The Fire Emblem Heroes mobile game is willing to go where the mainline series won’t. Yesterday, the official Twitter account announced the new summer alternatives—that is, alternative designs—for the main lords of Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Players are especially going wild over Dimitri, whose lovingly painted abs leave very little to the imagination.
This is expected. Whenever summer rolls around, almost every major gacha game will take the opportunity to release summer “alts” for its most popular characters. Sex appeal is an inextricable part of how gacha games make money, and summer gives the perfect excuse to stick the most popular characters in revealing swimsuits. Fire Emblem Heroes is no exception. In previous years, the summer banners (summoning events) have also featured swimsuit versions of characters from Fates, Awakening, Blazing Sword, Sacred Stones, and Binding Blade.
Not every game is tasteful about swimsuit designs for women, but I’m pleased to say that Edelgard, Altina, and Micaiah look very cute as summer alts. On the boy side, Dimitri and Claude seem to have lost their shirts, and the cape isn’t hiding anything. However, the alts do have one hilarious detail: None of the men have nipples. This has been the case ever since summer Xander debuted a few years ago. I laughed my ass off and hoped that the developers would learn. They did not.
Listen, I appreciate that Intelligent Systems is going for gender equality by also censoring male nipples. The problem is, every human being is born with nipples and it looks much weirder to have smooth skin where nips should be. Next time the developers release a summer skin, they should at least use strategic water droplets or conveniently placed accessories to imply the existence of male nipples. Come on, female character designers already had this figured out years ago.
Despite Nintendo’s relatively low levels of investment on mobile gaming (the publisher shut down Dragalia Lost earlier this year), Fire Emblem Heroes remains the most downloaded Fire Emblem game of all time. While Three Houses on the Switch is the best-selling mainline game of all time, Destructoid reported that the number of Heroes downloads is at least several times that.
Much like other gacha games tied to famous IPs, Heroes isn’t really competing with single-player games for players. If anything, the gacha game has become a powerful Nintendo marketing tool for the upcoming New Hopes game on Switch. The mobile game currently features limited-time banners for 15 Three Houses characters in anticipation of its sequel’s June release.