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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is now out in stores and on the eShop in the West following a positive critical reception - we also gave it a strong recommendation in our review. It had an interesting development history, unveiled with few details as Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem before an extended silence led to fears and talk of problems in development. A Nintendo and Atlus venture, with the latter leading development, its final form ultimately seemed to be a diversion from what was initially expected.

Speaking to Siliconera, Shinjiro Takada (Producer at Atlus) and Hitoshi Yamagami (Producer at Nintendo) gave their perspectives on how the project evolved, in terms of its style and core gameplay.

Shinjiro Takada: At the initial stages of planning, we had trouble figuring out how to express the essence of both games. But then we set the policy of capitalizing on the strengths of Atlus, and decided on the basics of a modern-day RPG. We then picked the entertainment industry as something to differentiate it from previous RPGs. That set the general direction.

Hitoshi Yamagami: At the initial planning stage, we were trying to create an SLG (strategy simulation game). However, when we tried to create a strategy simulation game with characters from FE, it ended up looking just like the original FE, and it was hard to differentiate it. So six months into development, we changed direction, based on our suggestion to "think of an RPG that capitalizes on the strengths of Atlus". That is how the game system was achieved.

Takada-san also provided an interesting explanation for the alternative designs for Fire Emblem characters.

As a basic design concept, we differentiated them from the main characters depicted by toi8 by using the "other world" setting.

In this other world, the world of Fire Emblem, an ancient battle is still raging. That is the setting for this title.

So the design represents the result of an evolution over a long period of time, as they kept specializing in warfare, like machines.

They retain the elements of the original Chroms, but the design reflects expanded interpretation that goes beyond that.

The rest of the interview is worth a read for some other tidbits of information. It seems that the switches in direction and time taken on development were worthwhile in terms of game quality, albeit we're yet to see whether sales meet expectations.

Have you picked this one up, or are you planning to? Let us know in the comments.

With thanks to Benson for the tip.