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Fire Emblem Fates (ファイアーエムブレムif Faia Emuburemu Ifu, 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 will be 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 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 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 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.
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. There will be a digital copy of the game which allows the player to determine which version they wish to experience. At the end of Chapter 6, the player will have to choose their faction, permanently locking their digital copy into that storyline for all files on the game there and after. 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: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi 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. For downloaded copies, after the player has purchased the game, once they start Chapter 6, they will be given the choice to choose a side, which will automatically download that side onto the player's system. This will permanently lock them onto this route unless the other storyline is purchased. Details about the third storyline were slightly discussed, revealing that the difficulty of the third route is between the Hoshido and Nohr routes. All characters will appear on all routes, though the story route chosen will bring out different characteristics and personalities from them.
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 will be released on South Korea, making the first Fire Emblem game to be translated into the Korean language although this game has English voice.
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, Fire Emblem Fates primarily takes place on an unnamed continent ruled by two large kingdoms: Hoshido and Nohr. The royal families of both kingdoms in the present are the descendants of 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. Once ruled by humans, it is now ruled by the dragon Anankos, who is under different guises in Hoshido and Nohr to provoke war. 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 nation 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.
Having come of age, the Avatar is first tested by Garon to execute Hoshido prisoners. After seeing them attempt to spare the prisoner's lives, Garon gives them one last chance to redeem themselves by checking out an outpost on the border between Nohr and Hoshido. After a fight ensues, the Avatar is betrayed by Hans who attacks Gunter causing him to fall into the Bottomless Canyon to his presumed death. Enraged, the Avatar first discovers their Dragon Fang ability, but their vengeance ends as a sword given to them, the Ganglari, hurls them into the Bottomless Canyon. After a timely save by Lilith, the Avatar is taken to the Astral Realm and is eventually returned back to the real world. Immediately upon return, they are ambushed by Rinkah and brought to Hoshido. There, the Avatar is reunited with their long lost siblings as well as their biological mother, Mikoto. Wanting to announce her child's return, Mikoto gathers the Hoshido Populace at the Shiragi Castle Town where a hooded man takes the Ganglari from the Avatar and causes a massive magical explosion, taking thousands of Hoshido lives, including Queen Mikoto who shielded the Avatar. The death of their mother causes the Avatar to degenerate into a Dragon, but is eventually calmed by Azura and is given a Dragonstone to safely utilize their newfound powers. However, with the death of the queen, Hoshido lost the magical barrier that prevented Nohr from invading.
With war now inevitable between the two kingdoms, Hoshido launches its army into battle. In the opening battle between the two kingdoms, the Avatar's two families meet, and the Avatar is forced to make a choice: Do they side with their blood siblings in Hoshido, assist their adopted Nohrian siblings, or perhaps take a different route altogether?
- 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 Shin Monsho no Nazo 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, localized versions do not have dual audio.
- Each version of the game changes the format of overall gameplay outside of the storyline.
- The Birthright path offers unlimited amounts of 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.
- 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 Children 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 parent's 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 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.
- New weapons, including Katana, Naginata, Yumi, Clubs, Scrolls, Shuriken, and Rods.
- Most classes are separated by routes, meaning that some are exclusive to a side.
- New Nohr Classes: Nohr Prince/Princess, Maid, Butler, Malig Knight, Nohr Noble, Wolfskin and Wolfssegner.
- New Hoshido 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.
- However, DLC classes such as Vanguard, Ballistician, Witch etc. still come with gender restrictions.
- 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, eight 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 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 turn.
- 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 and then to Phoenix Mode but not in reverse. 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 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.
- 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, the Fire Emblem 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 Revelations ending cut scene.
- Two players can create a unit called a "Bond Unit" by trading accessories through StreetPass.
- 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
- Official website (NA version)
- Official website (JP version)
- Wikipedia article
- Background at Fire Emblem World
- Section on Serenes Forest