Nintendo sure has a lot to announce in 2017 to get the year started strong. To start, they finally announced details over the highly anticipated new console dubbed ‘Switch’. We have all kinds of coverage, which you can find right here.
Just in case you watched that reveal and grew concerned that Nintendo was only trying to cater to the casual audience once again, Nintendo outdid themselves by holding a Nintendo Direct dedicated to Fire Emblem. Not just one, but Four different projects in the works. Take that, doubters! I’ve been a tad harsh on Fire Emblem lately, but I promise it’s always been out of love. Grid-based strategy games have always been my forte, with Advanced Wars and Shining Force being among my all time favorite series. That being said, I tuned into the direct with some expected skepticism, but I walked away feeling confident in the future of the series.
First up, Nintendo announced a remake of the 1992 Japanese exclusive ‘Fire Emblem: Gaiden” for NES. This time around, it will be dubbed ‘Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.’ The remake promises to rework the gameplay by stepping away from the traditional Fire Emblem setup and offering new(ish) mechanics like dungeon exploration and free roam.
Coupled with some larger free form versions of Character customization, the remake will hopefully give some new life to the series. Honestly, this is the most exciting announcement of the entire direct for me. If you’ve been with us long, you know I was pretty luke-warm on the direction that Intelligent Systems took with the last 3DS entry: Fire Emblem: Birthright. Daney was wild about the game, I found it stale. Hopefully, this will put me back in the mode for some Fire Emblem goodness. You can dive into Shadows of Valentia when it drops for Nintendo 3DS on May 19th, 2017.
(There will also be some fancy new Amiibo, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
I’m not sure why they didn’t just announce it at the Switch event, but Fire Emblem will be making its return to consoles in 2018. The console versions of Fire Emblem have been among my favorites, and though they didn’t share any details, you probably know what to expect.
Also coming to Switch, Koei Tecmo brought a new entry to their Dynasty Warriors spin-off series. We previously saw this in the form of ‘Hyrule Warriors’. The game took the trusted formula of sticking a multitude of enemies on the screen and giving you all the fan service you can muster to pummel them into oblivion. Obviously this time around, they’ve replaced the classic ‘Legend of Zelda’ Aesthetic with ‘Fire Emblem.’
Honestly, that’s exactly what it looks and feels like right now: More of the same.
I dug Hyrule Warriors because it offered a new spin on a franchise and lore that I hold very near and dear. Though some of you very well may, I don’t have the same admiration for the Fire Emblem universe (outside the music, that is… Good god, they’ve made some great tunes for FE games.) ‘Fire Emblem Warriors’ will be available for both Nintendo Switch and NEW Nintendo 3DS handhelds this fall. I’m curious to see how their strategy of continuing to offer the same game on two different consoles that are dubbed “portables” will play out.
Last, we have Nintendo’s third attempt at mobile brilliance.
‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ brings the grid-based strategy format we know and mobile games the hell out of it! With all battlefields being formatted to 8×6 grids, and the on field character models being chibi as ever, ‘Heroes’ will feel right at home with its mobile phone brethren.
The classic Fire Emblem gameplay is still present, so you won’t really have to relearn systems. It has however gained the most traditional mobile mechanic I’ve seen in a Nintendo mobile game to date. The new features seem to be focused on using orbs earned (or bought… because, mobile games!) to purchase both classic and new characters for use on the battlefield. The more you play, the more heroes you earn, trading up duplicate heroes to gain more power. While it hardly sounds unique, I’m sure it’s going to make a boatload of cash for the company. That being said, It will be a welcome addition to my slim mobile game library. Anything Nintendo releases to pass the time until they finally give some info on their ‘Animal Crossing’ mobile project is fine by me. You can pick up ‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ on iOS and Android when it releases on February 2nd.
So there you have it. Next time someone tries to give you that “Nintendo is for casuals” spiel, remind them of that time they announced four different Fire Emblem projects on the same day.