Nintendo recently released a massive update to their recent release Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and while the update includes numerous improvements to the game, astute fans noticed that the update also featured a post-release alteration of dialogue.
The 1.02 update to Fire Emblem: Three Houses brought a slew of changes to the latest entry in the Fire Emblem franchise, such as a new ‘Maddening’ difficulty level, additional content available through the game’s Expansion Pass, and the replacement of Byleth’s (the default name for the protagonist) male voice following the controversy surrounding previous voice actor Chris Nisois. (Related: Nintendo Replaces Fire Emblem: Three Houses Voice Actor Chris Niosi Following Allegations of Abuse)
Included among the patch notes for the 1.02 update was an entry advising players that “Some text has been revised.” This revised text was discovered by players to be a particularly vulnerable exchange between Byleth, regardless of gender, and Black Eagles member Bernadetta. (Related: Fire Emblem: Three Houses Season Pass Expansion Details Announced)
Bernadetta is a shy and socially anxious student whose fearful behaviors, such as freezing up when talking to others or believing herself to be a major burden to those around her, are eventually revealed to be a result of severe abuse suffered at the hands of her father. Upon reaching Support Level B with Bernadetta, she will open up and speak to the player about the abuse and its lasting effect on her life. In the original dialogue, Bernadetta explained how her father would train her to be a “good, submissive wife”:
Oh, that. Well, I guess I can tell you, Professor. My father’s obsessed with money. He’s only ever seen me as bait for a rich husband. To train me to be a good, submissive wife, he’d do things like tie me to a chair and leave me there all day, challenging me to stay quiet. I tried hard to do as he asked. Honestly, I did. But before I knew it, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my room anymore.
In the “revised” dialogue, Bernadetta acknowledges being tied to a chair by her father, but no longer makes any mention of being left there “all day” or being challenged to “stay quiet”:
Oh, that. Well, I guess I can tell you, Professor. My father’s obsessed with money. He’s only ever seen me as bait for a rich husband. To train me to be a good wife, he’d do things like tie me to a chair. I tried hard to do as he asked. Honestly, I did. But before I knew it, I just couldn’t bring myself to leave my room anymore.
According to Kantopia, a Fire Emblem fan and translation enthusiast who claims to hold “a B.A. in Japanese Studies and lived in Japan for several years,” the dialogue “appears to be altered from how it originally appeared after an update.” According to Kantopia, the original Japanese text and literal translation reads:
“He would leave me tied to a chair to/and discipline/train me around the clock, all in order to make me a good partner for marriage.”
However, despite this more accurate depiction, many social media users disagree with the change, believing it undercuts the severity of Bernadetta’s trauma:
A recent FE3H update removed a signifcant portion of Bernadetta’s support dialogue with Byleth in on text prompt and I’m….not a fan of it because it’s kind of attempting to hide the abuse which is something that needs to be addressed more in stories of parental abuse.
— kingddd (@kingddd17) September 12, 2019
This isn’t actually an issue of censorship; the line was changed to be more accurate to the original Japanese dialogue. Still, the vagueness of the new line downplays the severity of the abuse she suffered, and in my opinion, is objectively worse.
— Bernadetta is best girl (@daltonjenkins01) September 13, 2019
The idea is that the original text did a better job at conveying how terrible Bernadetta’s father is.
The new text may be closer to the Japanese text, but it’s a worse piece of dialogue.
— LegatoSkyheart (@LegatoSkyheart) September 13, 2019
As of writing, Nintendo has not publicly commented on the reason for this alteration.