Team up

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem - AKA Genei Ibun Roku #FE - was shown off in a brief and almost incomprehensible video during Nintendo's E3 Digital Event which left fans none the wiser as to what kind of experience this crossover will provide. Thankfully, GameSpot has been talking to the team behind the game to get a better idea of the setting, style and gameplay involved.

According to Fire Emblem producer and Nintendo group manager Hitoshi Yamagami, the idea was a fairly random one:

In our team at Nintendo Co., Ltd, there's a woman who really loves the Shin Megami Tensei series. This is how this all started. And when she started this conversation within the company, we were working with Atlus at the time on a purikura [decorative photography] program for DSi and 3DS. At the time she said, 'Mr. Yamagami, there's something I would like to do. I want to make a game that mixes Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei.' And we said, that's exciting, let's give it a shot! But when we brought it to Atlus, they said, we'd like to but we can't, we're busy.

The idea was shelved until Atlus approached Nintendo and things started moving in the right direction, as Atlus producer Shinjiro Takada explains:

When they asked if I wanted to [work with Nintendo], I was heading the Devil Survivor series. So once that series finished, two years after that conversation, I said, let's give this a shot.

Yamagami also revealed that the game won't be a turn-based strategy title, but instead a more conventional "Japanese" RPG:

From Nintendo's point of view, because it's Fire Emblem, we thought, let's make this a turn-based strategy game. In the beginning, even Atlus wanted to make it a turn-based strategy, but after finishing the concept for it, I said, no, don't do this, if you do something like this, it's something [Fire Emblem developer] Intelligent Systems could just make with the main series. Do something we can't do. That's when we decided to make it a JRPG set in modern Japan.

The story involves two students who notice that the world is being attacked by supernatural beings - a common theme in the Shin Megami Tensei series. The duo become pop stars in order to combat these beasts, as music allows them to become more connected with "Mirages" - spiritual warriors who enter our reality to offer help.

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Yamagami explains that this concept allowed them to introduce fantasy characters from Fire Emblem in a modern-day setting:

One of the reasons [we made Fire Emblem characters Mirages] is because since it's an RPG in modern times, we can't have a Pegasus Knight suddenly show up and have the player think that it all makes sense. Because Fire Emblem has its own world, we had to have these characters enter the modern world as visitors from a mirror dimension, called the Idolosphere. And as there are ally units like Chrom and Shiida who come from this world, there are also antagonists that come from that world as well and want to destroy our world.

Takada expands on this:

This is why the characters are all entertainers: in Japan, similar to Greek mythology, there's the idea of the gods being connected to the arts. It's a shamanistic element that's been interpreted by Atlus. The idea is, Japanese priestesses would dance and the dancing would bring them closer to the gods. We wanted to spin this in an Atlus way, so all the characters in the game have some connection to the arts, and that connection and their ability to express themselves attracts the Mirages to them. People who are good at singing or dancing or acting have really strong bonds with Mirages.

While the tone and the setting might not scream Fire Emblem, Yamagami thinks that long-time fans of the series will spot the influence of Intelligent Systems' famed franchise:

What I'm most proud about this game is the fact that despite everything that we've said about it, as you play through the story, you'll realize that, what happens happens for a reason, because this game is inspired by Fire Emblem. So as a Fire Emblem fan, you'll recognize why things are happening; it's happening because it's Fire Emblem.

Now we know a little more about the game, are you more interested in playing it? Let us know by posting a comment.