Fire Emblem Direct: Overview and Impressions Fire Emblem Direct: Overview and Impressions
One of Nintendo’s niche series is suddenly turning out to be not so niche. Fire Emblem Direct: Overview and Impressions

In a rather surprising turn of events during last week’s Treehouse stream, Nintendo announced a Fire Emblem Direct. It was held yesterday, broadcast live on Nintendo’s website for viewing. Here’s what you may have missed.

Narrated by famed voice actor Yuri Lowenthal (who voices Corrin and Marth in Fire Emblem: Fates), he began the stream by giving a brief detail of what to expect during the Direct.

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Right off the bat, they began with a new trailer with Japanese audio — which eventually revealed itself as Fire Emblem: Echoes – Shadows of Valentia for the 3DS, a remake of the original Fire Emblem: Gaiden on the NES, originally released only in Japan back in 1992.

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This marks the first time the game will be launched outside of the country, and its trailer showcased some unique features that set it apart from other Fire Emblem games, such as the ability to crawl through dungeons to fight enemies.

The whole game has been transformed from it’s 8-bit counterpart to look like the modern Fire Emblem entries on the 3DS, complete with voice acting. The main characters, Alm and Celica will be released as Amiibo to coincide with the launch of the game.

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Fire Emblem: Echoes – Shadows of Valentia will launch in Australia on May 20, 2017.

Directly following the trailer for Fire Emblem: Echoes was an announcement claiming that a brand new Fire Emblem game is in development for the Nintendo Switch. This marks the first time a mainline Fire Emblem title has come to console since the release of Radiant Dawn on the Wii back in 2008. More information will be revealed at a later date.

The brand new Fire Emblem title for the Switch is planned to launch in 2018.

The next informative piece was about Fire Emblem: Warriors, developed by Koei Tecmo, Team Ninja and Omega Force, who are responsible for the ‘Warriors’ series of games.

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They broadcasted an extended cut of the reveal trailer (which was first shown at the Switch conference last Friday), this time showing off a small teaser of gameplay including Chrom, one of the main protagonists of Fire Emblem: Awakening on the 3DS. Following that trailer, it was revealed that the game is also being developed exclusively for the New Nintendo 3DS systems.

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Fire Emblem: Warriors is said to launch on both the Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS systems sometime in Spring 2018.

The next segment of the Direct began by showing the opening to the previously announced Fire Emblem mobile game, titled Fire Emblem: Heroes.

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Playing just like classic Fire Emblem games, Fire Emblem: Heroes gives it the modern smartphone game twist, and adds a ‘gacha’ character collecting feature, meaning that there’s a premium currency involved that will allow players to summon heroes from past Fire Emblem games at random.

Of course, there will be ways to obtain these ‘orbs’ through regular gameplay, but people wanting to summon extra units will need to pay real money via microtransactions to collect more characters. However, the more orbs one spends to summon will cause the cost of summoning heroes to go down.

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New characters can be recruited via special battles and events. A special campaign is underway online right now, allowing players to vote for their favourite Fire Emblem characters to be made as special units for an event, and can be done so here.

Fire Emblem: Heroes launches on Android via the Google Play store on February 2nd, with iOS details still to be confirmed. Pre-registration for the Android version is now available.

Unlike a lot of my friends who seem to be heavily into the Fire Emblem series, it’s one I’ve rarely invested time into. My first exposure to the characters was in Super Smash Bros. Melee on the GameCube, when I faced off against Marth, and later, Roy.

At that young age, I didn’t take interest in such a game, and was more into the action-adventure types; which the Fire Emblem series steered away from. In fact, my first Fire Emblem game was Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS, back in 2013. I purchased it just to see what all the hype was about.

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True enough, the game pulled me in with it’s cast of unique characters and fantastical atmosphere. While the first playthrough was a fun ride, I didn’t choose to go into the extensive DLC that added new maps and characters.

Come 2016, and the dual version launch that was Fire Emblem: Fates was released. By now, everyone who played Smash Bros. knew a lot more about Fire Emblem than one normally would, from the trophies, soundtrack, stages and of course; the playable characters. I had pre-ordered the Special Edition that was a singular cart, holding all three main campaigns of Fire Emblem: Fates – Birthright & Conquest (the two copies available via retail purchase) and the additional Revelations, which would be available later via the eShop as a paid download.

To this day, I’ve only played the Birthright campaign, since it’s characters and general aesthetic appealed to me a little more than the darker looking Conquest one. That said, I hold respect for characters from both sides.

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From this Fire Emblem Direct, I can easily and perhaps happily say that I’m further interested in the series, and I know for a fact that this once lesser known series in the West has picked up popularity by an extreme amount since the first localised release of Fire Emblem on the Game Boy Advance back in 2003; simply titled Fire Emblem in the west (although it was the seventh Fire Emblem game in Japan).

I’ll definitely be purchasing Fire Emblem: Warriors, as Koei Tecmo had already successfully proven that a series such as The Legend of Zelda could be transformed into one of their Warriors titles. Hyrule Warriors was a game I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish, and seeing Chrom rendered in full, high-definition 3D for a similar title makes me wonder about the possibilities for other characters.

As for Fire Emblem: Echoes -Shadows of Valentia-, it’ll be a title I’ll pick up for my 3DS, although with the current onslaught of games due for 2017, I have a feeling it’ll end up on my backlog a little sooner than it should. Nevertheless, the game seems like a different take (as it was back in 1992) on the Fire Emblem series, and it’ll be interesting to see how that formula holds up to the original on the NES.

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In regards to Fire Emblem: Heroes for smartphone devices, I’ve already pre-registered to be notified about the game on the Google Play store, and will give it a thorough play on my HTC One M9, although I’m not sure how long the game will hold my interest. I don’t see myself spending any money on it’s premium currency, but going by my track record on Pokémon GO and more recently Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Blazing … I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Josh Joseph Nintendo contributor

Josh was born and raised as a Nintendo fan, but isn’t afraid to step into the alien worlds of the Sony and PC gaming scene. In fact, his favourite series is Persona, yet he would drop everything for Zelda. He secretly enjoys watching Japanese dramas while he designs and draws characters, just 'cause.

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