Even before Fe made its debut earlier this year, one question about the magical, mysterious adventure game stood out above all others: how do you say “Fe?” Players put their own spin on it, pronouncing it “Fee,” “Feh,” and “Fay” to name a few. But our friends at Zoink have officially put the question to bed with an (almost) unanimous answer:
A lot of people have been asking us how to pronounce Fe. We'll tell you! Most of us. #EAoriginals #FeGame &mdashpic.twitter.com/QWhLxSiqHg; Zoink Games (@ZoinkGames) October 26, 2017
Fee-ya. Were you close? The folks at Zoink hope so, because they tried to pick a name that would fit their local inspiration while still being approachable around the globe.
"A lot of the names from the Nordic myths and folktales are really hard for English-speaking people to pronounce — yes, even more so than Fe," says Art Director Andreas Beijer. "We felt that 'Fe' was easy and distinct enough without being too telling or too tied to something that people already had a clear picture of."
That said, “Fe” is a word with a definition: it's the Swedish translation of the word "fairy." The game's tiny fox protagonist doesn't look much like the mythical winged fairies you're probably thinking of, and that's because it calls on a far older tradition, where “fairy” meant any creature from a magical realm. "We never pictured a Disney-esque sort of fairy, but rather a 'skogs-fe' (forest-fairy) which I would say is closer to forest elf," says Beijer. "Because when we started to talk about the game, we saw the main character as a 'protector of the forest' sort of creature. I think there is also an Old English word 'fay,' which might be closer in meaning as well. Something a bit darker." Just like the fairy tales of old — or maybe “magic tales” is more appropriate.
After that, the idea of combining those mystical ideas with real creatures came naturally. "In Fe, we had this idea of Nordic creatures but with the dial turned up to eleven," says Beijer. "I tried to create a fauna that could work with [Concept Artist Stina Rahm's] designs and also creatures that I’d like to meet in a fantastical forest."
Fe also works on one more fauna-focused level, and one that speaks to the experience of the game: "It was almost just a sound more than a word, since we went for a wordless sort of storytelling in the game, [and] it is also a really old Norse word for 'critter' (fehu, fä) which we felt tied into the whole thing as well."
Fe is available now for PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Venture into the forest today, and keep an open mind - you might discover something unexpected.