Fire Emblem is a popular tactical role-playing game (TRPG) series that has been captivating gamers for decades. First released in Japan in 1990, the series has since grown to become one of the most beloved franchises in the TRPG genre. In this post, we’ll take a look at the history of Fire Emblem and how it changed TRPGs forever.
The Fire Emblem series was created by Shouzou Kaga, a developer at Intelligent Systems, a division of Nintendo. Kaga had always been a fan of TRPGs and wanted to create a game that would bring new and exciting elements to the genre. He drew inspiration from his favorite TRPGs, such as Famicom Wars and Advance Wars, and set out to create a game that would stand out from the rest.
The Birth of a Classic: The Early Years of Fire Emblem
The first Fire Emblem game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, was released for the Famicom (the Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1990. The game received rave reviews and quickly became a cult classic in Japan. It featured a complex story, deep tactical gameplay, and permadeath mechanics, where characters that were killed in battle were permanently removed from the game.
The game’s success in Japan led to the release of several sequels, including Fire Emblem Gaiden, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, and Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. These games continued to build upon the series’ core mechanics and added new features, such as support conversations between characters and the ability to promote characters to higher classes.
However, it wasn’t until the release of Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade in 2003 that the series truly took off. The game was released for the Game Boy Advance and was the first Fire Emblem game to be released outside of Japan. It received critical acclaim and helped to establish the series as one of the most popular TRPGs on the market.
The Evolution of Fire Emblem: From The Blazing Blade to Three Houses
The success of The Blazing Blade prompted the release of several more games in the series, including Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. These games continued to build upon the series’ core mechanics and added new features, such as the ability to transfer save data between games.
Fire Emblem Awakening
In 2012, the series made its debut on a home console with Fire Emblem Awakening for the Nintendo 3DS. The game was a huge success, selling over 2 million copies worldwide, and is considered by many to be one of the best games in the series. It introduced several new features, such as the ability to play as a customizable avatar, and the ability to pair up characters in battle to gain special bonuses.
Fire Emblem Fates
Fire Emblem Fates was the next game in the series, released in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. This game was split into three different campaigns, each with their own story and characters. Fates was well received and it was followed by Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia in 2017, which was a remake of the second game in the series.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses
In 2018, Fire Emblem: Three Houses was released for the Nintendo Switch. The game was a huge success, selling over 4 million copies worldwide, and is considered by many to be the best game in the series. It introduced a new feature called the “Battalion” system, which allows players to recruit and train soldiers to fight alongside them in battle.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
The most recent game in the series is Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, a remake of the first game in the series, which was released in 2020 for the Nintendo Switch.
Fire Emblem: Setting the Standard for TRPGs
Throughout its history, Fire Emblem has consistently pushed the boundaries of what a TRPG can be. The series’ innovative mechanics, such as permadeath and support conversations, have set it apart from other TRPGs and helped to establish it as one of the most beloved franchises in the genre. The series’ focus on storytelling, character development, and deep tactical gameplay have helped to make it one of the most popular and respected TRPGs of all time.
One of the key elements that sets Fire Emblem apart from other TRPGs is its permadeath mechanics. In most TRPGs, characters that are defeated in battle simply become incapacitated and can be revived later. However, in Fire Emblem, characters that are defeated in battle are permanently removed from the game. This adds a sense of tension and urgency to battles and forces players to think carefully about their actions.
Another key element that sets Fire Emblem apart is its support conversations. In most TRPGs, characters are treated as interchangeable units that are deployed in battle. However, in Fire Emblem, each character has their own unique personality and backstory. As players progress through the game, they can engage in support conversations with other characters, which allows them to learn more about each character’s personality and backstory. This helps to create a sense of attachment to the characters and makes the game more emotionally engaging.
Final thoughts: The enduring legacy of Fire Emblem
In conclusion, Fire Emblem is a TRPG series that has stood the test of time and continues to be one of the most popular and respected franchises in the genre. From its innovative mechanics and deep tactical gameplay to its compelling storylines and character development, Fire Emblem has proven itself to be a true classic in the world of TRPGs. It has changed the TRPGs forever and continues to be a beloved franchise among gamers.
Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Emblem
Q: How many Fire Emblem games are there?
A: As of 2021, there are a total of 16 main series Fire Emblem games, along with several spin-off titles and remakes.
Q: What consoles can I play Fire Emblem on?
A: Fire Emblem games have been released on a variety of consoles, including the Famicom, Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, Wii U, and Nintendo Switch.
Q: Is there a main protagonist in the Fire Emblem series?
A: The main protagonist of the series varies depending on the game. Some games have a set main protagonist, while others allow players to create and customize their own character.
Q: Is there a multiplayer option in Fire Emblem?
A: Some games in the series feature a multiplayer mode, while others do not. The series has also introduced “Street Pass” option, which allows players to battle each other and exchange data through the 3DS and Switch.
Q: Can characters die permanently in Fire Emblem?
A: Yes, the series is known for its permadeath mechanics, where characters that are defeated in battle are permanently removed from the game.
Q: Is there a specific order to play the Fire Emblem games?
A: The games are not directly connected in terms of story, so there is no specific order in which they need to be played. Each game has its own unique story and characters, and can be enjoyed on its own.
Q: Are there any Fire Emblem mobile games?
A: Yes, there are several mobile spin-off games of Fire Emblem released for iOS and Android devices.