Fire Emblem's new DLC continues using the same design tropes for its new queer male character, and this needs to change *Spoilers*

Hours Left

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,627
Hello, it's me again with another disappointing, yet necessary topic about how Nintendo continues to fall short when it comes to providing varied and inclusive queer male characters in the Fire Emblem series. (Notably it's only major IP to prominently feature queer characters at all, to date.)

So a new DLC wave has been announced, called Cindered Shadows, which features (at least) four new playable characters; Yuri, Balthus, Hapi, and Constance. These are the two new male characters:


Yuri


Balthus

Now on first glance, if no previous information was available, I would have hoped that both these men would be available as male same sex romantic supports for the MC, considering we are still at a desparity with the amount of female romantic s/s supports. (2 vs. 5) But we already knew this wasn't the case due to previous datamining of supports that was present in previous DLC updates. Going by that info, it seems that only Yuri is available as a male same sex romantic support. (The datamining may be incorrect, but considering what we've seen so far, it seems inline with what Nintendo has done previously, more on that in a bit.)

Now stand alone, Yuri looks great. He has a cool design, and from what little we've seen of his personality, he seems to have a nice personality. He even looks to be the "leader" of this group, which may or may not be an actual new house? We don't know. The issue lies in the fact that he continues a trend of queer male characters in Fire Emblem only adhering to a particular set of design tropes, the feminine/pretty boy character.

Now to state something incredibly important. There is absolutely nothing wrong with feminine male characters, be they gay, straight, bi, asexual, or otherwise. They don't represent weakness, perverseness, or a "failure of masculinity", whatever that shit is. Feminine men are amazing, and I'm happy to see more being spotlighted in games in positive and empowering roles. (Shoutout to Sylvando in Dragon Quest XI.)

What queer gamers such as myself take issue with is that the canon queer men in Fire Emblem all seem to fall into a very particular pattern of designs, and that it's highly likely that queer men are not at the forefront when considering the creation of these characters, yet rather they play into the tropes of queer content not made with they people they portray in mind.

Here are the other canon queer male characters in Fire Emblem:


Niles (Fire Emblem Fates)


Leon (Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia)


Linhardt (Fire Emblem Three Houses)


Jeritza (Fire Emblem Three Houses)

So as you can see, now including Yuri, they definitely have a type when it comes what designs their queer characters have. Their personalities are more diverse, thankfully, but some still lean into some stereotypical tropes. (And there's the whole thing about being restricted from additional content if your pursue Niles in Fates with a male MC, but I digress.)

Why bring this all up? I don't want the men I listed above to be replaced, rather that a wider variety of queer men to be included alongside them. There is absolutely no reason why Balthus (or Claude, or Raphael, or Dedue, or Dimitri, etc.) couldn't be a queer option also, or that Dudue and Dimitri shouldn't be able to S rank, among other non-MC male/male pairings, or that Alois & Gilbert could of been romantic supports, instead of the bizarre, and frankly insulting, platonic supports they were given with male Byleth. Queer men are as varied as all other people in this world, and it's time that this is reflected in games. We aren't your window dressing, we're not your queer content for straight eyes, and we're not your token inclusion. We just want to be able to have the same frivolous fun that others get to, and it's not asking to much to be considered in this same way.

Also, to everyone thinking/saying/typing "just wait for the DLC to come out before complaining", we say how well that worked out last time with the initial release, so again I say, it's time to speak up now. It's most likely too late to make a change to the DLC for when it launches, but it's not too late for them to make the changes to the game in the hopefully not to distant future. Comments like "maybe next time/focus on future games" are useless, because this is always the case. Change needs to happen now.

Anyway, if you want to help out, please consider politely contacting the relevant people/publications/hive minds about your thoughts on this topic, and lets work together to make Fire Emblem as gay as it can be. (Hello bigoted lurkers! đź’‹ )

List of Notable Contacts:
Nintendo Japan
Nintendo of America
Intelligence Systems
Doug Bowser
Bill Trinen

Okay thanks~

P.S. If you're upset about other issues facing queer gamers, such as how female same sex relationships are generally geared towards straight men, how queer characters are almost all confined to being "player sexual", how trans and non-binary characters are rather mocked, abused or are totally absent from gaming, I strongly encourage you to create topics and conversations about any and all these important issues! They all deserve attention.
 

Avalon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,727
Isn't Ike a well known gay male in Fire Emblem that completely bucks this trend?
 

VegiHam

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,148
Yeah, it's really cool that Fire Emblem has gay male options; but it'd be nice if there was a little more variety...
 

Avalon

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,727
Except it's not canon, only subtext. (Which they even try to diminish in Awakening with Priam.)
Do you mean they try to diminish it because he has a biological child that could only have come from sex with a woman, or does it go further than that? I completed awaking, but I honestly don't remember Priam at all.
 

Yata

User requested ban
Banned
Feb 1, 2019
784
Spain
I also wish there were more diverse character types available for the male character, but...what can I say, these are all small steps, but I am used to far worse in any other given franchise, so I am mostly fine with it, plus I do love Leon, not so much the other options, though. Doesn't help Three Houses is the least interesting game in the series for me and I find the dating sim aspect kind of creepy.

I still find the gay bait supports with Alois and Gilbert to be the most egregious aspect out of this whole thing, and it kinda annoys me how it's eclipsed by people wanting to fuck Claude or the bara guys.
 
Last edited:

Lichtsang

Member
Jan 2, 2018
5,055
Linhardt is feminine? He isn't some muscle mountain, but I never thought he is especially feminine. (Not to suggest that there is something wrong with that!)
 

JDSN

Avenger
Oct 27, 2017
2,518
I never considered Linhardt femenine, Felix the same and seems queer-coded.
 

Static

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,304
Linhardt is feminine? He isn't some muscle mountain, but I never thought he is especially feminine. (Not to suggest that there is something wrong with that!)
He's pretty ambiguous. With those delicate features and that hair do, you could you could transpose that head onto a female body and it'd look like a woman. And the body he has isn't the least bit bara.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
9,244
Niles looks pretty fucking badass imo.
Never seen him before but think his design is awesome.



 
OP
OP
Hours Left

Hours Left

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,627
Do you mean they try to diminish it because he has a biological child that could only have come from sex with a woman, or does it go further than that? I completed awaking, but I honestly don't remember Priam at all.
Just that Priam is presumably a descendant of Ike, and all that entails. I personally think Ike is gay, but until this is confirmed directly by the developers, it's just more queer baiting, with the aforementioned "outs" to explain it away if necessary.

What about Raven? He's pretty muscular and I feel his relationship with Lucius goes a bit beyond subtext.
Again, never directly confirmed, despite the bluntness of it.

I also wish there were more diverse character types available for the male character, but what can I say, these are all small steps, but I am used to far worse in any other given franchise, so I am mostly fine with it, plus I love Leon. Not so much the other options, though. Doesn't help Three Houses is the least interesting game in the series for me and I find the dating sim aspect kind of creepy from my perspective.

I still find the gay bait supports with Alois and Gilbert to be the most egregious aspect out of this whole thing, and it kinda annoys me how it's eclipsed by people wanting to fuck Claude or the bara guys.
The Alois and Gilbert swerves are really terrible.

Linhardt is feminine? He isn't some muscle mountain, but I never thought he is especially feminine. (Not to suggest that there is something wrong with that!)
His design is feminine, which is what the topic is about.
 

boy power

Member
Jul 29, 2019
194
What I'm personally trying to figure out is who exactly is the audience for most of these male characters in Three Houses that are romanceable by Male Byleth. Sometimes it feels like they're just tacking on a m/m relationship on a character that MIGHT be alluring to fujoshi, but then again Linhardt and Jeritza aren't exactly popular among fujoshi, while the more popular male characters are actively shipped together, or with male Byleth.

I don't think the devs really know what to do with m/m romances in terms of them reaching the '' proper '' audience, which would include mlm, fujoshi, heck even straight guys. Now it's just a whole bunch of question marks for me in terms of '' who is this content supposed to please and reach? ''

This is a hard topic because while I can definitely see your point and agree with it, I have to begrudgingly give an A- for effort to the developers, in the end this is the gayest Fire Emblem to date, and you have to take into consideration where Japan's LGBT discussion, awareness and representation is at right now. I can only hope the next installation will be more diverse, even going as far as including actual GAY characters.

I'm still going to give Yuri a chance but I don't know, I doubt he will hit the jackpot in terms of m/m relationships in JRPGs.
 

Tochtli79

Member
Jun 27, 2019
953
Mexico City
Where's Ike in the OP? Dude is gayer than rainbow flags.

But honestly, it is a pretty disappointing trend with new FE and makes me worry about how they would treat Ike if Tellius is ever remade. As you mentioned, Priam already seemed like an attempt to retcon his sexual orientation, and apparently in new FE you can only be gay if you're a delicate OR sadistic slender young man.

IS don't seem to get the message though. It feels like these gay characters are added more for the yaoi fans than actual gay players.

Edit: it's worth bringing up again how Three Houses especially teases a bunch of gay pairings like Sylvain/Felix, Caspar/Linhardt, and Dimitri/Dedue that fall just short of being official romantic pairings.
 

Lichtsang

Member
Jan 2, 2018
5,055
His design is feminine, which is what the topic is about.
He's pretty ambiguous. With those delicate features and that hair do, you could you could transpose that head onto a female body and it'd look like a woman. And the body he has isn't the least bit bara.
I disagree, and that hairstyle isn't very feminine in my opinion. For me it reminds me of a scholar in the middleages or something similar. And I think that's what they are going form
 

Portalbox

Member
Oct 25, 2017
127
I don’t think Jeritza is feminine, at all. And even then, three houses has 3 same sex candidates for males, which is a HUGE upgrade since the 2 other games that included male same sex relationships only had 1 possible choice.
 
OP
OP
Hours Left

Hours Left

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,627

KojiKnight

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,999
I don’t think Jeritza is feminine, at all. And even then, three houses has 3 same sex candidates for males, which is a HUGE upgrade since the 2 other games that included male same sex relationships only had 1 possible choice.
No reason not to want or ask for more. If IS can make every single female character be marryable to male Byleth and vice versa, certainly they can manage more than 2-3 same sex relationships.
 

Canucked

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,789
Canada
They just need to make everyone available. If you choose not to romance that character then they can date whomever the game decides but as a fantasy game with made up characters they need to let you date whomever.
 

Pirate Bae

Sexy Chess Afficionado
Administrator
Oct 25, 2017
4,233
??
They just need to make everyone available. If you choose not to romance that character then they can date whomever the game decides but as a fantasy game with made up characters they need to let you date whomever.
Yeah. I don’t understand for the life of me why they put some romance options behind a “MC gender wall”.
 
OP
OP
Hours Left

Hours Left

Member
Oct 26, 2017
9,627
certainly not super masculine, but i wouldn't call him feminine looking either
To me, Jeritza is the stereotypical pretty boy "villain" archetype, with the mask, and the long hair. I'm not saying that all the queer male designs are interchangeable, just that they follow a design trend.
 

rhandino

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,575
Priam being the son of Ike is very sketchy. One of the biggest things against that is that he doesn't have Aether (Exclusive to Lords... and Ike) but Sol and Luna that has the same effects but units can be trained to get it.

Unless I am remembering.
 

Tekku

Member
Jan 10, 2018
2,976
UmeĂĄ, Sweden
I’ve only played Three Houses in the series and I had no idea what gender or sexual preference the characters actually had. Being a japanese game I felt that most male characters were on the feminine side which is something I like with japanese games.

Looking at the pictures in the OT I can see the tropes though.
 

Disclaimer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,163
Don't you know, Hours Left? All queer men are either effeminate or androgynous (Linhardt, Yuri, Leon) or psychopaths (Niles, Jeritza)!

Masculine men cannot be explicitly confirmed to be queer because it threatens more fragile-minded hetero dudes' conception of masculinity.

We all appreciate the Fire Emblem series' willingness to give representation at all, but it needs substantial improvement, because these relentless stereotypings are frustrating.

I've said it before, but the nuances of real world sexuality—as well as its history, the discrimination it's faced—are never touched upon in Fire Emblem, and most queer characters (all of them in Three Houses) are made bisexual/playersexual so as not to infringe on straight players' options, so the best solution for the most inclusivity would be to simply make all/most characters bisexual/playersexual.

It's not ideal, but with the direction Fire Emblem has been going, I would prefer queer people be free to engage in the idealized power fantasy that their straight counterparts do.

(Of course, if Fire Emblem wants to drop the self-insert avatar and more rigidly define its characters again, while staying broadly inclusive of various types of people's desires, that would be fine too.)
 

Tochtli79

Member
Jun 27, 2019
953
Mexico City
The thing with Niles and Jeritza is that, while they might not fall into the "pretty feminine boy" stereotype, they do fall into the "disturbed but handsome creep" one which is definitely also problematic. I mean, Niles is basically treated as a sexual deviant and Jeritza's whole thing with Byleth is about how much he lusts to kill/bang him.
 

neonneongod

Member
Feb 21, 2019
249
Just that Priam is presumably a descendant of Ike, and all that entails. I personally think Ike is gay, but until this is confirmed directly by the developers, it's just more queer baiting, with the aforementioned "outs" to explain it away if necessary.
Always read ike as gay myself (And i'm a cishet dude and all that), and a throwaway character outside the mainline series in an exploitative gacha game seemingly retconning that screams "we didn't read the source material"
 

DrForester

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,852
As someone not familiar with these characters and just looking at the photos, "feminine" is not what came to mind when I saw Niles and Jeritza.

On first look, Niles looks like some cocksure thief. Jeritza reminds me of the cold, smart types you see in some anime (first one that came to mind was Kyoya from Ouran host club, but I dont know if there's a name for a character like that).

Again, that's from a design perspective, and even then, none of them look as masculine as Balthus, so maybe they're avoiding making the more masculine characters queer. Which is still something worth discussing.
 

Morlas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
38,867
To me, Jeritza is the stereotypical pretty boy "villain" archetype, with the mask, and the long hair. I'm not saying that all the queer male designs are interchangeable, just that they follow a design trend.
Oh I agree with you they do seem to have a trend with male same sex pairings, I just see Jeritza as more stereotypically handsome.

Really they should make everyone romancable by both Byleths though.
 

Shizuka

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,507
Diversity only if you can sell it to the women who drool for these kind of characters.
 
Oct 25, 2017
2,724
Edelgard being bisexual while Claude and Dimitri are straight, when all 3 of them demonstrate a sort of infatuation with Byleth no matter what gender Byleth is, remains one of the most frustrating aspects of the game.

Edelgard doesn’t even have any differences between the two romances. It plays out the same way with the same dialogue. So it’s not a matter of more work needing to be put into it. It was a deliberate decision to only make the female lord a bisexual and it just kind of irks me.
 

Orion

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
2,502
I honestly did think Yuri was a girl at first, just like with Linhardt. And with Balthus standing right there in all his shirtless masculinity it does feel a bit cruel. I am glad they're at least still including us, but yeah, hopefully the options will be more diverse in the future.