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Weirdness: Fire Emblem Devs Answer That Burning Question: What Happened To Everyone's Feet?

Posted by Damien McFerran

Best foot forward

Fire Emblem: Awakening is a fantastic game — you need only gaze at our review to acquire this knowledge — but there's something that has been bugging us for quite some time here at Nintendo Life Towers: all the characters seem to possess odd-looking feet.

Thankfully, this troubling situation now has an answer, as Intelligent Systems has revealed in an interview — conducted by video game localisation company 8-4 — why the world of Awakening is filled with curiously diminutive toe-covered appendages:

8-4: Speaking of doing something different, we have to ask a question a lot of the fans are wondering — what happened with the feet? (laughs)

Kusakihara: (Laughs) Well, they're there...they're just...omitted a little bit. The idea was to add a unique sort of deformation to the characters. As for why it ended up like this... At the start of the project, we weren't entirely sure how many bones and joints we'd be able to use in each character model. As it is now, there's a joint at the knees, and then there's nothing below that for the ankles and the feet. This makes it a bit easier to apply animation to models as well. We found out afterward that, with the 3DS, we had more than enough CPU strength available to flesh out the models a bit, add real ankles and so on. We were like "Well, if there's a next time, maybe there'll be more ankles..." (laughs)

We thought we could make it something that would work well with the characters, but now I'm not so sure. (laughs) So it's hard to give a real reason for it, but...well, I think it's kind of cute, though! (laughs) Isn't it? They look like they're wearing high heels. Aren't high heels the big fashion these days?

8-4: Did you get any feedback about this from Japanese players as well?

Kusakihara: Yeah, some people focused on the feet a lot. (laughs) I think if this was a game that involved people kicking and such, we would have put in real ankles. Instead, you're using handheld weapons for the most part, so we figured we could sort of omit some of the detail down there...

Yokota: We did get feedback about that in the playtesting sessions, but by that point it was like "Well, we can't do much about that now." (laughs)

Kusakihara: A lot of people seemed really preoccupied with the feet... Ah, well. (laughs)

So there you have it — one more mystery solved. We can finally sleep peacefully at night now.

[via fireemblem.nintendo.com]

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User Comments (75)

Giygas_95

#1

Giygas_95 said:

Should have gone ahead and done it since they had enough CPU strength. It reminds me of those disgusting feetless ooze creatures from RE Revelations (barfs). Sorry, I barf every time I think about an ooze.

invmat

#2

invmat said:

Oh no! :( If I hadn't read this article I would probably never pay attention to the feet. Now I'm afraid that I'll keep looking at everyone's feet in FE:A when it is released here :P

Klinny

#4

Klinny said:

I guess I haven't been paying attention to their feet enough... I didn't notice anything until now lol.

WiiLovePeace

#5

WiiLovePeace said:

Yeah I heard about the missing feet somewhere online, so before I played the demo I expected the lack of feet to gross me out & make the game an insta-no buy. But it just really didn't bother me, I just forgot about it & enjoyed the cool moves of the people, especially the people on horseback. Which sucks since I've got numerous other games to get & little monies to get them with...

SLiM

#7

SLiM said:

I had wondered about the feet at first, but I have played the game so much now that I never think about it. Glad they had game performance in mind from the get-go.

Sir_Teabag

#10

Sir_Teabag said:

i really dislike the feet omission, highly annoying. they should have added it even if the feet were static it would have been better than the amputees running around now, looks incredibly silly. love the game but this is an EPIC and lazy omission on their part on an otherwise superb game.

Klimbatize

#13

Klimbatize said:

I thought they might explain the odd-looking feet in future DLC--they are all descendants of minotaurs.

GreenDream

#15

GreenDream said:

I wonder if they ran out of data storage space to cram into, so they simplified the feet to cut JUST enough spent data resources to fit such a huge game onto an itty bitty cartridge...

Or maybe the art director just had to have their one little "Moé" character feature in...

Kusakihara: "We thought we could make it something that would work well with the characters, but now I'm not so sure. (laughs) So it's hard to give a real reason for it, but...well, I think it's kind of cute, though! (laughs) Isn't it? They look like they're wearing high heels. Aren't high heels the big fashion these days?"

I smell a Chibi fanboy...

Giygas_95

#16

Giygas_95 said:

@GreenDream They said they had enough CPU strength but just ended up saying, "Oh well maybe next time!" Seems should have tried to begin with to see if they'd have enough CPU strength, but that's just me.

edcomics

#17

edcomics said:

While playing the demo, I was under the impression the feet were somehow in the ground. It seemed like everyone had been cut off at the ankles. Very odd. I thought it was just a quirk of the demo, but apparently not.

NImH

#18

NImH said:

FE: A is seriously one of my top 3 games of all time... But the no-feet is irritating, and has been since day one. I rate the game 9.5 because feet are worth at least .5 points.
That's a really sad explanation as well. He should've come up with something better than that... even if it was a lie. Ugh. So annoying.

Axed84

#19

Axed84 said:

I actually like the lack of traditional feet on the characters. I think it creates an interesting art style for the game. Honestly, I really don't understand why it seems to bother so many people so much. :)

Doma

#20

Doma said:

@Axed84 Agreed, i kinda like the style of it without them tbh, so i really don't care. Lame thing to complain about.

Just be glad the animations are now more fluid/less blocky than anything they've done previously in 3d.

AVahne

#21

AVahne said:

People really make too much of a fuss over the lack of feet. I just attribute it to style choice now, and I find it quite cute. It's not like the characters have a full-sized body like in Radiant Dawn anyway.

AVahne

#22

AVahne said:

@Doma
Radiant Dawn had slightly better animations in most parts in my opinion. This one just has better physics.

AVahne

#23

AVahne said:

@Five-seveN
They were lazy. Because if they weren't, they'd have to redo every single model when the current ones are just fine. If it doesn't hurt the gameplay and if it doesn't hurt the aesthetics for everyone, then it's fine.

Late

#25

Late said:

I don't mind the lack of feet. I thought it was part of the design and was done on purpose. It's not something that makes the game worse. It would be wholly another thing if they didn't have heads. Then I'd have a word to say.

theblackdragonAdmin

#26

theblackdragon said:

look at the Final Fantasy DS games, it's not like this is the only series to have used tiny feet in the character models. doesn't bother me a bit. :3

Emaan

#28

Emaan said:

Lol. This doesn't really bother me all that much. :p

I mean after playing the Final Fantasy DS games, I sort of expected it. It's part of the chibi art style for the character models in-game.

Hunter-D

#30

Hunter-D said:

Feet or no feet. Ankle or no ankles. I'm fine either way, doesn't detriment from the experience nor does it annoy me in anyway.

Geonjaha

#31

Geonjaha said:

...I thought it was because the feet were simply below the ground texture, Sonic 06 style.

DreamyViridi

#32

DreamyViridi said:

You can't seriously tell me that small detail affects people's feelings on the game that much...

I noticed on the demo and gave it no more thought than:
'Huh... Feet look odd, oh well.'

PvtOttobot

#33

PvtOttobot said:

I noticed the feet in the demo too, showed them to my brother, laughed then thought nothing more of it.

ThomasBW84Admin

#36

ThomasBW84 said:

Brilliant, I like the fact he was honest enough to say they "realised" they had CPU power for ankles. That's pretty funny :)

Being a brit I've only played the demo, but I noticed the feet pretty early...

WiiULoveGBA

#37

WiiULoveGBA said:

Anime does some strange things when it comes to drawing characters so no surprise when they let such a deformation pass as "cute"

lightbringer

#41

lightbringer said:

Honestly, I didn't even realize it till someone mentioned in the FE thread. Funny stuff, but not too big of a deal for me.

Arcamenel

#44

Arcamenel said:

It never has bothered me. I've been more preoccupied with MH3U though so I haven't had it in my face much lol

Starwolf_UK

#45

Starwolf_UK said:

I was secretly hoping they would go all out with it and say the were hooves...even doing so in cutscenes.

But yeah if I wasn't told it would take longer for me to notice. Especially as I usually play with animations off (well I mean FE games in general).

grimbldoo

#48

grimbldoo said:

Dev: "We are working really hard to make the game perfect."
Consumer: "It's taking too long to come out!!"

Dev: "We were already done so we didn't want to delay it longer."
Consumer: "You're just lazy!"

I say "shut up" to all complainers with as much disdain as can be put into a statement.

Zodiak13

#53

Zodiak13 said:

Thats it I am immediately returning this game. I don't care how much I've enjoyed it up to this point. Nor do I care how many hours I've invested. Even though I just noticed this since I read the article, I can no longer enjoy this game. Unacceptable. Guess I'll play some Aliens: Colonial Marines, at least they have mostly normal feet.

SetupDisk

#54

SetupDisk said:

I was really disappointed because of my foot fetish but other than that the game is outstanding!

ultraraichu

#56

ultraraichu said:

After Wind Waker, Having no feet became a norm for me in videogames. In some cases I'll accept even missing limbs.

GreenDream

#57

GreenDream said:

It's fine to have chibi feet, but at least have the 3D model art style match. All of the games mentioned above, like the Final Fantasy DS games and Wind Waker, are matched well with the "chibified" art style, so the "simplified" feet makes sense for them. Even the abridged feet in FE: Shadow Dragon matched it's gritty, muddy, almost "hazy" art style- and the art director for that title is the same guy in this interview.

If the Fire Emblem: Awakening 3D art models were based on "soft" anime outlines, or caricatures, or metaphorical portrayals, then the simplified feet would make sense. FE:A, however, is based on a stylized sort of "hard", or rather, "detailed" anime outline, which favors pseudo-realistic outlines in the sketches/models; this can be seen in any Japanese animation production which uses this particular vein of stylized "detailed" anime outline. (A couple examples: Bokura No; and Baccano!) In the case of FE:A, abridging the feet as if they were attached to a "softer" character outline is Frankenstein-like.

If they really did not have either enough available data space, or enough production time, to render limb physics which accounts for the anatomy of the foot, that's fine. I wouldn't say that's lazy. They worked their butts off anyways, and made a great game. Maybe the Non-disclosure agreement is preventing them from elaborating further...

GamerZack7

#58

GamerZack7 said:

GamerZack7: I played the demo and took no notice of the characters' tiny feet. Now, after reading this article, that's ALL I'm going to notice! (Laughs)

Dodger

#59

Dodger said:

The game is good enough where the lack of feet is charming, not annoying or stupid looking.

Knuckles

#60

Knuckles said:

I noticed it pretty early in the demo, but understood it was pretty unimportant.

YoshiStar

#61

YoshiStar said:

I thought they were going for a semi-cartoony look! I guess you learn something new everyday.

gundam00

#63

gundam00 said:

This is a big reason why I didn't buy the game. Their lack of feet drove me nuts! It looked completely unfinished. I thought they were supposed to be like chess pieces or something by not having feet, when in actuality the developers got lazy and ignored the complaints raised during the testing period.

Nintendawg

#67

Nintendawg said:

I was fine with the omission of feet on the characters' models (and by "fine" I mean it didn't bother me that much, I still thought it was annoying) until I read their explanation as to why that happened.
Now it really pisses me off, that they're making it seem as if everyone's got a foot fetish all of a sudden.
Mr. Kusakihara, you sure are a chirpy chap. How high are you sir?

Skeletor

#70

Skeletor said:

I noticed it when I bought it (not during the demo, though. Odd). I found it very odd. I thought perhaps it was a clipping error, with the feet being beneath the ground. I didn't bring it up to any of my friends playing it, for fear it may distract them.

grimbldoo

#71

grimbldoo said:

@gundam00
Versus the game being delayed for a while just so they could add something as insignificant as feet. This is why videogamers are called man-children, this line of thinking is so infantile it hurts my brain.

Earthdweller

#72

Earthdweller said:

Sorry hated it, hated it,hated it in the demo. Maybe I'm too OCD.
Obviously its not going to take away from the gameplay but really so much effort goes into the immersion and atmosphere of rpg/strategy games that I think this is a mistake. The 3d and the backgrounds are drawn to such perfection it really jarrs for me. Will still buy it and hopefully get used to it roll on 19th April UK.
We're all different I suppose no right or wrong to this.

Gregor

#73

Gregor said:

All of the characters dreamed of becoming pirates so they cut off their feet and became peg legs.

AyeHaley

#75

AyeHaley said:

Holy moly never noticed them before! Doesn't bother me though, it fits the rest of the art style perfectly.

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