Fire Emblem If Analysis – What we know about the new upcoming 3ds game

NOTE: While I get in touch with some public relations teams so I can bring you up to date news, I thought I should write something to keep you all entertained!

Introduction

As you can see, I decided to write a comprehensive Fire Emblem If Analysis on the new games, so let’s take a look at both trailers (with more emphasis on the second one) and other available resources to see what we can find about them.

For starters, here’s both trailers for you to watch (the second one is subtitled and has some extra scenes you might not have seen before if you watched the english directs):

And here’s a link to the Japanese site, if you want to check that out too: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/bfwj/index.html

The Box Art for the three versions of Fire Emblem If in Japan.
The Box Art for the three versions of Fire Emblem If in Japan.

For those that don’t know yet, Nintendo has announced there will be two versions of the game coming out in Japan on June 25th, “Fire Emblem If – Hoshido” and “Fire Emblem If – Nohr”. If you buy the physical versions of the game, once you reach Chapter 6, where the story splits, you will automatically choose the side your game represents and you can add the other game route later through DLC. However, if you buy the digital version of the game you can choose which side to join and your game will be locked to that side, making you buy the other route to unlock it again. There’s also the Special Edition bundle that contains both routes and a third scenario that will be available for download at launch, in addition to an art book and a trading card from Fire Emblem Ø (Cypher) TCG. The rest of us will have to wait until 2016 for the game to reach western shores…

The first shipment of the Special Edition sold out like hot cakes, but a second and final one is on the way, so if you live in Japan or want to get your hands on one of them you should probably check out some retailers as soon as possible!

According to the site, apparently each scenario will have as much content in it as the Fire Emblem: Awakening game!

The three Special Characters unlocked by the TCG download codes - Marth, Lucina and Minerva.
The three Special Characters unlocked by the TCG download codes – Marth, Lucina and Minerva.

The first two decks and booster box of the Fire Emblem Ø TCG will also come with download codes for special unlockable characters, namely “The Prince of Altea, Marth”, “The Swordsman Who Goes By Marth, Lucina” and “Pegasus Knight Minerva”.

Now that we are done with that, let’s take a look at the story and characters!

Story and Characters

The text on the site explains that the central focus of this world will be the strained relationship between the two nations that will appear in the game, the peace-loving kingdom of Hoshido and the glory-seeking kingdom of Nohr. As the relationship between them reaches a critical point, a large scale conflict breaks out, and Kamui, the protagonist born in the Hoshidan royal family and raised by the Nohrian royal family, is faced with a great decision, which nation to side with! Depending on your choice, the game will provide you with different story events, battles and obtainable characters. Also, this choice is what originated the subtitle “If”.

Which side will you choose, the Hoshido or the Nohr?
Which side will you choose, the Hoshido or the Nohr?

On one hand, the Hoshido scenario will have a greater focus on protecting your Hoshidan birthplace and royal siblings from the Nohrian invasion, letting you earn experience, funds and freely develop your characters outside of the main story. On the other hand, we have the Nohr scenario, where you will have to work with your Nohrian royal siblings to revolutionise the unruly kingdom of Nohr from the inside, while experiencing a higher difficulty, with limited opportunities to earn both experience and funds. The final and third scenario will present a story where the protagonist won’t side with either nation. I wonder if this means we will have to fight both!?

Now, let’s take a look at the various characters starring in the game, beginning with the Avatar. I will be using the Japanese names for this…

Kamui, the default Avatar.
Kamui, the default Avatar.

Avatar: This time around, the Avatar will be the main character of the game, letting players customize the name, gender and appearance of their character. In promotional materials he/she has been referred to as Kamui. In this game, the main character’s default class is not Lord but Dark Prince, a class previously exclusive to Julius, the main antagonist of the second generation of FE: Genealogy of the Holy War. The class allows for the use of both swords and dragonstones, including Kamui’s signature golden blade, the Yatogami (literally meaning Night Blade God), in addition to the “dragon’s vein” ability, that lets him/her alter the terrain of the battle map.

Aqua, the mysterious main heroine.
Aqua, the mysterious main heroine.

Aqua: The main heroine of the game is this mysterious blue haired girl who is seen gracefully dancing and singing in various cutscenes. Normally appearing unarmed, the artwork on the site depicts her wielding a lance or staff. Although we know she’s important to the plot, her background is currently unclear. Also, she has been shown wearing similar costumes in purple and white colors, probably wearing one or the other depending on who you side with. Moreover, she is constantly seen on the battle map, indicating she is someone important who follows you no matter which side you pick.

Who might this regal-looking woman be?
Who might this regal-looking woman be?

???: This serene and elegant woman is likely the ruler of Hoshido due to her regal-looking appearence and demeanor. In her first appearence, she seems glad to see the Avatar. Could we be looking at his/her mother or will they be related in some other way?

Ryouma, the Avatar's elder brother.
Ryouma, the Avatar’s elder brother.

Ryouma: The red-armored man pictured above is the Avatar’s elder brother and apparently the figurehead of Hoshido’s military. He is seen clashing blades with Marx in both trailers. He wields a blue-edged, lightning-charged blade, that is similar to the one held by a different Hoshidan man that is impaled with arrows by Nohrian forces, as seen during the second trailer. Could this blade be an eastern-styled Levin Sword that is inherited by Ryouma from his now dead ancestor?

Could Takumi be this bow-wielding noble?
Could Takumi be this bow-wielding noble?

Takumi(?): I’m assuming this archer is Takumi and that he will be Hoshido’s military second in command, since the name in question is mentioned by Orochi alongside Ryouma’s with the same level of respect/authority and he seems to be important among the Hoshidan characters.

Hinoka, one of the Avatar's Hoshidan kin.
Hinoka, one of the Avatar’s Hoshidan kin.

Hinoka: This tomboyish Pegasus Knight was first seen on the initial teaser trailer. Contrary to her generally serious expression, she seems to have a softer side, since we can see her crying into the Avatar’s chest during one of the scenes while muttering “All this time, I kept believing… that we’d meet again”. Maybe this scene happens when the Avatar is reunited with his blood-related family?

Sakura, the Avatar's younger sister.
Sakura, the Avatar’s younger sister.

Sakura: As you could probably tell from the trailer, she is the Avatar’s blood-related little sister on the Hoshidan side. Judging from the staff she’s wielding, her sprite’s design and the quick realization of Orochi’s wounds on her part, she will very likely be some kind of healer. She tries to convince you to join Hoshido and is very happy to be able to follow you around if you happen to do so.

Kazahana, one of the Avatar's bodyguards.
Kazahana, one of the Avatar’s bodyguards.

Kazahana: A Hoshidan swordswoman who is elected as one of the Avatar’s bodyguards and claims to be Sakura’s most trusted subordinate. Curiously, there seem to be a few differences between her current sprite and the one we saw on the first trailer, like how her eyes seem to be wide open now… maybe a conscious change on part of the design team?
From all the characters they have shown so far, I think I like her design the most!

Tsubaki, another one of the Avatar's bodyguards.
Tsubaki, another one of the Avatar’s bodyguards.

Tsubaki: A Hoshidan seen speaking with Kazahana, probably another one of the Avatar’s bodyguards. He says he has doubts about Kazahana’s claim, which seems to indicate he might be Sakura’s subordinate too. Although he has almost no screen-time, his gender is highly debated, because he is seen fighting on top of a pegasus, something usually reserved for female characters.

Orochi
Orochi, the enigmatic ice magic user.

Orochi: A brown-haired woman who is seen supporting Linca during battle. She seems to have a loyal personality because, in one of the scenes, despite being badly wounded, she still comes to warn the Avatar and his/her group that Lord Ryouma and Lord(?) Takumi are in danger near the country’s borders. Her hand fan seems to separate into  8 talisman looking pieces that rotate while casting ice magic in battle. I find it funny because, in Japanese folklore, there is a tale involving a snake dragon named Orochi that has 8 heads and 8 tails! Coincidence? I think not!

Saizou, the ninja accompanying Orochi.
Saizou, the ninja accompanying Orochi.

Saizou: This masked man accompanying Orochi, appears to be one of two ninja-like characters on the Hoshidan side. We only get to see him alert the group to an urgent message from Orochi. Perhaps, his main role is that of a messenger and scout?

Linca, the mace wielding fighter.
Linca, the mace wielding fighter.

Linca: A red and white haired woman that appears a few times, but never with a clear view of her face. In the bridge map shown in the first trailer, we can see her name for a split-second when the cursor standing on Hinoka moves over to her (it reads Rinka, probably read Linca). She is also seen wielding a new type of weapon, an eastern styled mace. The other ninja mentioned above is seen fighting by her side too.

Felicia and what seems to be the other one of the Avatar's maids.
Felicia and what seems to be the other one of the Avatar’s maids.

Felicia: One of the Avatar’s maids. She appears on the box art for the Hoshido version, while her blue-haired counterpart appears on the box art for the Nohr version. Strangely enough, both maids appear in the same scene the first time we see them, but not in the same map on the second trailer. If it is the same character, the blue-haired maid can actually be seen riding an horse too! One of the maids will probably end up following you after you choose a side, Felicia in case you pick Hoshido.

Garon, the presumed ruler of Nohr.
Garon, the presumed ruler of Nohr.

Garon: Apparently, this ruthless old man could be the ruler of Nohr and the father of Marx and his siblings. In the first trailer, we see him watching Aqua’s dancing performance from high up in the balcony, while in the second trailer, he oversees the execution of a Hoshidan male before making a grabbing motion towards the camera’s direction. Maybe this is the moment in which the Avatar is taken under his wing and becomes a member of the Nohrian family?

Marx, the Avatar's adoptive elder brother.
Marx, the Avatar’s adoptive elder brother.

Marx: Nohr’s counterpart to Ryouma, he presumably acts as an elder brother towards the Avatar and is the military leader of his nation. He wields a purple-edged, darkness-imbued blade, which he uses to battle Ryouma and make short work out of a Nosferatu. Could this blade be a western styled Runesword? In one of the presented scenes, he is apparently questioning his father’s actions, suggesting he has some kind of sense of justice.

Who could this powerful-looking mage be?
Who could this powerful-looking mage be?

???: Probably the second in command of the Nohrian forces, mirroring Takumi’s role. Once again, someone we’re barely introduced to. From his appearance, the tome in his hand and the fact he is riding an horse, it’s evident he’s a magic-user of some kind, perhaps a Dark Knight?

Camilla, one of the Avatar's Nohrian kin.
Camilla, one of the Avatar’s Nohrian kin.

Camilla: Although she initially seems to have a seductive and villainous behavior, there is at least one scene where she appears to be genuinely worried for the Avatar, which might indicate otherwise. In one of the maps shown, she can be spotted as a playable wyvern rider.

The Avatar's adoptive little sister.
The Avatar’s adoptive little sister.

???: This young, blonde-haired girl is Sakura’s Nohrian counterpart and appears fond of the Avatar, her big brother (or sister). In the moment the Avatar must choose a side, she tries to sway you, along with Marx, to the Nohrian side. She appears as both an enemy and a playable unit on two of the maps shown, most likely changing roles according to your previous choice. On the teaser trailer you can momentarily see her sprite and she is riding an horse, so she is probably a troubadour.

And now that we are done taking a look at some of the game’s characters, let me share with you a few interesting details and thoughts about the gameplay, trailers and screenshots.

Gameplay Details and Other Impressions

Aqua turns around to face the Avatar.
Aqua turns around to face the Avatar.

At the beginning of the second trailer we can see Aqua singing near a lake and, towards the ending of the scene, turn around to face someone. That someone is presumably the Avatar, since we are later presented with a scene where Kamui explains to her his/her various familial bonds.

Is this all happening in the same place?
Is this all happening in the same place?

Interestingly enough, this lake seems like it could be the same place where the dragon from the first trailer tries to strangle Aqua underwater. We now know this dragon is the avatar because we can see him transform in a later scene. Could it be he somehow loses control of his powers and consequently tries to attack her?

The Avatar transforms into a dragon.
The Avatar transforms into a dragon.

Also, you might now be wondering if the Avatar is a manakete, since he can transform into a dragon, right? Well, I have got a much better theory about that…
Remember when I mentioned the Avatar’s class is exactly the same as Julius’, the antagonist from Genealogy of the Holy War? Coincidently, it happens that Julius is also the possessed host of Loptyr, a Dark Dragon from the Earth Dragon tribe!

Left: Fan art of Julius and Loptyr; Right: The Loptyr Tome used by Julius in the game.
Left: Fan art of Julius and Loptyr; Right: The Loptyr Tome used by Julius in the game.

Loptyr is one of the mad dragons who fought to oppress humanity in the war with Naga and the Divine Dragons, thousands of years before the events of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. During said war, he was approached by the bishop Galle and made a blood pact with him to avoid death, granting Galle great power in return of possession over his body and those of his descendants. Said possession was achieved through the Loptyr Tome, named after himself. Due to these events, Loptyr was one of the two Earth Dragons who avoided mental degeneration, the other being Medeus from the original Fire Emblem (Maybe we can add Awakening’s Grima to that list now?). The tome’s spell has the unique effect of halving the attack power of enemy units before defenses are applied, something that can only be nullified with the aid of the Book of Naga, an item that recently reappeared in Awakening.
All of this to say, there is a big chance the Avatar, being a Dark Prince like Julius, has something to do with yet another evil Earth Dragon who fought against Naga and friends several thousands of years ago! Let us wait and see what Intelligent Systems has in store for us…

Could this pendant be the new Fire Emblem?
Could this pendant be the new Fire Emblem?

Next, I would like to point your attention to the necklace and pendant Aqua is constantly seen carrying around. Not only does it seem to react to her voice when she sings, it is actually used to dispel Kamui’s dragon transformation in the first trailer… Considering the fact Aqua apparently follows you whichever side you choose, it seems to me this magical pendant is more than meets the eye and it’s highly likely we might be looking at this game’s Fire Emblem!

Left: The Avatar's "dragon's vein" ability; Right: The dragon statue overlooking an Hoshidan locality.
Left: The Avatar’s “dragon’s vein” ability; Right: The dragon statue overlooking an Hoshidan locality.

Moving on, we can eventually see a giant statue of a dragon holding a globe. Could this statue overlooking an Hoshidan locality represent one of the ancient dragons? Maybe it’s a statue of Naga, one of the Divine Dragons or even an Earth Dragon? It must be connected to the Avatar and royal family in some way however, since the Avatar can transform into a a dragon and use the terramorphing ability mentioned above, the “dragon’s vein”. The name of the ability also seems to imply it might belong exclusively to a particular bloodline. By the way, “dragon’s vein” comes from a Chinese term for terrain that resembles a dragon and such terrain usually has important feng shui properties.

The two dresses Aqua will wear depending on your choice.
The two dresses Aqua will wear depending on your choice.

While we are on the subject of Aqua and the Avatar, I would like to point out that Aqua will have a different dress in this scene depending on your choice. However, the scene seems to always happen regardless of which side you choose… Didn’t they say the story would be different after Chapter 6? Then, why is this scene happening in both scenarios?

The Dual System is back and this time enemies can use it too!
The Dual System is back and this time enemies can use it too!

When it comes to gameplay features, one of the most noticeable changes is the fact enemy units can now use the Dual System, just like your own units! I think the relevant question now is if they can Pair Up like your units can? I could totally see that screwing with the player in the most unexpected ways possible…
In addition, the bottom screen used during battles seems to have received a makeover too, possibly to accommodate this new change. You can now see if enemies have a support partner and the extra Damage, Hit and Critical they provide. I still haven’t figured out what the 4 square and circular boxes are supposed to be, though… maybe it’s where the Auto, Fast Forward and other similar buttons will be?

The character status screen while on the map.
The character status screen while on the map.

These status screen screenshots proved to be quite interesting, you know? If you pay attention, you can now see that characters have 6 skill slots instead of 5! This suggests Second Seals will be back unless there is another way to acquire skills or there would be no use in increasing the number of slots for them.
Moreover, weapons now seem to have infinite uses! It’s normal for the Avatar you say? Then take a look at the enemy thief then, why would he have infinite bow uses otherwise!? By the way, did you notice? Thieves now seem to use bows instead of swords, weird…
There is also a battle between Kazahana and a thief in the first trailer where we can see that bows are now weak against swords… maybe they are weak to all weapons when up close but strong against them from afar?
Even stranger is the fact that Dragonstones now have graded weapon ranks just like other weapons! Does that mean there are various different kinds of Dragonstones now?
Speaking of weapons, so far we have seen four new eastern inspired weapons. They are Katanas (swords), Naginatas (lances), Kanabōs (maces), and Ofuda (talismans).

Will monsters make a reappearence in this game?
Will monsters make a reappearence in this game?

Finally, I would like to touch on the subject of monsters. By the end of the second trailer, the Avatar runs into a monster he refers to as “Nosferatu”. We actually saw this same exact monster being fought by Marx in the first trailer. Could “Nosferatu” be a term used to describe this kind of monsters or is this a specific monster called Nosferatu?
Also, I’m really curious about that giant golem inspired by the mouth of truth! Do you think we will be able to fight one during the story?

Final Thoughts and Conclusion

And with this we bring our Fire Emblem If Analysis to an end!
It seems like most of the features available in Fire Emblem: Awakening will make a return, some of them improved, save for the marriage system, which we haven’t seen any indication of being present in the game yet.
It seems like we are in for a treat anyways, since Intelligent Systems is putting a lot of work into this game. They made three storylines the size of Awakening! Not one, not two, but three! If that isn’t dedication I don’t know what is!

Before I give you a chance to share your thoughts on all this, I need to give some special thanks to:
– shadowofchaos725 for the English translated direct footage;
– Serenes Forest, GameXplain and Siliconera for various chunks of information;
– Pixiv ID 36143208 for the awesome Julius and Loptyr fan art (unfortunately, the profile was private and I couldn’t get the artists’ name…).

Finally, I wanted to ask you all, my fellow Fire Emblem fans, what you think about all of this?
Did you catch any other interesting details I missed?
What is your favorite character so far?

Share your opinion with us in the comments section below or through the social media! Let’s get that discussion going everyone!

Thank you very much for reading, I hope you liked it! Please, share it with your friends if you did!

 

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Tanya
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Wow, what a thorough review! I feel like I have actually played the game now. You provided me with an exceptional amount of detail. I will be sharing this will all of my gaming friends!

Andrew
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Hey Eduardo, loved the analysis! I’ve been wanting to get into the Fire Emblem games for some time now, I’m a huge Nintendo fan but have never touched this series. Do you think this would be a good jumping on point or would you be able to recommend a good Fire Emblem title to start with?

Also, I wanted to comment on the DLC that they’re going with here, the two separate routes that you can choose between and then pay for the other. I actually like this method of adding DLC and I think it would work well with Pokemon in particular. Buy one version and unlock the other version’s exclusives through a paid DLC. That would be awesome!

I’m pretty impressed with your site, as I said I’m a huge Nintendo fan so I’ll definitely be bookmarking this one! I look forward to seeing it grow!

Ana
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Ana

Hi Eduardo, this is indeed a very comprehensive analysis of the game. I don’t play myself, but my teenage godson loves games and I was thinking of offering him a new game. However, after reading your analysis I’m indecisive whether to buy the physical game or the digital one. Which one do you think will give him a more engaging/fun experience when playing? You also say that with the digital purchase I would have to buy the other route to unlock it. It sounds like it can come out to be a bit expensive buying digital?! Any thoughts on this?

Michel
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Hello there, You have done an incredible job. I will definitely digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
I’m sure they will be benefited from this site.