Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (2024)

Iwata:

Finally, I wanted to ask you all for a selling point of Fire Emblem Fates. Let’s start with Kibayashi-san, since this is our first time working together.

Kibayashi:

Alright. I think that the most interesting part of the storyline is how unexpected it is.

Iwata:

A pre-established harmony just makes it a slog.

Kibayashi:

That’s right. And I made sure that the ending of each of the three storylines would be unexpected, so I really hope everyone will play them through until the end. That’s one thing I want to say, and the other is that I hope that as people play through, they keep thinking, “I chose this country, but I wonder what would have happened if I’d chosen the other one.” I think that a conflict of that sort will really help them get into the world of the game.

Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (1)

Iwata:

They can sympathise with both the enemies’ words and the allies’ words.

Kibayashi:

Right. The story is full of betrayal and the unexpected, so I want them to play through until the end, and I would be really happy if they played through several times. The deeper you dig, the more you will find. And there are parts that you come to realise were foreshadowing.

Iwata:

Thank you. Now, Maeda-san.

Maeda:

One of the things I want to mention about the game-side is that we’ve included the Support System35 again, and the player’s avatar can marry people in their unit.35. Support System: A system in the fourth title of the series, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (Japan-only, Super NES, 1996) and resurrected for Fire Emblem: Awakening (Europe, Nintendo 3DS, 2013). Characters in the game fall in love, and their relationship affects the abilities of their children, which act as support units.

Iwata:

How does it differ from the last game?

Maeda:

A character can take on the class of their spouse. For example, if a Knight marries a Ninja, they can become a Ninja. So people will need to put a lot of thought into their choice of spouse.

Iwata:

And when choosing spouses, you get another ‘what if?’. “What if this person and this person got married?”

Maeda:

That’s right. And with My Castle, which we spoke of earlier, if you visit someone’s castle and give them a present, you become friendlier with them. And when you reach maximum affection, a new character, which is the symbol of your bond, is born and becomes your ally. So you can enjoy that not only in the actual game, but also in My Castle.

Iwata:

After all, My Castle has enough content to be its own game.

Maeda:

Right. (laughs)

Yokota:

What I want to say ties in with what Kibayashi-san was saying. I played through it several times during development, but there’s so much depth to the story that no matter how many times you play, you don’t get bored. I’m really looking forward to the release, and I actually want to play through it from the beginning again, once it’s released.

Iwata:

You played it so many times for work, but you still want to keep playing.

Yokota:

Yes. Also, I remembered something when we were talking about “…hold on, please.” Maeda-san put one of my older ideas into this game. There’s something called ‘inherent skills’, where characters have a skill that fits their personality, in order to really make the characters unique. This was an idea that I had when we were making Awakening.

Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (3)

Iwata:

And at that time, Maeda-san said, “…hold on, please.”?

Yokota:

Yes. (laughs). But that idea was part of Fates from the beginning. There’s also something called ‘dragon’s vein’36. This allows players to change the terrain. For example, if there’s a river, it allows foot soldiers to cross the river. This was also an idea we had during Awakening, which Maeda-san remembered…36 Dragon’s vein: An ability limited to characters descended from the Dragon clans, it allows them to change the terrain of the battlefield by making bridges and flattening mountains.

Iwata:

He didn’t forget those older ideas. He took a good, long time to think about them and then included them in Fates.

Yokota:

That’s right.

Iwata:

What more would we expect from “Mr. Hold On, Please.” (laughs)

All:

(laughs)

Iwata:

And now, Higuchi-san.

Higuchi:

The Fire Emblem series reached its 25th anniversary37 on April 20th. I think that Fates is a fitting game to celebrate the 25th year, so I hope everyone will play it. 37. 25th anniversary: This year (2015) marks 25 years from the release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light (Japan-only, 1990, NES), the first game in the Fire Emblem series.

Iwata:

Despite preparing for the previous game, Awakening, to be the final instalment, we’ve managed to reach our 25th year.

Higuchi:

Yes, thankfully. Twenty-five years ago, it was a series that made everyone do a special reset, just like Maeda-san’s t-shirt says. But a few games back we added Newcomer Mode38 as we lowered the difficulty so that first time players could play it…38. Newcomer Mode: A mode that allows players to continue to use characters who fall in battle. This was first introduced in the Japan-only 13th instalment, Fire Emblem: Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū (Nintendo DS, 2010) and, for Europe, in Fire Emblem: Awakening,(Nintendo 3DS, 2013.)

Iwata:

Newcomer Mode allows players to resurrect fallen units in the next chapter.

Higuchi:

Right. We thought that Newcomer Mode would allow 100% of players to play through the end of the main story. But there were still people who didn’t play until the end. So instead of lowering the difficulty even more, we added something called ‘Phoenix Mode’39 to Fates. As the name indicates, this allows a character to come back to life at their next turn. And this was also one of Maeda-san’s ideas.39. Phoenix Mode: A new feature of Fire Emblem Fates, this mode allows fallen characters to be resurrected during their next turn.

Maeda:

Right.

Higuchi:

By choosing Phoenix Mode, you’ll be able to feel more immersed in the Fire Emblem world even if playing simulation RPGs is not your forte. I hope everyone will play it until the end.

Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (4)

Iwata:

Yes. And finally, Yamagami-san.

Yamagami:

The first thing I want to say is that I want you all to think very carefully about which story you want to take before you proceed. Of course I guarantee that either will be fun, but I want people to look into the information that’s out there and ponder which one they want to play first. I want people to realise that the decisions start even before you buy the game. Now, if you look at the information out there on the internet, people have written that the Nohr storyline is harder, but don’t worry. I started out allying with the Nohr family, and I was able to play through to the end as usual.

Iwata:

You’ve never been very good at playing simulation games, Yamagami-san.

Yamagami:

That’s right. And with my personality, I can’t take a long time to think about how to move my unit. So I usually make careless moves and lose my units right away. But I was still able to make it to the end of this game. So don’t worry about that. Just play the one you want to play.

Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (5)

Iwata:

Speaking of which, there are Fire Emblemers who say, “If it’s not challenging, it’s not Fire Emblem.”

Yamagami:

Yes.

Iwata:

We’ve set it up so that those Fire Emblemers can play stoically if they want, right?

Yamagami:

Of course. I wonder if Lunatic40 is too difficult?40. Lunatic: A difficulty level in the game. The game has three different levels of difficulty: Lunatic, Hard and Normal. Lunatic is the most difficult level, and is for players who want the game to be as difficult as possible.

Maeda:

That’s true. Lunatic is pretty hard… (laughs)

Iwata:

Lunatic is so difficult, that even the developers ask, “How do we beat this?”, right?

Yamagami:

That’s right. Players can choose the level of difficulty, and we also have something called Classic Mode41. If you play in Classic Mode, your units don’t come back once they’ve fallen in battle. So if you want to make it through with all your units alive, you have to play very carefully. Because if they do fall…41. Classic Mode: Follows the original rule of Fire Emblem: fallen characters don’t come back.

Iwata:

Then it’s “Reset? Bring it on!”

Maeda:

Right. (laughs)

Yamagami:

So for those Fire Emblemers who want to play a really challenging Fire Emblem game, they’ll get that rewarding Fire Emblem experience by choosing Classic Mode. So I hope they will try it out.

Iwata:

Yes. So we ended up asking Kibayashi-san to do what turned out to be a really crazy job with a huge page count. But now I know that you enjoyed it, so I’m glad I was able to talk to you today.

Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (6)

Kibayashi:

It’s wonderful to enjoy a job. It was a really good experience.

Yamagami:

So does that mean you’re going to write our next storyline? (laughs)

Kibayashi:

Oh, you’re trying to get me to say “…hold on, please.” (laughs) It depends on what my schedule is like, so I can’t answer right now. But I did really enjoy this project, really!

All:

(laugh)

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Iwata Asks: Fire Emblem Fates (2024)
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