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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

An Unbehooving Truth

By RAWKHAWK2010 - Footloose and fancy-free, will Fire Emblem ever be?

liked the gameplay well enough, I enjoyed the waifu chit-chat simulator, and despite being nowhere on the same wavelength as the Radiance Saga, I found the story and characters palatable. Fire Emblem: Awakening was an alright game, alright enough to score 123:55 hours in my Nintendo 3DS Activity Log and you had best believe that's no easy task (Shin Megami Tensei IV got less than one). But with that being said, the game isn't without its issues, and one that all of us at KoopaTV take great issue with is all the creative liberty taken with basic Fire Emblem character anatomy. One example is Ike having his arm replaced with a sword (hence KoopaTV christening this beast "Sword-Arm Ike"), but the true crisis is every in-game character losing their feet only for them to be replaced with...well, nothing.


They literally became hooves (as also seen in official character artwork), and personally I can think of only two explanations. The first requires us to look back at the culture of our world (which some may say was better than today's) during the time of Awakening's development, which waaaaaasss...between the latter half of 2010 and the first half of 2013.

Now reflect back on those years. Reflect hard. Done? Good. Because wanna know else was having its heyday during that exact timeframe? My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was. And Explanation #1 suggests that Intelligent Systems was trying to ride the Pony Brony craze.

If you don't already know what a "brony" is, see above. And if you already saw above and still don't know, well...good, because I was planning to explain anyway. In short, Bronies are male fans of My Little Pony who band together to stave off their individual shortcomings much like a pack of wild dogs. They're animals who for years have been unsuccessful at human integration, because anyone embracing them would soon find themselves being overrun by the worst plagues society has to offer.

I've seen Bronies steal. I've seen Bronies throw furniture. I've been chased by Bronies more than once through university halls. All because this is the first "group" these people have found that they're actually allowed to be part of. And the mere thought of Intelligent Systems pandering to these cretins with their "hooves" horseplay is, well...frightening.

Auburn University Brony Club Alabama My Little Pony
My second most terrifying college experience after the "Streetpass Rapist."

"Pfft! Why would Intelligent Systems give a damn about this uniquely Western phenomenon?!" Yeah, it sounds unlikely, and at first I was incredulous too -- but you have to remember that this is the same company who also spent the past few years jacking off to the likes of Tom Sawyer, John Henry, and Abraham "No Middle Name" Lincoln via commercial flop Code Name S.T.E.A.M. And they even had #GamerGate war chief Adam Baldwin and extremely vocal (too vocal) #GamerGate critic Wil Wheaton voicing two of the most important dudes, clearly trying to get some of those juicy #GamerGate column inches for themselves. (The passion! The suspsense! ...If only it didn't come too late.)

But even if those unsightly hooves weren't crafted in hopes of Bronies clopping to them, that's why there's Explanation #2, which is that Intelligent Systems was simply trying to avoid sexual imagery altogether. Or perhaps were forced to. Because feet (female ones, anyway) are indeed a sexually-distracting body part, and in the same way Miyamoto hacked away at Paper Mario: Sticker Star's characters so that they wouldn't distract players from his toxic gameplay-first philosophies, perhaps he "suggested" Intelligent Systems do the same with Fire Emblem. But since they obviously couldn't axe the characters entirely, they found a loophole in the Miyamoto Mandate and just axed part of them...which Miyamoto turned out to be totally okay with. Because aside from locomotion, this body part provided no real gameplay-driven function, just a new-and-rising strain of hormone-driven fan-art which was enough of a gameplay-last philosophy to earn Miyamoto's scorn forever.

Shigeru Miyamoto Grim Reaper death Barbie Devil Girl feet
And thus it was settled, that Fire Emblem: Awakening would take a safe and puritanical approach.

But with all that said, last week's April 1st Nintendo Direct (see our live reactions here!) indicated that the Fire Emblem franchise has largely dropped this line of thinking. Beginning with Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem at the Chechnyan Olympic Games, where its trailer couldn't do anything but go wild with the sexual imagery.

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem crossover foot feet fetish RawkHawk2010
Feet! For half a second! And for absolutely no reason!

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem crossover earbud insertion fetish, uh, this: the lengthy earbud-insertion sequence that all the fans wanted.

And I mean "couldn't do anything but" literally, because we still don't know what the game even is. Just that it's still named Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, has no relation to Snowboard Kids, and stars a kawaii desu ne waifu alongside a generic Japanese highschool boy protagonist who I already almost forgot existed.

Then later in the Direct, we got our second glimpse at Fire Emblem If...and before we go any further let's talk about just how many bad decisions we can spot! You have grimdark-looking characters inhabiting a grimdark-looking world (this actually looks more like a "Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem" than the actual "Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem"), your customizable character is the main protagonist for real this time (guaranteeing the face of the game will be more lifeless and boring than even Chrom), and you have a forking storyline where the unpicked half of the story is forever restricted to you unless you purchase it as paid DLC. (I mean, I'd rather be extorted for story than have no story at all...but still!)

And oh, what's this? The characters are at last DEHOOVED?! Yeah, that's true -- but then you look at the artwork for the female protagonist and realize that SHE LITERALLY HAS TWO LEFT FEET.

Fire Emblem If female protagonist has two left feet
Either the main heroine has a deformity specific to her, or the artist has actively avoided
drawing feet all this time because he doesn't even know how they fucking work!

And so after two years spent trying to perfect their craft, we come to realize that, once again, Intelligent Systems has got off on the wrong foot. And that's the Unbehooving Truth.


  1. Such harsh criticism towards a game that's not even out yet. Let them release the game, THEN get mad at them. It might clean up its act before it comes out.

    1. Most of the criticism here is towards Awakening, which IS out.


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