The confusion around the self-censored Fire Emblem petting/touching mini-game is finally ending. We now must clarify that, while the Western version of Fire Emblem Fates will not let you rub allied characters in exchange for gratitude, it will indeed let you tap your spouse in order to wake them up. We bring you this update via series publisher Nintendo themselves, who have confirmed to us the following:
"In certain circumstances, S-Level characters are able to wake up their spouses by blowing into the microphone or by tapping the screen to touch their hair, face or shoulder. These randomly triggered events are unrelated to the mini-game in the Japanese version."
We got that statement on Friday while trying to deduce what truly has or hasn't been removed from the Western version of Fire Emblem Fates, which was launched in Japan a year ago.
The Japanese version of the game let players use the 3DS' touchscreen to rub any old non-spousal character's face and make them coo things. Weeks ago, we heard that the rubbing and petting had been cut from the Western version, and so we had asked Nintendo about it.
Our reporter had enquired: "I was told that a feature in which you can use the touch screen to directly touch/'pet' your characters is also out of the localised version. Is that the case?"
Nintendo's statement then was: "Yes, that is the case. You might have heard somewhat misinterpreted or exaggerated information about the Japanese original game, but even in the Japanese original version, we have not included any features which are considered inappropriate in Japan."
That led us to writing things like "petting is 100 per cent out", a percentage which we arguably over-calculated. We now realise that it could certainly be argued that petting is still in the game, if one counts tapping on a spouse's face to wake them up as "petting". (Do you?)
In recent days we've had passionate, endless debates over the distinctions between rubbing a video game character and tapping them, with the allowance that it's probably different if you're virtually married to them. We have pet our cats, and pondered what that means to the cats. We have woken up our spouses by tapping them on their faces, and have subsequently regretted not just leaving them alone.
Thankfully, it's all now been sorted out. Doubtless this clarification will put this controversy to rest.
You can see the Japan-only rubbing gameplay in this video by YouTuber Spikey. You can compare that to the similar but not identical tap-to-wake-spouse-up gameplay at 9:20 or so of this video by GamExplain. The top image from this post is from that clip.