Okay, before we get started, Fire Emblem Fates is an amazing game. I love the game play, the overall concept is genius, and it’s the most polished entry in the series. The core game has been the same for longer than I’ve been alive, but it has changed enough that Fire Emblem Fates is one of the smoothest, most interesting RPGs I have ever played.
With that said: F*ck Nintendo of America and their awful localization team. I’m not talking aboutpetting minigames, or how idiots turned the Soleil support conversations into “Gay conversion” propaganda so they could bitch about something. In fact there’s enough trash here that I don’t need them to convince you this localization is subpar at best.
The voice acting is off.
After avoiding spoilers on Fire Emblem Fates like the plague, I was a bit let down by the English only voice acting. I’m the kind of person that normally doesn’t mind English voice acting, but this is bad. Within 10 minutes of starting the game, I told the Mrs. these voices were unusually obnoxious, to which she agreed.
I wasn’t aware of the real reason for the terrible English voice acting until I stumbled upon this article by Niche Gamer. Long story short: Nintendo closes off the voice actors, gives them no background information on the character or story, then tells them to do the voice. I can only imagine they live up to their Ed Wood-like standards and only do one take as well.
Shit like this makes me glad Link is a mute.
They changed characters and dialogue just because.
The localization team also decided to take excessive liberties with their interpretations of characters, possibly exacerbating the already poor position they put their voice actors in. For example, Elfie, a gentle giant typeof woman, turned into Effie, a muscle-headed jock that loves her biceps. I guess Nintendo of America just thought the stellar characters of the Fire Emblem universe didn’t have enough personality on their own, so they had to make shit up to fill in their dialogue, because they made up a lot of dialogue that’s just cringe-worthy in how bad it is.
Kana used to be happy to see his/her father and proclaimed they would be together forever. Now that line has been changed to dragon-speak for I love you. Hisame was a serious guy that just happened to liked pickles, but now he’s pickle obsessed meme fodder. If those things don’t do it for you, how about adding dopey saying to characters to highlight just how silly and inept they are? I guess you could say they super-double-dupity screwed-ity the pooch-ity on Sophie’s introduction.
They got lazy.
An entire conversation is literally gone. In a move of sheer genius, Nintendo of America decided to do their localization the American way: Half-assed. When Saizo and Belka, a pair of assassins originating in alternate countries, finally have a support conversation, they have pretty intense exchange that highlights each as a master of murder. It’s dark, and freaking awesome. Unless you’re playing the American version, where their conversation has been replaced by a series of ellipsis and nothing else.
Here’s a glimpse at Nintendo of America’s best piece of localization wizardry beside a fan made patch of the Japanese version.:
Now before you say that the conversation had to be cut due to talk of murder or something to “save the T rating” keep in mind these facts:
- MGS: Peace Walker is a rated T game. In it Snake takes a job from an alleged 16-year-old Costa Rican girl who says she was raped by U.S. Soldiers, murders tons of Americans with weapons and his bare hands, gets tortured for an extended period of time, and forces you to euthanize a horse.
- Characters in Fire Emblem Fates still talk about killing and death a fair bit outside of this conversation.
- The rest of Saizo and Belka’s conversations after this one play out as if this conversation had happened in the same manner as the Japanese version.
Its almost as if they just gave up on even trying, which isn’t hard to believe after looking at the rest of this body of work. Now, you might say that it’s just an error and was a placeholder for for the translated version. Fair enough, but shouldn’t QA have caught an error this big and stupid? “They’re not lazy, they’re just incompetent” doesn’t make this problem any better.
It’s 2016, and Nintendo’s localization of Fire Emblem Fates is below subpar by industry standards. Unpaid fans have done a better job of translating the Japanese version than Nintendo of America has done with their localization. Unfortunately, to take advantage of that, I would have to own a Japanese 3DS because Nintendo still practices region locking. It’s embarrassing, and a black eye for the company.
Those responsible for this level of schlock need to be let go, and Nintendo of America needs to find people with actual talent for the job, especially if they’re ever going to join the rest of the gaming world and adopt proper voice acting for their large projects before they completely fall into obscurity.