The problem with "mature" content in Fire Emblem fangames

Now that the thread has been locked, I’d like to state that his write-up of mine was never intended to be some sort of “callout” post, whether one directed at staff or at ROMhackers. I wanted to provide a sort of guide for people who are new to writing and/or to FEU. However, I did not call it a guide and did not categorize it as such, because writing is a creative endeavour; there are no specific right or wrong ways to do things, especially not in a topic as divisive and polarizing as this particular one. The thread led to a heated discussion which ultimately resulted in a lock.

Basically, this is not a rant about hacks with tasteless content. It is, as I’ve mentioned above and in the thread itself, a type of pseudo-guide.

Original Post

Disclaimer: These are my personal thoughts on this matter, not necessarily the set-in-stone correct way to do things.

A frequent sighting on FEU in recent times have been hacks with “mature” content - hacks with quite disturbing and, frankly, tasteless dialogue for the most part. There are many publications across all media with increasingly mature, disturbing content, generally meant for adults. So, is there a place in Fire Emblem for mature content? Well…

Let me start this off by saying; I love media with mature content. Games like The Witcher, Metal Gear Solid and Max Payne just to name three. It’s not just games, either; mangas like Berserk and shows like Game of Thrones have huge followings. Obviously, there are a lot of people like me who appreciate this stuff. So, if these people get into FE Hacking, and they want to write a story, they might opt for a more mature approach to telling the plot of their hack, incorporating elements you’d see in M-Rated games, as opposed to Fire Emblem, which is, at most, T-Rated. At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this concept.

Fire Emblem, first and foremost, is a game about war. And war is no happy thing - many terrible things happen beyond just people killing each other. However, if you actually take a closer look, you will see the problems with this whole idea.


This point has been made by many users in the past across various threads, so I’ll just do a recap of sorts. First, we’ll be comparing screenshots from two games and one manga with Fire Emblem.

Take a look;

Comparison 1; MGS-FE

Metal Gear Solid 4

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem - The Sacred Stones (Europe) (En,Fr,De,Es,It) - Kopya-2

Comparison 2; Max Payne-FE

Max Payne 3


Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem - The Sacred Stones (Europe) (En,Fr,De,Es,It) - Kopya-1

Comparison 3; Berserk - FE

Berserk (Manga)

Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones

Fire Emblem - The Sacred Stones (Europe) (En,Fr,De,Es,It) - Kopya-0

You might have noticed that all of these mature media have artstyles and visuals that fit the stories that they’re trying to tell. Berserk has that beautiful dark and gritty visual tone thanks to Miura’s excellent artwork, and while MGS and Max Payne aren’t nearly as visually pleasing as Berserk may be, they still have that darker general tone to them. Now, the average mature-story-writing ROMHacker attempts to take story elements from aforementioned media and put them into Fire Emblem; the game with the colourful, bright characters, lush backgrounds, cheery music, comic-esque textboxes, all that. Imagine for a moment, an episode of Spongebob with the same visuals as always, but with a surprisingly darker plot; no jokes, no happiness, no laughs, none of that. Wouldn’t that feel odd? How about a game like Call of Duty with the colour palette of Spyro the Dragon? There’s a reason vanilla Fire Emblem balances itself between being serious about war and being comical in general.


“The mission is a man.” Saving Private Ryan, the 1998 Steven Spielberg motion picture, has a hell ton of gore, violence and death in it. Most of it is quite shocking and especially was at the time of its release. Yet, Saving Private Ryan does not come off as, and is not considered an “exploitation” film. Unlike exploitation films, Saving Private Ryan does not rely on its violence and shock value in order
to hold the viewer’s interest. This is because Saving Private Ryan is a well written and well acted movie. If you load your hack full of disturbing scenes with mature content, and you especially fail to properly execute these concepts, your hack will come off as something like an exploitation film, even if you don’t intend it to be.

If you’re making a hack and it’s the first time you’re writing an intricate story, you will inevitably be having problems, and there’s nothing wrong with that. We all start somewhere, right? We weren’t born with excellent storytelling skills. However, if you’re an inexperienced writer and you immediately kickstart a story that you want to be on par with something like Berserk, you’re effectively biting off more than you can chew.


Obviously, some people might not want to see the disturbing things that happen in your game. To this day, most such hacks have failed to explicitly clarify that they contain questionable content; it wasn’t until staff intervention that they received a warning. There is no such thing as the ESRB/PEGI for fangames, so it’s up to you to give your own game a suitable rating. I had initially supported this idea during the discussion of FEE3 2020, and I think such a system can be established.

Another method of handling mature themes is implying things rather than outright showing them. Such examples are frequent in Fire Emblem; Valter in FE8 trying to “tame” Eirika, in his own words. Though it is never shown or said what he REALLY wants to do with her. There’s also a villager in Serafew in Chapter 5 of FE8 telling the player that soldiers from Grado have “singled out families from Renais for the most awful atrocities.” You’re never told what those atrocities are, but this line still gets the point across that Grado isn’t really that nice on Renais citizens.
The reason I’ve primarily mentioned FE8 is because almost all hacks that have had
issues regarding mature content were based on FE8. The things I talked about here
might not apply if you’re making a hack with SRPG Studio or some other form
of independent engine/framework.

Enough babbling from me. Sorry if this came off as a rant or if I’m beating dead a horse here, I just felt like getting this out of my chest.

tl;dr edit: It’s not impossible to make a mature story work in Fire Emblem. Just think twice about the things you’re including in your hack and how they’re portrayed. My intent is not to prevent people
from attempting mature themes in their hacks, but rather mentioning aspects that they probably should think more thoroughly about.

Edit 2: If you see a hack treating mature themes in a way that you think doesn’t work or doesn’t look right, then please, PLEASE give the creator feedback on why you think that way rather than asking for the hack to be deleted and wiped from the face of the planet. Klok’s post further down below explains this in a great way.


Everything I wanted to say about the subject, you nailed right here. Thank you.
The issue with Mature Content in FE, specifically FE Fangames, is that people are wanting to let their minds run wild and put in these moments in their creations. Now there’s nothing wrong with this, in fact I think it’s great that we have such a great community that allows that creativity to grow.

Unfortunately, the difference between a romhack and a fully-fledged video game series, manga, or television show, is that with the latter things, they (mostly) don’t include these based on a whim, or in a “oh wow that sounds cool lemme add that” moment.

The mature moments in these types of media have several things going for them, but mainly they tend to have; Build-up, consistent tone, subtlety, and most of all, a purpose for that stories narrative.

I don’t want to make a massive wall of text even longer, so I’ll end off by saying this: Mature Content in FE Romhacks (I believe) can work to great effect… however, if you intend to implement these moments into your hack, make it explicitly clear that your hack has these moments, and implement them with care and tact. Add them in subtlety; you’d be surprised how much more powerful a lack of a 100% answer can empower a scene (Darling… Darling… Darling… anyone?).

Also, for the love of god, think about the player. If the average player’s first instinct is to gag and quit your game after seeing something, then it’s best to not include it. I’m not going to list examples because these types of deplorable taboo’s should be obvious.


I disagree there isn’t a place for mature content in FE, there very much is. But it’s more the way mature content is explored and communicated in FE fanworks that causes problems than the issues raised themselves. The tone of FE is generally quite light but there is a way to bring up mature themes that fit that tone by keeping it implied generally.


FE7x is a ten-year project, and I was quite young when we started it. I made the conscious decision to make the script mature, because I thought it gave it more legitimacy; that is, that the characters should behave like real people I knew in my life. A lot of that has to do with the Australian culture, something I stubbornly held onto because it made it easier to get into the minds of the characters and express their personalities and motives.

A lot of time has passed since that decision. I’m currently doing some rewrites to tone things down and include a warning on the splash screen, but I’m not eliminating mature content entirely. It’s still important to me that the tone stays the same, and I think with a gentler touch, the dissonance will be less of a problem. That said, I think it’s ultimately up to the players to decide for themselves what they want out of these games, and I’m going to try to be more receptive to their feedback on this stuff in the future.


I’m sorry if the thread sounds that way - My intent is not to prevent others from handling mature themes in their games, but rather give them some information regarding things to avoid while they’re doing so. I’ll try to adjust the thread to make that more clear. There definitely is a place for mature content in FE, it just needs to be done carefully.

1 Like

This is assuming that FE8 is used as the standard for FE fangames. FE8 and the Elibe games are among the brightest and most cheerful FE games out there. So using them as the standard would make a lot of mature/darker (literally or figuratively) projects look out of place. Even so, there are plenty of games with bright visuals, but darker themes hidden beneath. Even working with FE8 shouldn’t dissuade anyone from trying more mature topics.

Even with that standard, I don’t think there’s a problem with having darker themes, as long as they’re done tastefully. Sadly, taste is difficult to gauge, and it can sometimes be difficult to tell if something is offensive or not. I think it would be very beneficial for fangame creators to note if there’s any mature content in their game so that anybody that might be offended would know ahead of time. It is more difficult to handle darker themes, but I feel there’s nothing wrong with them if they’re done well.

I dunno, think of an “M-rated FE game” as just being able to write a standard FE story, but without the limitations of having to censor/make things kid or family-friendly. Being M-rated isn’t a license to stuff your project with as much edgy and offensive humor as possible. The things you’re referring to seem like edgy and offensive humor that isn’t really “mature”.


You’re quite correct about the tastefulness part. I think what makes it hardest is how subjective “taste” is. In instances like these, I think it’s best to play it safe if you want your hack to be enjoyed by the general FEU user.

Edgy and offensive “humour” in my opinion would be things like Duo Geno Escapo, where normally mature themes are being used as jokes and/or as comic relief. There are some serious hacks that have handled mature topics and it could have been done better, in my opinion. It is of course not impossible to make a mature story based on Fire Emblem work, it just needs a lot of care and polish.
I’ve assumed FE8 as the standard since most hacks that have had problems dealing with mature themes were hacks of FE8, which is something I should clarify in the thread, I apologize.


I’m all for, in general, discouraging a lot of the ‘mature’ and ‘edgy’ content in a lot of projects. Partially because reading that stuff often comes off as something I’d see on, partially because it’s usually not written well, and majorly because of the visual inconsistency of Fire Emblem, as stated in the OP.

However, banning or blocking these hacks is a violently incorrect action to take. I don’t support that at all. I’m still pretty annoyed that, in 2020, we had something like 4 hacks banned for being edgy.

If a hack is edgy, or it uses a whole bunch of rape jokes, or some other crap… who cares? Ignore it. If you feel deeply offended by the content, then by all means, vent with proper, constructive criticism. 99% of the people who make these hacks with these over the top edgelords are underage kids; people who either don’t have a grasp on refined society and proper writing/storytelling, OR kids who want to use hacks to rebel against authority in some way.

They think they’re cool. They’re not, and we know they’re not, but so what? Everyone’s first project is a stinker. Maybe some people dropped out of their mothers with golden hair and eyes filled with the light of creation, but I strongly doubt that’s the case. My first two or three projects were all bad, and those are the ones I never posted publicly. My next two or three were also pretty bad, but a step up in overall quality, thanks to some constructive and even some not-so-constructive criticism.

And now? Years later, after failing many times, I’ve become an accomplished author. I would not be where I was if I had started out in the modern hacking climate, where extremely edgy hacks could get your project banned. By allowing my fangames to exist, as bad as they were, while providing criticism, I learned not only what was acceptable in the community, but what was unacceptable, too.

Here’s a fun fact: The Fire Emblem community is small. Even the modern scene, which is ten or twenty times bigger than it was just five years ago; it’s still incredibly tiny. FEU isn’t even a blip on the radar at this point. Only the really hardcore fans come here.

The people who come here are often young people who have little social experience, are incredibly awkward, and socially stunted. I know; I was one of those people. Still am, depending on the day of the week. These people don’t have the proper boundaries built up in their minds. By shutting them down and berating them, you are not teaching them anything useful, you are not improving them as creators or as people, and you are only hurting them in the long run. Maybe some people don’t care, but I do, and from conversations I’ve had behind the scenes, so do others as well.

This is not a post directed solely at the mods or admins. It takes a community to come together on a subject like this. Some of you may recall, several years ago, there was a particularly big thread that got a lot of traction on SF. It was written by the now-admin of FEU, Camtech.

For context: At that time, 2013, the community had a big problem on its hands. New people would sometimes post projects and ‘steal’ artwork from well-known forum members. You’ll notice I put ‘steal’ in quotations. That’s not because the act was not stealing, but because these new fangame creators were often children and had no idea that what they were doing was immoral.

So what would happen was, people would see some new hack from SkippyDoodles14 titled “Edgelord’s Big Adventure with Big Boobied Bimbos” or whatever, and upon looking at the screenshots- GASP! A stolen mug! So, people would get together and dogpile the new person to various degrees, insulting them, saying they were a thief and needed to remove those mugs right this instant, etc.

And what happened? The person left the community, never to be seen again. Camtech and other people saw this was messed up, so he finally sat down and wrote the thread, and the rest was history. We do not do that anymore, as far as I know. Now, when a new person joins with stolen artwork, we gently let them know that their project really ought to have free to use art in it instead, and hey, here’s a repo with F2U assets, why not use those instead of those mugs you liked from TLP?

We need that moment again. Here, now. But this time, it should be towards people who make edgy content.

When you see someone making a hack with rape jokes, with edgy political humor, with some other thing that you consider vile… stop! Breathe. Take a moment to consider this person’s situation. Then, start by opening up a dialogue, informing them the ways their content disturbs you.

Yes, some people have done that already, and that’s great. But from what I’ve seen, a lot of people didn’t. Some of you (and you know who you are) instead did everything in your power to shut the content down and get it banned. Good job; you succeeded. Now that person left, that person who had a lot of creative drive but wasn’t yet mature enough to channel it properly. A few years from now, they’ll probably go to some other community, a more welcoming and helpful one where they won’t get stomped for being an idiot teenager, like all of us were at some point.

And who knows? Maybe by then, their creativity will have evolved, as will their more problematic views. Too bad, though. They won’t be making FE content.

Not unless we make a change in how we treat those people.


I agree that people that make such hacks should be given proper criticism rather than get their hacks deleted and banned and all that. While I have never supported the latter, I have failed to give constructive feedback when such projects were posted on this platform, so I admit that I’m partly guilty in this situation.
That is also part of the reason I even thought of creating this thread; giving people my personal thoughts as to why the thing they want to do may not work as well as they may be expecting, and, in some form, how to improve it. I understand that certain things I’ve said in this thread may come off as if I am strictly against mature content, that’s on me.
But yes, I think people should always remember that the person on the other end may be doing something wrong UNINTENTIONALLY and is not necessarily trying to be a bad person or anything.
I’ve witnessed those hacks getting shut down too, and yes, they definitely were treated unfairly.


Advance wars days of ruin is a pretty fun game


On most creative sites, a tagging or rating system exists to mark user-uploaded media for offensive, sensitive, or potentially unwanted content. Take for example Archive of Our Own (AO3), users add tags to give the audience the choice to consume or not consume the media. Offline, TV shows, movies, and retail games use a similar system, with an overall maturity rating as well as specific callouts for e.g. sexual content, violence, drugs, etc. While it’s not as specific as user tags in fandom spaces, it’s still standard practice and exists as a resource for parents and for people with specific traumas to avoid content that might harm them. What seems to be forgotten in these discussions is that real traumas with real physical side effects can be set off by fictional depictions of sensitive situations (particularly sexual assault), and these content warnings exist in the real world so that people can make informed choices about the media they consume without unknowingly exposing themselves or their children to risk.

In mainstream media there’s the inherent advantage of having a dedicated committee to review content and rate it appropriately. In fan spaces, the onus is almost always on the creator, especially in smaller niche communities such as these. It’s been this way since the early days of sites like - users are required to give a general maturity rating and content warning for their work before it’s allowed to be uploaded to the site, and purposely neglectful or misleading ratings are grounds for removal from the site as a violation of the rules. Young people these days are more online than ever and these conventions have been in place longer than the theoretical 15 year old making their first hack has been alive; it’s not unreasonable to expect some familiarity with tagging and content warnings from newbies.

Part of this is our bad; we haven’t formalized and publicized the kind of content guidelines we expect on the site. Staff can’t and won’t manually review every submission, as that would be an undue barrier to submission and sharing; right now community response from players is the de facto means of notification we get for when a warning label needs to be attached. Until the formal staff policy is posted, a general maturity warning similar to this system is a reasonable expectation for creators to voluntarily add to their topics.

It’s possible and encouraged to gently remind creators if they’ve failed to appropriately warn for their content. Voluntary content warning will also help alleviate the issue of people stumbling onto something they didn’t sign up to see and getting outraged over it. There’s no call for witch-hunting, just be courteous and let people know what they’re getting into.


I wasn’t planning to say anything in this thread, but since I (or at least a thread that I wrote) was specifically invoked:

  • As much as I’d like to “just ignore” the content on this site that disturbs me, there are certain responsibilities that mean that I can’t. Among other things, I’d prefer not to have a project featuring the text “open your legs” directed at a child hosted on my website. I am not emphasizing that to make a claim that I “own” the community or whatever, but rather that this website is attached to me (and Arch, who I think would agree with me on these points) in such ways that I am not comfortable simply turning a blind eye.
  • I think that there is definitely a bit of a trend towards being overzealous here. We’re in agreement that feedback like this is cancerous is not actionable and basically serves to make people feel like shit. Suffice to say, no users have been banned for posting edgy content (nor have any projects been completely banned since Duo Geno, only temporarily removed with a request from the staff to clean it up a bit).

By banning badly written stories as godawful as they are, criticism and having examples of things not to do and giving such negative feedback is minimized under a simple drop of a curtain. I won’t lie in that several past events in FEU have made me reconsider if some dialogue I write is tasteful to the general community, which, probably helped, but it was not directly because of “if it fits” but because of “do people even like that at all”. Of course there are some extremes but even then it wouldn’t be very good if there was a growing list of things not to add instead of taking each hack case-by-case, in my honest opinion. Having played a distasteful hack, I still found some entertainment and interesting breakthroughs of creativity in ways that didn’t deal with the crude subject matter.

I might be going off on a tangent so I do want to propose that not all hacks are particularly meant to be in the same likes as FE even if that’s what the gameplay and all is based off of. You do make a good point that visuals should align with the mood but I think that as long as one is able to skillfully set the mood from the start by dialogue alone that maturity can be established. This isn’t really a question if you have people making casual hacks with friends and circles. I know for example my own hack strays from the FE story formula quite a lot so I do have anxieties at times about whether a change is received, but that’s also why I feel at times that I should very carefully pick my words. Not because of something such as swears or “muh censorship” but even just scenes that might end up appearing shocking just because it’s a FE game, even if such warnings will be in place.

The year is 2021 and we have more ways to express creativity than ever before, and I do wish to see more creations that delve into more mature works - whatever shifts the formula. The problem is more about if people are posting low-quality hacks through something that may seem shocking/offensive, but even then I think that if they’re “ballsy” enough to post such a thing then they should be willing to hear out some critique, get blasted as an example and then learn from thereon. In that case, they can be able to make something of better worth later on, especially if we end up having young members who are writing things just because and have no clue what they’re doing. I can safely say, like with the above example, having published some very stupid things have in ways made me better at what I want to accomplish.

Let bad hacks be bad hacks, because people will learn to grow through multiple lenses of their own perspectives. At the very least, I agree that hacks should be visibly flagged by their owners and aren’t posted with truly harmful content (whatever that may be). Those are just my two cents though and I’m awful at longposting anyway.


I find the point about differences in art to be rather reductive. A medium doesn’t have to be aesthetically dark and brooding to convey dark themes. There are plenty of media that successfully juxtapose more mature and dark themes with bright colors and cute art. To say that Fire Emblem can’t be dark, mature, or violent because it doesn’t look like it is rather limiting.


I don’t know why you bring this up. Have you ever heard of Happy Tree Friends?

Anyways, onto the actual points I want to make.

Mature themes are perfectly fine to portray in the medium you choose. The problem is that the writing needs to justify whatever is going on. Thinking that having a bunch of edgy things happen in your story in succession because it’ll make your game more mature and complex is like thinking more jumpscares in your horror movie will make it scarier and more praiseworthy.

Unless you’re trying to set some sort of impressively high record, there’s no artistic merit in doing either of these things.

I feel the main problem is really just a bunch of writing novices trying to do things that they don’t understand in the slightest. They probably really do want to tell a mature story, and if they want to, by Kaga I say they should be able to. They just need, well, maturity.


A very, very minor note:

There is a difference between mature, immature, and crude content. Much of the time, what people seem to be referring to in this topic is NOT mature content. It’s immature, crude, tasteless content. Game of Thrones is mature. Empire Strikes Back is mature. Family guy is a mixture of mature, immature, and crude content. It’s mature in that some jokes can only be understood by older viewers, but immature because farty farty poop flrrrblt.

I think what people want is not an end to mature content, but an end to tasteless and crude content. This is much more easily tackled than the misused ‘mature’ label.

Just throwing that out there. Nobody likes tasteless or poorly handled edgey content. As I said in my previous post, the solution is to explain to project makers of the tasteless variety what their project did wrong, rather than berate and shove them away.

But I’m not gonna repeat all that, yadda yadda, you get the idea.


Also, saying that the best way to have dark themes is to imply then rather than show them is…shallow to say the least. Would Saving Private Ryan have been as successful if it didn’t show all the gory details of war?

If you don’t enjoy these things, it’s fine to prefer other methods to convey them, but to outright say they’re wrong isn’t a credible argument.

I’ve never stated that it’s the “best way”. If you read that part of my post carefully, you’ll see that I wrote “Another method”, and that’s exactly what it is, an alternative. It’s a method that vanilla FE uses so I thought I’d mention it, but I have not said that it’s the best way or that it’s superior to other methods.

1 Like

You are correct i misread

1 Like

I don’t think anyone’s saying Happy Tree Friends is a hallmark in dark and mature storytelling.