Fire Emblem Fates will include the option of same-sex marriage for the first time in the series, Nintendo have confirmed.
In a statement provided to Polygon, Nintendo have stated that the upcoming 3DS title will allow player created characters to form close bonds and marry party members of the same sex. The most recent game in the series, Fire Emblem Awakening, offered the chance of marriage between characters of the opposite sex by forming a relationship on the battlefield and through conversation that brought them closer together. Nintendo's statement confirmed the same system will appear in Fates.
The game will be released in three versions in the US, as they do in Japan. Conquest and Birthright are the two titles, with a third option available as DLC at a later date. While the comments seem to suggest these will be three different stories, a release strategy for New Zealand and the rest of the world is due to be announced at a later date.
Nintendo go on to say that the Conquest edition of the game will feature a male character who can marry either male or female player characters, while the Birthright edition features a female character who is equally open to marry a partner of either sex. They go on to state that both of these characters will feature in the third version of the game.
As for the reasoning behind this decision, Nintendo stated the following:
We believe that our gameplay experiences should reflect the diversity of the communities in which we operate and, at the same time, we will always design the game specifications of each title by considering a variety of factors, such as the game's scenario and the nature of the game play. In the end of course, the game should be fun to play. We feel that Fire Emblem Fates is indeed enjoyable to play and we hope fans like the game.
This marks a change in trajectory for the company, who were last year criticised for not including the option for same-sex relationships in Tomodachi Life. They would later apologise for this, with a pledge that future games would include a more inclusive environment for all to enjoy.
Fire Emblem Fates is due for release on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. While the specifics of this release and its multiple versions have not been clarified for New Zealand, thus far Japan and the US are due to receive three versions of the game.