Fire Emblem Fates - known as Fire Emblem If in Japan - is out in Nintendo's homeland this week, before heading to the West in 2016. After the franchise-saving antics of Fire Emblem: Awakening the new title seems like a somewhat dramatic step-up for the series, with two alternate versions and storylines, and then a third optional storyline coming as DLC. Throw in the potentially addictive My Castle mode, and that's a lot of Fire Emblem.
With its imminent release in Japan and some lingering post-E3 buzz still in the air, Nintendo's translated the Iwata Asks for the game - Nintendo President Satoru Iwata was joined by Hitoshi Yamagami and Genki Yokota from Nintendo, Kouhei Maeda and Masahiro Higuchi from INTELLIGENT SYSTEMS, and finally Shin Kibayashi, an experienced writer that brought together the plot and core writing.
Kabayashi-san gives some of the most interesting insight, as he came into the series fresh with Awakening. It was explained that the development team weren't particularly happy with the response to the plot in the 3DS title, and Kabayahi-san took on - and then became immersed in - the task of producing the storyline for Fates.
Kibayashi: But I did feel that some parts were a little bit unsatisfying. My daughter, who was in high school at the time, said, "I want to play, too." So I gave her one, and she played so quickly. She kept playing so I asked her, "It's really that much fun?" and she said, "You should take this job!"
Yokota(reverently): I'm so grateful.
Kibayashi: She said, "But the story is kind of cliché, so I think you could make it even better." (laughs)
Iwata: She meant, "You've got to step up to the plate, Dad."
Kibayashi:That's right. So I looked into the work I had planned, and the schedule was really crazy, but there were a few things I could push back. And they told me that I only needed to write 10 pages for each of the three storylines.
Maeda: Right. Since he's so busy, I thought we could just ask him to write about ten pages for a plot summary.
Kibayashi: So I thought, "Well, I could do that." Then I started writing the story about the Hoshido family. I ended up using 10 pages on just the beginning. I ended up writing about 500 pages.
Kibayashi: When I create a story, as I write the details, like the character's lines, I start to love the characters and then they take on a life of their own, and the story begins to move on its own. So there was no way I could just write a short plot summary and be done with it.
Iwata: And without lines, the characters won't come to life.
Kibayashi: That's right. So I ended up writing a huge amount and I thought, "Well, this has become quite the task." So I gave them the pages for the first storyline for the Hoshido family and I had to write the same amount for the other two stories. I said, "There's no way I can do that." But then once I got started...I did it.
Kibayashi: I thought, "I really am an idiot." But I kept going. I ended up writing so much that it could be turned into about two books.
Iwata: You needed to meet your daughter's expectations.
Kibayashi: That was part of it. If it wasn't good, my daughter would be angry. And while I was writing, she kept asking, "How's it going?" which made me feel like "I need to make this good." So it kept getting longer, and it became a really elaborate story.
It's then explained that the team went all in with Awakening, believing it to be the last in the series, and "burned everything out". Its subsequent sales success, as we know, changed the IP's fate and prompted this new entry, and so it was explained that the only big idea that had gone unfulfilled was having multiple storylines, a definitive split where the player chooses a side. The third storyline evolved further from that, in which you effectively pick no side. It had originally been an idea with the original NES game, which had been shelved in those days due to memory restrictions.
Yamagami: I remembered how futile it seemed then, and I said, "Maeda-san, wouldn't you want to play a game where you could see what would happen if you chose the other side? I want to try this!"
Maeda: (nods several times)
Yamagami: And then I thought, if we packaged them separately, people could have the fun of choosing which one they wanted, and wondering "Which should I get?" I was really enthusiastic when I talked to Maeda-san about it, like "I really want to do that!" and he said, "Hold on just a moment." A few days later, he came by, and said, "Yamagami-san, I completely agree that we should make two games, like do you ally with kingdom A or kingdom B, but I also think that you could choose not to ally with either. So I want to do three."
Iwata: So then there was more.
Yamagami: I said, "You're just going to hurt yourself on this one." But then I said, "I love that idea of not allying with either side. Let's do that!"
Iwata: Maeda-san, why did you plan that when you knew you were setting yourself up for pain?
Maeda: Well, I thought that ultimate decisions of "do you ally with Country A or Country B" was really interesting, but thinking about it from the point of view of the players, I thought that they would definitely want the choice not to ally with either. It's really exciting to think about how the world would be if you didn't rely on either country's influence. For me, making three stories was a natural progression.
Another interesting segment revolves around the My Castle mode, in which you can establish your own village / base, building locations and homes for vendors and characters; it'll have online and StreetPass features.
Higuchi: As the name suggests, My Castle is your own castle that you can visit in between chapters. It allows players to lay out the town below the castle however they like. In addition to having conversations with the characters, players can also interact with other players and engage in battles. Maeda felt really strongly about putting this feature in because we wanted players to have other fun things to do besides just the simulation game.
Yokota: My Castle has a ridiculous amount of features too. People on the staff said, "This could be a game in and of itself."
Iwata: It has enough content to be a game? Maeda-san, you had so much work making three games, why did you add in My Castle?
Maeda: My Castle lets players experience living with the characters. We made it because we wanted players to really fall in love with all the characters.
Higuchi: And Maeda will do anything to make the characters more likable. He always tries to put in everything that will make players love the characters even more.
Iwata: And because of that you made yet another game?
Maeda: That's right. Originally My Castle was just going to be used with StreetPass, but using an Internet connection, players can visit other towns, and have battles. This was something that came out of all of the ideas that Kibayashi-san gave us...
Iwata: Wait, so Kibayashi-san didn't just write the story, he also gave you ideas?
Kibayashi: Yes. While I was working with them, I just said whatever I felt like, even though there was probably no way they could do any of it, like, "You should do this!" or "It would be really neat if you had something like this!"
Maeda: Some of the ideas Kibayashi-san gave us were things that would have been difficult to do, but when we were telling him about My Castle, he said "Don't you think that even more people would play the game if they could communicate with other players some way besides StreetPass?" So we decided to use the Internet connection so that people who lived in areas where they didn't get a lot of hits on StreetPass would be able to exchange game data with people as long as they have an Internet connection.
As always, we recommend reading the full Iwata Asks (link below). In the meantime let us know how you're feeling about Fire Emblem Fates. Are you excited about its arrival in the West next year?
Nice, something to read this evening. Also, 500 page plot? Where's Miyamoto when you need him?
2016 Game of the Year.
That was an easy competition.
Story wise it should be nice, considering the drama in the new trailer. They really can't do worse than Awakening's drivel.
I just wish that the gameplay hadn't gotten so simple. There's barely any FE left in it. It's almost to the point of being a generic SRPG or being military tactics game like Advanced Wars.
@AVahne What didn't you like about Awakening? Also aren't more of things that make the game simpler optional?
@AVahne I feel that somehow, weapon limits and the triangle will have some catch to it.
I'll read it after I play the game. I just hope that its as amazing as Awakening.
Did anyone else find awakening's story really boring? The characters were cool but I couldn't really care much for their quest. Because of that, I'm not going to expect much from this game's story, but I don't want to play it for the story. The way the battles are is awesome, that's why. I hear so many people mention that awakening's battle gameplay was trimmed down and is missing a lot of elements of past games. I wonder what kind of things it is missing, but I'm afraid to even try those games because I hear the difficulty is much harder and you can't turn off permadeath...I'm not even going to get halfway through with permadeath! So why even try...It'd be a waste of money for a game I can't finish. Rather, I hope the new game(s) have some of those past elements in them while keeping the option to turn off permadeath.
Lol, I can get through Pokemon nuzlockes with only losing one or two pokemon for the entire run, but in awakening I could never finish a battle without one of two of my units falling...Poor Frederick went down in nearly every battle after the halfway point.
@Crimzonlogic I found it extremely boring and cliche. Then again I did play Xenogears right before so yeah........... (you Xenogears fans know what I mean xD )
@Captain_Gonru They did a special edition in japan that had all three games. (sold out like hotcakes)
I'm a little shocked at the dislike for the awakening story....I didn't find it to be worse than the previous games and I've played most of them.
EDIT: given the whole "plot twist" with my unit and the big bad, this torn between sides is a natural progression of their ideas.
I cannot wait!!! There is no such thing as too much fire emblem! So 3 different games with 3 different storylines?? Bring em on and don't ever stop!! I love you intelligent systems 😀
Sorry, but selling this as separate games is still unacceptable for me. He even admits that he planned the three story routes from the beginning. This is not like Pokemon having two nearly identical versions, and neither is it like the Oracle Zelda games where they were completely separate. There are plenty of other games that have branching story paths based on decisions that are single games. Guess I'll play those instead.
Awesome, so awesome! Not only are we getting a SECOND Fire Emblem on 3DS, they developed a project large enough to be 2 separate games! That's even MORE Fire Emblem to play! And considering I topped off at 100 hours just on my first Awakening playthrough, I imagine I'll be sinking twice that into Fates.
500 pages of plot when they only needed 30 lol. He definitely stepped it up, that's for sure. I thought Awakenings plot was better than any previous entries. It won't win any awards (although the dialog should have) but it was no worse than previous titles. They're all kinda the same anyways- nation invades nation, bandits threaten villages, young prince and company set out to stop tyrannical king...
@Cestius I've never played Xenogears but I have played Xenoblade Chronicles. That game had an awesome story, too.
My copy should be shipping from Japan in the next few hours and I'm so looking forward to receiving it hopefully early next week! A little frustrating as the game's up on the Japanese eShop right now but it's physical all the way for me..
Now I just need an app to translate text off my LL, and a new phone to put it on ..!
Awesome. At least it confirms the story for each storyline is huge. Hope the special edition comes, I'll buy it in a heartbeat!
I'm excited for more FE, but I still haven't decided which version I'm going to get. A friend of mine likes the more challenging FE, so something tells me he will get Conquest. If he does, I'll get other one. We'll see...
Meanwhile, the research and development for AC:AF seems to have been done on the back of an envelope...
I don't get it NL, you guys brought an article about same sex marriage in Fire Emblem Fate but you don't want to know people's opinion of it? Why restrict the comment section of that article?
@retro_player_22 because that can get really ugly really fast. I've never seen a open forum that talks about any form of homosexuality (even on sites for homosexuals) that doesn't descend into a war at some point. Best to inform readers what Nintendo has done and leave it alone.
On Topic....Perhaps I shouldn't Import this....I feel like this is going to bleed into my fallout time.
Awakening as a story never captured me.....and the marriage aspect was annoying to me. I hope the story in Fates captures my imagination more and the increased difficulty of the "black" version is enough to give me the challenge I thought was missing in Awakening
@Crimzonlogic A very common occurrence in Fire Emblem is there being a super overpowered character early on that becomes useless (due to poor stat boosts) as the game progresses, in Awakening that character is Frederick.
Yeah, Miyamoto would knock that 500 pages down to 5.
The first time I played Awakening I thought the story was pretty good, or at least good enough to keep me playing. The second playthrough right now made me realize that the story is quite cliche, though it's still enjoyable; the main draw of Fire Emblem Awakening imo was the characters and their relationships (ie the addicting marriage system).
With that said, I'm SUPER hyped for this new branching paths system in the new plot, even if it is split between two games; I've been waiting for Intellegent Systems to do that in a Fire Emblem game ever since I played Sacred Stones, which also has a branching path, though it's only for about 8 chapters rather than the whole game.
I would pay money to read an official novel of Fates (provided a professional novelist writes it).
Awakening was my first Fire Emblem game, and I thought the story was terrific in it. It's great that they are putting so much effort into Fates. It looks like Fates is going to be an awesome game, though I'll probably give it a miss since I'm not keen on strategy games.
@Captain_Gonru Yeah it was more expensive but it was cheaper than buying all three alone (plus the third game doesn't come out until next month) and both games were stuffed on one card. It did come with an artbook though. I hope we get the same deal here in the west. I'm likely going to import one of the games (I have an order on stanby) and then buy the whole set when it comes stateside.
Perhaps my only problem with this is that I will need to buy 2 games to experience it all :<
Seems to be worth it though.
Game looks amazing.
@Grumblevolcano And here I thought I was doing something wrong with him, lol.
@Crimzonlogic Of course if you play Sacred Stones, you get a Frederick type unit (named Seth) who's so broken he NEVER slows down later on. He's awesome.
He'd knock it down to 5 sentences
Aw, so his daughter encouraged to write a big epic story. That's really sweet.
I personally like the "pick your poison" gimmick and if you're going to do a shameless multiple version cash in then do it right and actually offer the content to justify it. A story that's 3x as big as Awakening and told from different perspectives does it for me. The only thing I take issue with is the gay male and female characters being split across the two stories too. Not cool.
@AVahne I don't see what's so "simple" about it?
I've been watching a stream of it and it looks far from simple. There are different mission objectives, like defending maps, and a lot of the maps are super complex.
I don't like how they define "option to choose". I want to play the intro first before choosing which way I branch into.. Maybe I'll buy the second copy used so they won't get any money for the second story from me.
Loved Awakening though, and to be realistic, I'll probably buy the special edition if it is released in the EU.
"And then I thought, if we packaged them separately, people could have the fun of choosing which one they wanted, and wondering "Which should I get?""
That's an extraordinarily dubious use of the word "fun" right there.
It would be cool if those 500 pages were turned into a novelization!
@greengecko007 I don't see an issue with separate releases. In most games with branching storylines (like "Sacred Stones") or other in-game decisions that affect the plot, you only start making choices after you start a common story. This game has you make the choice from the very beginning of the game. In that vein, it is similar to the dual Pokémon or Mega Man Battle Network releases but with much bigger differences between the two versions.
It would be even longer as a novel, as the conversations would probably need more detail.
I was under the impression that in FE: Fates, the story was the same up until a certain point. That is what other news outlets are reporting. From IGN;
"Up to chapter 6, both White Kingdom and Black Kingdom have the same story, but after that the player character chooses a faction and the paths diverge."
"In the digital version, you'll choose which path you want to follow when you hit that story point after chapter 6. Making your choice locks out the second campaign unless you purchase it as DLC."
Also, I don't understand how you can say this is anything like Pokemon or Mega Man dual releases. That seems completely contradictory. Those games are mostly identical, with the same story but a few exclusive items or characters. This seems just like Nintendo grubbing money from their fans. Which is a shame, since it wasn't until Awakening that they supposedly weren't that confident in the series.
@greengecko007 Well, if the story is the same through the early chapters, then I see your point. If not, then it is like Pokémon and Battle Network in that they're different from the very beginning, in which case they would deserve even more to be dual releases since the story differences are so much greater in Fates. Pokémon and Battle Network are the more money grubbing series, since their dual releases could've easily be combined into single games if Nintendo and Capcom had been so inclined.
But the Pokemon and Battle Network games are not different right from the beginning. They always share the same story with minor differences. I agree that splitting those games into two versions is money grubbing too, but not to this degree. I cannot support a game where I'm expected to pay for each part of the story, knowing that those stories were written before hand. With this interview, they admit that they are intentionally withholding content from buyers of the game.
since i am certain that this game will make support conversations easily accessible like awakening, this is going to be a huge game. it took me like a a year and a half, at least, just to collect all non redundant conversations in awakening. fates game is going to be gigantic in that department if they're going to have even more characters than awakening, which was already stated. heck from my awakening experience, i can tell that the extra game space from the extra games is a necessity just to collect every convo in an efficient manner. in other words, when you add up the 3 save files for each plot, you're gonna end up with 9 save files, all of them are going to be needed to get everything effectively of course, or waste a tremendous amount of time if you ain't using them.
@greengecko007 Minor differences are still differences, and they were also decided beforehand. The fact remains that since the two versions of Fates are much more different than Pokémon versions, any sins committed by it are done to an even worse degree by Pokémon. You can't argue both for bigger differences and bigger issues involved by physically splitting those differences.
I'm not arguing for both, or either, I'm saying that neither of those games should be split into multiple versions. I brought up Pokemon in my original post because I figured that was a familiar series. Games like Pokemon get a free pass because even though exclusives between versions is just a greedy tactic, you can at least work around it by trading, which is extremely easy in this day and age.
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