Fire Emblem’s Queer Representation & How It Has Changed

With 16 video games reaching all the way in which again to 1990, the Fire Emblem collection is one with loads of historical past — and numerous characters to go along with it. From royals to widespread people to everybody in between, characters from the Fire Emblem franchise come from all walks of life and make for a really numerous assortment of personalities.

As the collection advanced from the NES to video games on the Nintendo Switch, the tales — and the characters inside them — developed over time as effectively. From ambiguous endings that followers have interpreted as queer romances to canonically queer characters and romantic choices, the street to illustration in Fire Emblem has been a protracted one, however in the end one which has introduced followers many beloved characters and opened the door for extra depictions of queerness within the collection.

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Many Fire Emblem Games Left It Ambiguous

Prior to canon same-sex romances in video games like Fire Emblem: Fates and Fire Emblem: Three Houses, any point out of characters being queer had been both misplaced in translation or left ambiguous for followers to theorize and interpret in numerous methods. Archival tasks just like the LGBTQ Video Game Archive doc Fire Emblem followers’ interpretations and discussions of characters’ gender identities and sexualities.

Paired character endings that includes two characters of the identical gender have lengthy been a subject of debate amongst Fire Emblem followers, with some interpretations being romantic in nature. Some paired endings which have been interpreted as romantic embrace Florina/Lyn and Raven/Lucius in 2003’s The Blazing Blade and Joshua/Gerik in 2004’s The Sacred Stones. Depending on participant decisions, different endings for these characters may contain spouses and kids, suggesting that they may very well be bisexual.

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The Tellius video games, 2005’s Path of Radiance and 2007’s Radiant Dawn, launched a number of characters with queer identities, although many references to such have been eliminated in English variations. Heather, launched in Radiant Dawn, flirts with different feminine characters and seemingly has no real interest in males. Kyza is a personality who makes use of female pronouns in Japanese variations of the sport, resulting in discussions about their gender. While this was not addressed within the English model of Radiant Dawn, Kyza would later be addressed with they/them pronouns in Fire Emblem: Heroes.

Ike’s sexuality within the Tellius video games has additionally been a subject of debate, garnering its personal pages on the LGBTQ Video Game Archive. Ike solely has two paired endings in Radiant Dawn, the place he journeys to “lands unknown.” If he reaches A-support with Soren or Ranulf, their endings change to notice that additionally they depart to go on a journey, with Soren’s ending naming Ike as “the only person he had ever trusted.” However, with the introduction of Priam in 2012’s Fire Emblem: Awakening as Ike’s descendant, it is tough to know for sure.

While Awakening made a number of references to characters being queer, the sport doesn’t supply any non-heterosexual romance choices inside its forged. However, one character reappears in a later Fire Emblem title as a possible romantic possibility for each female and male participant avatars.

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Fates Introduced Same-Gender Supports

The 2015 recreation Fire Emblem: Fates marked the primary time gamers may pursue a romantic relationship with a personality of the identical intercourse, albeit with extraordinarily restricted choices. It’s price noting that Rhajat, the one feminine romance possibility out there for feminine Corrin, shares many traits with Tharja from Awakening. Aside from the clear bodily resemblance, each have a powerful obsession for the participant character no matter gender, excel in darkish magic, and might come off as chilly. Meanwhile, Niles — the one male romance possibility out there for male Corrin and one of many few bisexual characters within the recreation — is characterised as sadistic and overly flirtatious on the floor.

However, like Awakening earlier than it, Fates featured second-generation youngster characters who had been solely out there by pairing characters collectively. Choosing to S-support Niles or Rhajat meant locking gamers out of receiving probably highly effective youngster models — gamers would lose out on the chance to get Kana, Corrin’s youngster, and romancing Niles particularly meant gamers would lose out on two youngster models as they might even be barred from getting Niles’ daughter, Nina.

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Following Fates was a remake of the 1992 recreation Fire Emblem Gaiden — 2015’s Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Echoes featured principally the identical forged of characters however with distinctive, up to date designs and extra improvement by means of character helps. Among the forged of Echoes, Leon stands out for his affection for one more male character, Valbar.

While in the end, Leon’s emotions had been unrequited, he is very open about his sexuality, to the purpose the place his help conversations with Kamui have him describing his “ideal man.” With a female look, a persona described as “narcissistic” in Heroes, and utilization of female pronouns within the Japanese model of the sport, Leon’s characterization might recall to mind stereotypes about homosexual males. However, he’s not used as comedian reduction in any respect throughout Echoes and is handled with the identical quantity of respect as different characters.

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Three Houses Gave Players More Options

Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the newest core recreation within the collection, introduces a number of characters with same-sex romance choices, together with House Leader and protagonist Edelgard. Players who select feminine Byleth can attain S-support with 5 characters: aside from Edelgard, gamers can S-support Dorothea, Mercedes, Rhea, and Sothis.

The choices for a homosexual relationship had been extraordinarily restricted at launch, nonetheless. Out of the three male S-supports out there for male Byleth at launch, solely Linhardt’s had been romantic, with Alois and Gilbert’s S-supports being platonic relationships. Later updates and the Ashen Wolves DLC would introduce Jeritza and Yuri as potential companions for male Byleth. Three Houses‘ deeper and extra nuanced character writing retains the characters from feeling like stereotypes.

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Most just lately, Fire Emblem: Heroes launched Limstella from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade to its roster. Voiced by non-binary voice actor Casey Mongillo, Limstella is referred to utilizing they/them pronouns. While Limstella is a particular case in that they’re a genderless, created being, the inclusion of extra non-binary characters in Heroes serves as illustration for individuals who use they/them pronouns and will open the door for characters with different gender identities in future titles.

Ultimately, the Fire Emblem collection’ depiction of queer characters is not excellent. Older video games stored the relationships between characters of the identical gender largely ambiguous or wrote out the queer identities, whereas different video games’ characterizations introduced stereotypical depictions of queer folks to thoughts. However, the franchise has grown in the way it represents its characters — and with deeper, extra advanced tales and alternatives for improvement come deeper and extra advanced characters as effectively.

The collection has modified in some ways since 1990 — together with the way it handles queer illustration. With leaks for the subsequent Fire Emblem recreation teasing a brand new forged of characters and probably bringing again previous favorites, followers can look ahead to seeing how queer illustration continues to alter sooner or later.

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