So apparently Iwata Asks was not enough. Instead, we ended up getting a brand new interview for Fire Emblem Awakening, and I actually couldn’t be happier. I won’t go through every question, but I will comment on some that I found pretty interesting.
8-4: This one’s super random, but, we noticed you often refer to Awakening as the 14th game in the series. But many fans consider it the 13th game. Which is it?
Yokota: Ah, that. (laughs) Well, there was a version of Fire Emblem released for Nintendo’s Super NES Satellaview service in Japan in 1997. If you include that, then Awakening is the 14th Fire Emblem game.
Satellaview: A satellite modem peripheral and network service that debuted in Japan for the Super NES in 1995. The service was discontinued in 2000.
BS Fire Emblem: Akaneia Senki: A set of four short Fire Emblem games broadcast on the Satellaview service in Japan beginning in 1997.
Well. Who knew they considered the Satellaview games as part of the main franchise. Crap. Well, this somewhat changes things. Well, maybe not all that much. But I might actually consider giving that an actual thought. I might not. What do you guys think? Personal opinion: I say yes because the Akaneia Senki games do take place in a Fire Emblem world and not outside of its realm (Ex, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem is an example of a side story to the main franchise), and I did play one of the chapters. So…yeah. But what do you guys think of that?
On Casual Mode (parts of it)
Higuchi: Tricky indeed. (laughs) I was on the side that said we shouldn’t include Casual mode to the end.
Yokota: Even after Awakening?
Higuchi: Well…I still think about it. It’s that nuance… If someone dies, you can’t just go and resurrect them like in other games. You need to think more carefully about the value of the lives you’re controlling in the game. It connects with the difficulty level, too — it makes you work your way through the game very carefully, which I think makes each victory all the more exhilarating. It’s one of the charms of Fire Emblem, which is probably why adding Casual mode generated a fair amount of controversy [within the team]…
Yokota: Oh, yeah. (laughs)
Higuchi: But while permadeath is a part of the series, it’s also something that I think kept a lot of people from trying the game. That’s not good for us, if people don’t even pick it up to see what kind of other things we’ve put into the game. And in the end we did get a lot of feedback from people who tried [Awakening] because of Casual mode, so in that respect I’m glad it’s there. But I still play in Classic mode myself.
Obviously, Classic/Casual has been a major debate or something that has at least turned off FE veterans, but in the end, Casual resonates with the newer generation of players since FE difficulty is pretty hard. And in reading the interview, holy crap the difficulty for the older generation games must have been crazy! Also, reset is your friend. Even when you don’t get the right stat increases!!!
8-4: Speaking of the early design ideas, in that Iwata Asks on Awakening, you mention some pretty crazy concepts you had. Like setting the game on planet Mars? Or in a modern-day setting?
Higuchi: Well, there were definitely a lot of proposals. (laughs)
Yokota: I think [that Mars idea] was near the end of the proposal process.
O.o So…again…Fire Emblem X Mars…uh….I…I…I think I might like a game like that–*stabbed*
8-4: Who exactly comes up with that story outline? And is that set in stone, or is there room for it to evolve as the game comes together?
Yokota: Mr. Maeda thought of the main story this time and wrote the outline for the main story.
Maeda: And things changed along the way, yes. (laughs) One thing common to all Fire Emblem games is that gameplay gets first priority — if something will improve gameplay, we don’t hesitate to rearrange other elements like who enters your party when, how each map is arranged, and that sort of thing. This stage of development is basically one long, extensive trial-and-error process.
No wonder I seem to like this game so much. My philosophy on FE is simple:
It seems they created a game specifically for my tastes…or maybe created a franchise based on that philosophy. But the reason why I don’t value story as much is because I can’t kill a game for being addicting in any other way. I mean, how else would I have enjoyed Radiant Dawn so much?
Otherwise, I thought it was a pretty interesting interview. Do you guys have any comments on what the developers of the game shared? Wait, you haven’t read the interview? Well go read it then come back!!!