Alm and Celica Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Fire Emblem Direct Shows Nintendo’s Commitment to the Series

With four new Fire Emblem titles coming soon, Wednesday’s Fire Emblem Direct outlined a bright future for the franchise

Fire Emblem fans rejoice! It has been a long journey, but Wednesday’s Fire Emblem Direct confirmed the company’s dedication to the franchise. During the 20 minute presentation (video below), Nintendo discussed four new Fire Emblem titles releasing worldwide in the next two years. Three of those titles, Fire Emblem Heroes, Fire Emblem Echoes, and Fire Emblem Warriors will all be released in 2017. In 2018, a Fire Emblem title will be coming to the Switch, the first home-console Fire Emblem game since Radiant Dawn was released for Wii in 2006.

Here’s a more in-depth look at each of the titles discussed in Wednesday afternoon’s Fire Emblem Direct.

Fire Emblem Heroes (Releasing on iOS and Google Play on February 2)

Fire Emblem Heroes will be Nintendo’s third major release on mobile devices, and boy does it look interesting. The game will feature a new story that pits new heroes from The Askran Kingdom against the Emblian Empire. Two new protagonists, brother and sister duo Alfonse and Sharena, fight for the Askr… with a little help. Fire Emblem Heroes allows you to summon heroes from other Fire Emblem games and add them to your army. You can summon classics like Marth, Lucina, Robin and Anna, but also incredibly obscure characters like the mage Nino from Fire Emblem 7. It was never said in the Direct just how many heroes will be included in the game, but some very under-appreciated characters could be found in the trailer.

Fire Emblem Direct
A new hero, Alfonse.

Traditional Fire Emblem gameplay lives on in Fire Emblem Heroes. Players lead their army against an opposing force in an effort to reach an object. Battle animations like those found on the GBA titles return, and they look great. The characters are a bit chibi in design, but they look extremely cool in my opinion. The catch? Each map is very small, just 8 x 6, so you can clear challenges quickly. These small maps also mean you can only bring four or five troops to each battle. The trailer suggested that the difficulty hardcore fans expect will be there, but that seems unlikely given the map sizes. We’ll just have to wait a few weeks to see.

Fire Emblem Direct
Play as beloved characters like Lucina and Marth, or hardcore favorites like Ninian.

In addition to the story mode, there are three additional game modes: Training Tower, Special Maps and Arena Duels. Special Maps and Arena Duels weren’t detailed much. The Special Maps will feature seasonal challenges, while the Arena Duels will focus on earning a high score through winning battles. In the Training Tower, players will be able to train their heroes to increase their power. There will also be “Hero Battles” somewhere in the game that allow players to recruit enemy characters. In the trailer, the swordsman Navarre, from Shadow Dragon, led an enemy army and was recruited over to the player after being defeated.

All in all, the gameplay of Fire Emblem Heroes looked fun, especially for a mobile game. But what got me most excited, aside from the dozens of characters shown, was the artwork. Every character has been redrawn and given a fresh voiceover. The artwork is stunning, and I can’t wait to see how these artists reimagined my favorite characters. 

Fire Emblem Direct
This was the moment I knew I needed Fire Emblem Heroes.

The game will be free-to-play as well, which I believe is the right choice for a growing franchise like Fire Emblem. Nintendo could get away with a $10 price tag on Mario Run, even if it wasn’t a popular choice, but Fire Emblem is different. The game will offer optional in-game microtransactions that allow players to quickly buy gems used to summon new characters. You can earn these in-game as well, but the trailer did not say how plentiful they were. I know I’ll be spending a ton of cash on this, but it will absolutely be worth it to recruit Marth. 

Lastly, at the end of the Fire Emblem Direct, Nintendo opened a Fire Emblem Heroes website dedicated to the game that allows players to voice which characters they want in the game. The top male and female vote receivers will have a featured role in Heroes, and also wear a special “Choose your Hero” costume! Vote Marth and Cordelia everyone!

Fire Emblem Heroes releases on February 2nd, just two weeks from today.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (3DS, May 19th)

Now this was a bombshell. I don’t think anyone expected a new Fire Emblem 3DS game to be released so soon after Fates. And no one on earth could have predicted the game would be a remake of the 1992 Japan-only Fire Emblem Gaiden! But that’s exactly what we’re getting this May, only on 3DS. And I couldn’t be happier. 

Fire Emblem Direct
Alm and Celica are adoptive brother and sister, and both appear to be completely dominant.

Fire Emblem Echoes will follow Alm and Celica, adopted siblings, fighting to save the continent of Valentia. There are two waring kingdoms, Zofia and Rigel, each ruled by a different god. In Zofia, Mila rules the land with excessive love and generosity. Her gifts spoiled her people, causing them to become vain and over-indulgent. Rigel, meanwhile, is ruled by Duma. He believes that humans need to live through nothing but strength. His kingdom is powerful, but the people are cold. It’s a fine premise, but I’m very curious to see if they update the game with support conversations that are so critical to the series. Cutscenes will return, and they look even better than the excellent visuals found in Fates and Awakening. It’s much more anime-looking, but it gives the game a different feel compared to the previous two Fire Emblem entries. Nintendo is keeping the series’s presentation fresh.

Fire Emblem Gaiden has always been looked at as the oddball of the series. It feature dungeons with randomly encountered enemies, town exploration and a traversable overworld map. Some of these features have returned in future installments, but Gaiden’s differences are notable. Characters can change classes at will, and enemy encounters result in brief battles in the same grid-based battles the series is known for. It looks like all of that will be returning to Echoes, and I can’t wait to test it out. This was the biggest surprise of the Fire Emblem Direct, and its best bit of news in my opinion. Nintendo is recreating a Japanese only entry and introducing it to the west for the first time since Shadow Dragon. That’s a loud statement declaring their faith in the Fire Emblem franchise. 

Fire Emblem Direct
These are so cool… but also #FreeCorrin

And hey, there are two more crazy cool Fire Emblem amiibo figures for you to collect. Both Alm and Celica will be packaged together and released the same day as the game, May 19th. As an avid amiibo collector, these are must buys for me.

Fire Emblem Warriors (Switch/New 3DS, Fall 2017)

During the Switch reveal, Fire Emblem Warriors was briefly teased. There wasn’t a whole lot of new information here, but we did get to see Chrom picking up where we last left him. He draws Falchion, where the Switch reveal left off, and proceeds to carve through hordes of Risen. We see him use a super move, complete with the critical strike cut-in from Fates and Awakening, and completely obliterate the enemy army. 

Fire Emblem Direct
Strange that Chrom isn’t wielding Exalted Falchion.

The biggest news, however, came when they announced the game for New 3DS as well. Fire Emblem has long made itself at home on 3DS, and Hyrule Warriors released there as well, so this isn’t a huge shock. Still, it is very cool to see the game being made as accessible as possible. Hyrule Warriors was pretty huge, and I expect Fire Emblem Warriors will do just as well, especially when released on both the Switch and New 3DS. 

Also, that music track playing during the trailer is fire. I cannot wait for this game’s soundtrack to be released. My heart rate soared to unreasonable levels during this entire Fire Emblem Direct, but the Fire Emblem Warriors theme was the pinnacle of hype. 

Fire Emblem Switch (Switch, 2018)

Sandwiched in between the Echoes and Warriors news was a subtle bomb that got my fellow Nintendo Entertainment Podcast host Todd Black jumping out of his skin. In 2018, for the first time since Radiant Dawn, a Fire Emblem game will be headed to a Nintendo home console. Nothing was shown from the game, as it’s still in early development, but we know it’s coming. I hope we’ll hear more at E3.

Fire Emblem Direct

As a die-hard Fire Emblem fan, this Fire Emblem Direct could not have been more perfect. The series will be introduced to a mass audience on mobile devices in just two weeks. We’ll be getting our second 3DS title in two years in May, and come Fall Warriors will be released. Fire Emblem just keeps on growing, and so long as the quality remains what it’s been I can’t see that trend ending. Nintendo is betting on Fire Emblem, making it a corner-piece franchise. It’s fair to say that Fire Emblem means more to them than Metroid, Star Fox, and perhaps even the Donkey Kong franchise at this point in time. That’s insane to acknowledge, especially when you consider that Awakening was supposed to be the series’s final entry. 

For more Nintendo coverage, stick around The Outerhaven. Our very own Wario Will went hands on with the Nintendo Switch on Friday and wrote about his Switch impressions (he loved it). You can also check out the Nintendo Entertainment Podcast for all your Nintendo needs. We’ll be talking about this Fire Emblem Direct and much much more, so stay tuned!