The newer Fire Emblem games have placed an emphasis on romance and dating, though the series has been slow to make same-sex romance a viable option. Fire Emblem: Three Houses does allow you to experience same-sex romance — and it is explicitly romantic, and accessible for both male and female main characters. However, the female main character has a lot more options if you’re looking to get married. Five more, in fact.
Many Fire Emblem games have “support conversations,” which are skits that portray two characters getting close to each other. These conversations usually come with accompanying ranks, because mechanically, as two characters get a higher rank in support, they fight better while standing near each other on the battlefield. In Three Houses, most conversations end at A rank, but a few go up to S rank, which in Fire Emblem usually denotes a romantic conversation.
Fire Emblem: Awakening allowed you to marry characters off, and although one character was attracted to the player character regardless of gender, you couldn’t actually date her as a woman. Fire Emblem: Fates has a same-sex romance in each of the two games — Birthright and Conquest — but your options were limited to being either a gay man in one game or a lesbian in another. Three Houses continues the slow trend toward a more robust selection of same-sex romance options.
If you’re playing as a male character and are looking to fall in unambiguous love, you have one option: Linhardt of the Black Eagles. There are two other same-sex S-rank support conversations for a male main character, but each of these characters is already married.
These conversations are framed as platonic. Alois calls you his sibling in his S-rank conversation, and Gilbert pledges himself to you as a knight.
You could glean romance from that if you squint, but it’s nothing compared to Linhardt’s S-rank conversation, where he and the main character exchange rings. “Here is proof of my desire,” Linhardt says. “Will you accept it?” In response, the main character says, “Of course. I love you, Linhardt.”
If you’re playing as a woman, all the same-sex S rank conversations feature the same exchange of rings, and most of them feature the word love. Mercedes and Dorothea both exclaim to the main character that they love her.
While Edelgard is more coy, the ring you give her is one that the main character’s father had given to the main character’s mother. In another route, you can give this ring to the Archbishop, Rhea, who also tells the female main character she loves her, or Sothis, who says the same.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo regarding the same-sex romance options in Fire Emblem: Three Houses but did not recieve a response in time for publication.
I reached A rank with Dorothea while playing as a main character, and at that stage, she refers to the banter between the two as “flirting.” I found Dorothea’s support conversations sweet and sincere. That the game even offered me the chance to fall for so many women in a way that didn’t feel fetishised or played for a joke really touched me. I just wish the same were true of the options for gay men.