Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes says bisexual rights

Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes might have said goodbye to its chess-like combat style from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but that’s not the only thing that’s been revamped. Indeed, this time around at least, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes have not shied away from including more and more bisexual moments. That is certainly the case for the Black Eagles character, Dorothea – one of the few bi characters included in the previous game.

For those of you who just want to know all about the good, queer stuff, we have to warn you: there may be potential spoilers ahead that you might not want to know more about. If that bothers you, please don’t continue reading. Anyway.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses earned itself a reputation of being downright queerbaity with some of its characters – looking at you Claude von Riegan and your flirtatious wink and sass – but not allowing queer relationships to reach fruition between them and the main character. However, that didn’t stop some characters from getting their happy, queer endings with others. Despite not being romanceable by a Byleth of the same-sex, characters like Petra, Hubert, Ferdinand, Caspar, Bernadetta, Catherine, Shamir, Dedue, Dimitri, Sylvain, Annette, and Felix all have same-sex paired endings, with a handful of them being explicit.

While characters Edelgard, Dorothea, Lindhardt, Mercedes, Rhea, and weirdly enough, Sothis, have always been openly bi, in Fire Emblem: Three Hopes the argument of ambiguous queerness has been very much thrown out of the window for several characters this time around.

Dorothea in particular, a character that already was pretty explicit and had a handful of same-sex paired endings with others, has gotten the chance to breathe in this game with her interactions with both male and female characters. One particular example is with main character Shez, who can openly flirt with the songstress during Expeditions, a bonding activity which has players take a romantic ride with the character of their choice out into the wilderness. It’s very Jane Austen, folks.

Three Hopes bisexual
We do love a bi queen

During an Expedition with Dorothea, you can enquire about her vision for the future. Players will remember in Three Houses that Dorothea’s reasons for entering the Garreg Mach Academy in the first place was to find a suitable noble that’ll set her up for life, and that includes women too, though NPCs in-game who have said to have been on a date or romantically involved with Dorothea are all men. For Three Hopes though, Dorothea’s goals are similar, but with one big difference: she openly admits that she’d love either a husband, or a wife.

“Well, I’d love a steady income, a roguishly handsome husband – or a beautiful wife – a warm household…” Dorothea says. Of course, this isn’t a surprise for players who are fond of the character, but it’s the very first time that Fire Emblem has allowed a character to be non-ambigious about their bisexuality. I think that’s worth celebrating from a series that has divided the LGBTQ+ community since the very start.

Then there’s the introduction of Monica in the Scarlet Blaze (aka Black Eagles route). Unlike in the previous game, this Monica isn’t being worn as a skinsuit for an evil being called Kronya, but is in fact a living, breathing friend of Edelgard’s who becomes her devoted servant and attendant once she’s rescued. In fact, she’s down to do absolutely anything for Edelgard to the point that her devotion quickly becomes her only personality trait. While it’s meant to come across as endearing to the point of hilarity, it also makes Monica one of the most openly gay characters in this game. Considering that there’s also Edelgard and Lindhardt who are explicit with their queerness, that’s a tasty number of Black Eagle members who are a little bit fruity.

However, it isn’t just the Black Eagles characters that have had expressed their bisexuality, but the Blue Lions too. Strangely enough, the bisexual vibes are off the charts with none other than Azure Gleam’s Sylvain Gautier.

Three Hopes bisexual
SYLVAIN? Who saw this one coming?

Sylvain is known as a womanizer, and often can be found with a woman on his arm. It’s not that much different in Three Hopes, however this time Sylvain expresses interest in other men too, particularly Yuri LeClerc, the House Leader from Ashen Wolves. Granted, Sylvain does mistake Yuri for a girl at first, but he doesn’t turn Yuri down at all when the other man hits on him. In fact, he says he is kind of into it. Three Hopes really out here saying bisexual rights, huh?

There are numerous other examples of characters explicitly – as well as implicitly – showing their affection towards other same-sex characters. So much so that a Twitter account has been created in order to monitor it all.

Still, much of these interactions are limited in comparison to Three Houses – simply because there’s no paired endings for either players as Shez, or the other characters. While you could get romantic endings with Dorothea and Petra, Edelgard and Bernadetta, etc in the original games, this time there’s more of a focus on combat and building up your war camp than building relationships with others. Considering how well-loved the relationship mechanic was in Three Houses, we’re not so sure this was a good thing to remove, even for a Warriors title.

The lack of paired endings is also a blow. While it’s nice to see that fan-favourites are being revealed to be bisexual or gay, having certain pairings end up together (as friends or more) was one of the most rewarding parts of finishing Three Houses and, as far as we’re concerned, needs to be brought back.

Regardless, these criticisms do not change the fact that Three Hopes is certainly a title that doesn’t shy away from not just including bisexual characters, but doing so in a way that is hard to deny them being anything but. This is a welcome change – it’s just a shame that our protagonist, main character Shez, can’t get involved in the action too.

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