The Fire Emblem If developers recently talked about why they added the new Phoenix Mode to this game, you can get more info on that on our earlier post.
However, in the interview they recently provided to Famitsu magazine, they also discussed the challenges involved in introducing new fans to the series.
In the beginning of the interview, the Famitsu journalists point out that Fire Emblem If has a story that splits into different paths and asked the developers to share what was the concept behind that idea.
According to Genki Yokota from Nintendo, Fire Emblem originally started out as a series of games where big nations go to war with each other and where the player often gets to decide how units move around on the battlefield. With this game, they felt it would be fun for the player to be able to also make choices that can change the story, an idea that excited everyone both at Nintendo and Intelligent Systems.
As the deveoloper says, having your own character as the protagonist is something they have wanted to do for a while.
“There will be more freedom in customizing your own character than there was in Fire Emblem Awakening, so you’ll be able to make quite the detailed protagonist” added Intelligent Systems director Kohei Maeda.
“The entire series faces an eternal challenge of ‘how to please those who have been playing Fire Emblem and those who have yet to play it’ and that’s something I’ve been thinking about even before the plans were done for (this) game” said producer Masahiro Higuchi.
He continues by saying, “We took on that challenge with things like Casual mode in the previous game, which lets you adjust the difficulty, and have been thinking of other approaches since then as well. That’s when we got the idea that if we could have players make a choice between a story that is split into two, it would add another element for them to enjoy. And we felt that it would be nice to be able to change the difficulty and the way (the two games) are played, and that’s how the two Ifs came to be.”
Next, the conversation touches on the Arena, a feature that has been around for a long time in the series that players can use to train their characters and gain money, usually during specific chapters of the games. Mr. Higuchi teases that Fire Emblem If might have something similar to this Arena, however, instead of experience points, players would be able to fight for something completely different. More details on this will be announced in a near future.
Moving on, Famitsu asks if certain characters can be an ally in one side of the story and an enemy in the other.
According to Maeda, Intelligent Systems have always had the idea of having an ally turning into an enemy, but they haven’t been able to bring it to fruition up until now. With If’s splitting storyline, where each scenario is different form the other, this has been made possible, and you will see allies from one scenario appear as very strong opponents in the other scenario.
After this, Famitsu tried to ask about who could possibly be our allies in the third scenario, assuming that you won’t be siding with either kingdom, to which Yokota responds with a laugh and says that it isn’t something they want to discuss yet.
“You can play the third scenario without having cleared White Kingdom or Black Kingdom”, Higuchi clarified. “However, I believe that it will feel more interesting if you were to play it after you have cleared the game at least once.”
A special ability called “Dragon Pulse” has been touched upon before, but we now know that it allows characters who belong to royalty to make changes on the battlefield, such as building bridges, causing earthquakes and flattening mountains. Yokota said that eight characters from both kingdoms will have these special dragon powers and that, depending on the map, all sorts of different things could happen.
“There are advantages and disadvantages depending on the timing with which you use this Dragon Pulse, so it would be fun to mess around with it and try out different strategies”, said Maeda. “Again, it’s not only the players that can use the Dragon Pulse, but also anyone with a dragon’s power on the enemy’s side.”
Fire Emblem If is planned for release on June 25, 2015 in Japan and for 2016 in the West.
Finally, here’s a gallery with the magazine scans: