Fire Emblem Fates (ファイアーエムブレムif Faia Emuburemu Ifu, lit. Fire Emblem if in Japan), is a Japanese tactical role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS, developed by Intelligent Systems, and published by Nintendo. It is the fourteenth game in the Fire Emblem series. It was released in Japan on June 25, 2015 and internationally in 2016. Furthermore, Fire Emblem Fates is a first title in the franchise that was officially released in South Korea. The game is rated C (CERO) in Japan, T (ESRB) in America, and 12 (PEGI) in Europe.
This title features the first title split, in which two different versions of the game exist, each one with a unique story. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright (ファイアーエムブレムif 白夜王国 Fire Emblem if Byakuya Oukoku, lit. Fire Emblem if: White Night Kingdom) follows the story of the Avatar, joining the Kingdom of Hoshido and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest (ファイアーエムブレムif 暗夜王国 Fire Emblem if Anya Oukoku, lit. Fire Emblem if: Dark Night Kingdom) which follows the story of the Avatar, joining the Kingdom of Nohr instead.
A limited edition version was released containing both story-lines plus a third story-line titled Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation (ファイアーエムブレムif インビジブル・キングダム Fire Emblem if Inbijiburu Kingudamu, lit. Fire Emblem if: Invisible Kingdom), also released as DLC and involves the player aligning with neither kingdom. It has been released concurrent with the other versions. A special themed Nintendo 3DS has been released with the game.
Development and ReleaseEdit
Fire Emblem Fates was first revealed in the January 2015 Nintendo Direct worldwide and was released in Japan on June 25, 2015. It is developed by the same team that created the previous title; Fire Emblem Awakening and Yūsuke Kozaki designed the characters of the game as well. Manga writer Shin Kibayashi has joined the writing team. According to Satoru Iwata during the Nintendo Direct, the player will have to make numerous choices during the game that will affect the overall story. Unlike past games where choices had little effect on the story, these will be larger choices, and the player will face greater challenges.
In the April 2015 Nintendo Direct it was revealed that the game will revolve around two kingdoms about to enter a great war with each other: the peace-loving country of Hoshido and the glory-seeking country of Nohr. The player will have to choose a country to represent, changing the story overall and will affect the difficulty, which is predetermined by the version of the game bought. There are two versions of the game, each one following a specific story line. Birthright follows the Hoshido storyline which is designed to be friendly for all players, returning or new. Conquest follows the Nohr storyline which is designed to be much more challenging. At the beginning of Chapter 6, the player will have to choose their faction. DLC will be available for all versions of Fates in which the storyline not chosen will be playable on that copy of the game. A third storyline option was also released as DLC sometime after release which revolves around the player choosing neither side. A special edition of the game containing all three paths is available, also after launch of the original two.
Japanese video game website 4Gamer posted an interview with the Fates development team on April 28, 2015. The interview covered a few more details regarding the storyline. The Hoshido route is designed to be more like Awakening, allowing players to train units outside of battle. The Nohr route will be more challenging with less funds and experience on top of more diverse victory tactics compared to Awakening. Players can also adjust the difficulty of the Nohr route if it becomes too difficult. All versions of the game will be the same about 1/6th of the way through, up to Chapter 6, but the rest of the game for all three versions will be different. The idea of choice in the game was inspired from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and its remake Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon where the player was given the choice between recruiting Samson or Arran, but not both. A third route was also created to give the players an option of not vilifying one side. Details about the third storyline were slightly discussed, revealing that the difficulty of the third route is between the Hoshido and Nohr routes.
In the E3 2015 Digital Event, Fire Emblem Fates's official localized name was revealed. GameInformer, in June 2015, revealed that like Japan, North America will receive two different versions called Birthright for the Hoshido side and Conquest for the Nohr side. The November 2015 Nintendo direct confirmed that North America would also receive a special edition containing all three storyline routes. Customers with this version will have Revelation available from the launch date. Alternatively, customers who buy the split versions have the option to buy the opposite storyline at a reduced cost and Revelation. Revelation was not available for non-Special Edition copies until March 10, 2016. The first wave of DLC was also confirmed for Fates and can be bought in its entirety for a reduced cost or separately for full price. Like Awakening, these DLC packs will be released on a weekly basis.
Fire Emblem Fates was released in South Korea, making the first Fire Emblem game to be translated into the Korean language, although this game has English voices only while retaining the Japanese confessions.
Thousands of years ago, a great war between the First Dragons took place, causing great destruction. One dragon decided to involve humans into the war by forging legendary weapons to end the war. While successful, this unfortunately introduced war to the humans.
In the present, Fates is primarily set on an unnamed continent in the territories of the kingdoms of Hoshido and Nohr. Their royalty share a similar line of descent from ancient dragons, but each kingdom worships different dragon deities, the Dawn Dragon and Dusk Dragon respectively. A third central location is the hidden kingdom of Valla, a place only accessible through the Bottomless Canyon which separates Hoshido and Nohr. Once ruled by humans, it is now ruled by the dragon Anankos, who has usurped the throne of Valla and is intentionally provoking war between the two kingdoms.
In the Hidden Truths DLC, it is revealed that Anankos was formerly a kind dragon who gave wisdom to humanity, but his growing power and inability to ascend to the spirit realm with the world's other dragons began corrupting him. After he killed Valla's king in an uncontrolled fit of bestial rage, he finally went mad: his remaining sanity and kindness took temporary shelter in a human form and fathered the Avatar before dying, while his dragon self began an insane crusade to destroy humanity.
Several years prior to the start of Fates, Hoshido's King Sumeragi is ambushed by Nohr's King Garon during a fake peace treaty talk between the nations and is killed. King Garon kidnaps Sumeragi's young child, the Avatar, and decides to raise them to serve his purposes. Meanwhile, back in Hoshido, without their king, Sumeragi's wife Mikoto becomes the new ruler of the kingdom.
The Avatar, child of Garon, King of Nohr, is a young member of the Nohrian Royal Family who had been living in isolation for years in Northern Fortress. The Avatar was frequently visited by their siblings: Xander, the crown prince of Nohr; Camilla, the eldest princess; Leo, the youngest prince; and Elise, the youngest princess. After spending many years training to win Garon's approval to leave the fortress, King Garon allows them to leave the fortress and serve him, first by executing prisoners captured from the neighboring kingdom of Hoshido. When they refused to execute them, Garon tasks them to scout an abandoned outpost at the Bottomless Canyon, a vast canyon separating Nohr from Hoshido. At the canyon, the Avatar and their retainer Gunter are betrayed by Hans, a Nohrian ruffian, who attacks Gunter, sending him into the Bottomless Canyon. Enraged, the Avatar discovers their latent dragon traits, but before they can exact their vengeance, they are flung into the canyon by the Ganglari, a sword gifted to them by King Garon. Suddenly Lilith, another retainer, appears and rescues them, not only bringing them to the Astral Realm, but also revealing her true dragon form.
Upon returning back to the Bottomless Canyon, the Avatar is knocked out by Rinkah and returned to Castle Shirasagi by Kaze. There, the Avatar meets the Hoshidan Queen, Mikoto. Upon arrival, the Queen hugs the Avatar, revealing that they are her lost child, kidnapped by Nohr many years ago. The Avatar is stunned by the revelation and decides to wander around a bit to collect their thoughts. At a nearby lake, they meet a mysterious blue-haired singer named Azura, who reveals that she was a Nohrian princess who was kidnapped by Hoshido and raised as a princess. Over the course of a few days, the Avatar reunites with their other blood siblings including Ryoma, the crown prince of Hoshido, Hinoka, the eldest princess, Takumi the youngest prince, and Sakura, the youngest princess. Mikoto decides to announce the return of her child to the people of Hoshido at the Castle Town. There, a mysterious hooded figure takes the Ganglari from the Avatar and uses it to induce an explosion, destroying the town and claiming the lives of many Hoshido civilians, including Mikoto. Grief-stricken by the death of their mother, the Avatar's draconic heritage runs wild, causing them to degenerate into a mindless dragon. After driving away the hooded figure, Azura manages to quell the rage of the Avatar with a mysterious song. Now surrounded by the destruction that they had inadvertently caused, the statue in the middle of the town had been destroyed, revealing that a sword was hidden inside. The sword mysteriously levitates and flings itself at the Avatar, choosing them to be its wielder. Ryoma reveals that the Yato has chosen the Avatar to bear a great destiny to change the world.
With the death of the queen, the magical barrier she erected, protecting Hoshido from years of attacks from Nohr, has dissipated, allowing the Nohrian army to invade. With war now inevitable between the two kingdoms, Hoshido launches its army into battle. At the Plains of Hoshido, the two armies meet, lead by the two kingdom's respective royal families. Having spent years in Nohr as a child of the Royal Family, the Nohrian Royal Siblings beckon for the Avatar to return to them and fight for the glory of Nohr. Meanwhile, the Hoshido Royal Siblings beckon the Avatar to return to them to fight to protect Hoshido and stay with their newly reunited blood siblings. Standing at the crossroads of a major decision, which side with the Avatar choose? Will they return to Nohr, will they stay with Hoshido, or will they perhaps find another path? The choice is yours.
The Avatar, unwilling to return to the heartless king who caused the deaths of countless innocent civilians decides to stay with the Hoshido siblings and fights to protect Hoshido. Despite the Nohrian Royal Sibling's protests, they remain with Hoshido, eventually repelling them from the battlefield.
The Avatar, having unanswered questions, decides to side with Nohr in order to learn more about King Garon's intentions. Despite the Hoshidan Royal Family's plea for them to reconsider, the Avatar remains stalwart with their decision and the Nohrian Royal Siblings help to repel the Hoshidan royal family. Victorious of their first battle, the Nohrian royal family returns to Castle Krakenburg with the Avatar in tow, much to Garon's displeasure in their return.
The Avatar, unable to bear the thought of fighting both of their families, decides to not ally with either. After taking down the lead commanders of the Nohrian and Hoshidan armies, both perceive this act as treason and the Avatar is forced to flee.
- The player can create an Avatar for the game.
- The player has more customizable options for their Avatar than in Awakening except for body size which has been reduced to two per gender.
- Female Avatars have special hair accessories.
- Special clothing similar to New Mystery of the Emblem can be equipped on all units in the game via My Castle. These include hats, masks, clothes, and gloves which can be worn in battle and have a variety of stat boosts. Like classes, these will be absent in cinematic cutscenes.
- The Pair Up and Dual System functions from Awakening return under new tactics called Attack Stance and Guard Stance.
- In addition, the enemy can use the Attack Stance and Guard Stance unlike the enemies in Awakening, which did not use the Dual System at all.
- The game has voice acting, much like Awakening. However, dual audio is omitted.
- Each version of the game changes the format of overall gameplay outside of the storyline.
- The Birthright path offers unlimited opportunities for gold, and as such, experience. The player can level up characters outside of the storyline chapters by paying a fee to initiate a skirmish, similar to using a Reeking Box. Like Awakening, map victory conditions will mostly be either rout the enemy or defeat the boss.
- The Conquest path is more structured, with experience and funds being much more limited and more victory conditions are present such as defending a base, breaking through the enemy lines, and turn restrictions for certain maps.
- The Revelation path is a mid-set of difficulty between the first two paths; being more difficult than the Birthright path but less difficult than the Conquest path.
- Like in Conquest, certain conditions will be necessary to complete the map, but like Birthright, the majority objectives of the story are either rout the enemy or defeat the boss.
- Skirmishes are included, with unlimited gold like Birthright.
- All character classes from both paths are available. Also, all buildings available in My Castle in both paths are included as well.
- Skills make a return in the game and units can learn new skills as they level up.
- Each unit (excluding amiibo units and Einherjar) are given a Personal Skill that is unique to them and that will always be equipped. They also have 5 additional skill slots to equip whatever skill their character learns.
- Reclassing and Promotion Branching are featured in the game.
- All characters have one fixed reclassing option, reduced from two in Awakening.
- The Heart Seal allows a unit to reclass into their secondary class at the same tier, but does not reset levels nor can it demote a unit like the Second Seal.
- Units can gain more reclass options by using a Friendship Seal with a friend and a Partner Seal with their spouse.
- Should certain classes clash with another characters' secondary class, the one who A+ supports another with an incompatible class will instead gain a class parallel to the original.
- Monsters similar to the Risen, called Faceless, make an appearance.
- StreetPass makes a return, along with online features that work in a similar fashion.
- Casual Mode returns.
- Like Fire Emblem Gaiden, weapon durability is not featured in the game. However, staves retain their limited uses.
- Knives return from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn under a new weapon class: Shuriken.
- The Support system from Awakening returns with unique conversations.
- S-Supports and Marriage return alongside of second generation characters. Unlike Genealogy of the Holy War and Awakening, children are determined by their fathers while their hair colors are determined by their mothers.
- Marriage causes the two characters to share their respective classes or secondary classes with each other using Partner Seals. Children also adopt their parents' classes.
- Players can have same-sex S-Supports for their Avatar if they form one with Niles or Rhajat.
- A total of 9 save slots are available for the player to use in the special edition and eShop version of the game, 3 in the standalone Birthright and Conquest copies.
- Capture returns from Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, though completely reworked.
- Special DLC maps return with a variety of rewards for completing them. Characters appearing in these are Chrom, Lissa, Frederick, and Anna, Anna being recruitable in one of her appearances.
- Fates uses varying Weapon Ranks. Each class has a specific Weapon Rank maximum with S Rank obtainable to very specific classes.
- New weapons and equipment, including katana, naginata, yumi, clubs, scrolls, shuriken, and rods.
- Most classes are separated by routes, meaning that some are exclusive to a side.
- Nohrian classes: Nohr Prince/Princess, Maid, Butler, Malig Knight, Nohr Noble, Wolfskin and Wolfssegner.
- Hoshidan classes: Songstress, Oni Savage, Oni Chieftain, Priestess, Ninja, Mechanist, Master of Arms, Spear Fighter, Blacksmith, Basara, Great Master, Kinshi Knight, Master Ninja, Hoshido Noble, Kitsune and Nine-Tails.
- All classes are unisex such as the Sky Knight compared to the long running Pegasus Knight class which was female exclusive in all previous games.
- The cast of Fates is split in half. Half are playable in Conquest only while half are playable in Birthright only. Revelation allows almost all characters to be playable. However, ten characters are always available in all three routes.
- All royalty characters, including the Avatar, have the ability known as Dragon Vein, which allows them to alter the terrain at certain locations during Chapter and Paralogue battles.
- The DLC item First Blood allows all (non-bonus) units that consume it to utilize the Dragon Vein ability as well.
- Children of royal characters are also able to use Dragon Vein.
- A new mode called "Phoenix Mode" is introduced, which revives any fallen allied character on the next player phase.
- Gameplay mode style and difficulty can be lowered in the middle of a playthrough. Once lowered, difficulty and game mode style cannot be raised. Players can change from Classic Mode to Casual Mode but not in reverse. Phoenix Mode and Casual Mode can be switched back and forth. The storyline will be unaffected by gameplay mode changes.
- The Weapon Triangle has been revised. The triangle flow now works as follows:
- Sword and Magic > Axe and Bow > Lance and Shuriken > Sword and Magic
- Nearly all weapons have different effects that gives bonuses and penalties when used including stat bonuses during battles, stat penalties after battle, inability to double attack or critical, and the return of Weapon Triangle effectiveness reversal.
- A customizable home base called "My Castle" allows players to build their own village that is used for StreetPass features and a variety of other in game features.
- amiibo support for four of the Fire Emblem representatives in Super Smash Bros. characters: Ike, Marth, Robin, and Lucina, which will allow players to recruit each character, receive and buy unique Accessories, and unique weapons. Roy is not compatible with Fates nor is any Fire Emblem amiibo released after Fates.
- Warning features on specific enemies during a battle: A yellow warning means either that the unit(s) are carrying high critical hit rate weapons or that they are carrying weapons that deal extra damage to the support unit in a defensive stance, and red warning means the unit(s) are carrying weapons that deal bonus damage to the lead unit.
- A+ Support Ranks, which allows units to use Friendship Seals to be able to reclass into one of their friends' classes.
- Einherjar-esque bonus units are featured in Fates. These characters can be accessed via Fire Emblem Cipher TCG codes in Japan. It is unknown if the cipher codes will be available for international release. These cards include Marth, Lucina, and Minerva.
- Fates features an original song called Lost in Thoughts All Alone, essentially replacing the original Fire Emblem theme's role as the main theme song of the game; however, this theme is not completely absent from the game, as it can be heard for a few seconds in the games opening cut scene as well as most of the Revelation ending cutscene.
- Two players can create units called a "Bond Units" by trading accessories through visiting other players' castles.
- See main article: List of characters in Fire Emblem Fates.
- See main article: List of chapters in Fire Emblem Fates.
- See main article: List of classes in Fire Emblem Fates
In North America, Fates had a special Edition, which included both Birthright and Conquest, as well as early access to Revelation all on one cartridge . It included an 80-page art book with sketches and concept art, as well as an illustrated carrying pouch for the Nintendo 3DS. Pre-orders were taken for $79.99.
Nintendo of Europe's special edition includes all three games on one cartridge also, as well as a steelbook case, artbook and double-sided poster. Exclusive by GAME, pre-orders were taken for £69.99 ahead of the 20th May release.
The limited edition New Nintendo 3DS XL model (which doesn't include the games) was also up for pre-order for £179.99.
- Official website (NA version)
- Official website (JP version)
- Wikipedia article
- Background at Fire Emblem World
- Section on Serenes Forest