often see. Amidst record sales for the series, social media has been flooded with calls to boycott the games and stop these seemingly corrupt practices.
The story goes a bit deeper than these arguments allot for. Despite fan backlash, these changes are comparatively minor. We have seen larger changes implemented in the name of localization before, and these decisions can come from any number of sources. Not only does the background to these decisions matter, but the unique nature of the game industry can show us why these changes are not necessarily the dastardly “SJW machinations” they may seem. Even if they are misguided decisions, perhaps a frenzy is not the way to argue them.