This will be the first packaged title from Nintendo to have additional content become available.9 We imagine that the ultimate culmination concept and additional content may be well suited to each other. I feel as if the main game itself may not exhaust the potential of the mechanics.
9. Additional content: New elements including new maps and episodes not included in the packaged game will become available for purchase and download in sets following the game’s release. No timeframe has been set for the release of this content in Europe at time of publication.
Yes. The additional content idea came up toward the end of development – just putting in a mechanism for downloading and running additional content made us uneasy with regard to the schedule, so instead of being all for it, we weren’t sure what to do and consulted IS.
Huh?! No, no… you impressed us that it was already decided. We were taken aback, but… we did it. (laughs)
S-Sorry! (laughs) That was another time when Maeda-san put forth a very positive opinion.
When that came up, most of what was going into the software was done, and it was the biggest amount of content ever, but I thought it would lend a new enjoyment if we could add a different episode in addition to the complete main game. Besides, the production of the main game would end, but we could still make additional content.
After making all that, you wanted to make more!
Yes. (laughs) There was still a lot we wanted to put in, so I thought, “It’s a good thing we can still add things like that.”
He was so excited that I wondered if maybe he thought this would be the last game! (laughs)
Well, there would be concern that some might wonder if the game content was a little thin without buying the additional content, so a big assumption was that we had to make the main game solid.
At the same time as making it compatible with additional content, the task of polishing up the main game was important so we didn’t receive criticism that the game was lacking without the extra content.
When the additional content idea came up, the main game was almost complete, so we couldn’t take anything away from the main game’s story or change it. We got into it because if we just made a loader for downloading additional content, we could make all kinds of stuff later.
So it was perfect that this came up just when you wanted to make more. I have to ask, but… weren’t you tired?
Um, what does this silence mean? (laughs)
In all honesty, I was overjoyed!
I knew it! (laughs)
I’m actually still in the middle of making an additional map. I thought a mechanism for being able to make a bunch more stuff from now on would be a great… uh, what’s the matter?
I was worried about the game mechanics.
We were worried about conflicts arising, like if you hadn’t bought the additional content, how would we display as-yet non-purchased items?
It was a challenge with few previous examples. When you make an ultimate amalgamation like this, does your understanding change of what the essence of Fire Emblem is?
This may just be my own opinion, but I think this game represents that well. Fire Emblem has always been discussed in terms of the tension of a simulation and the story, but particularly with the simulation part, the element of enjoying the story and relationships was really big. This time, those parts are directly included in the mechanics through the duels and marriages, so the relationships between units are portrayed particularly well.
Despite the increase in work due to the large scale of the pairs…
Yes. As relationships develop between characters, history arises along with the number of people who play, so I was reminded of the essence of Fire Emblem in how much you can get into the game. I think that’s why we polished up the gameplay so that players will feel ‘bonds’ that aren’t visible to the eye.
What do you think, Higuchi-san?
I think the essence of Fire Emblem is in how the ties between characters – the character’s conversations and worldviews, the friends and lovers and parents and children – connect and form a big group, and you sense how all the characters are living and participating in the game. As the bonds between the characters form and the conversation increases, you want to have more and more conversations. On the other hand, I think the essence of Fire Emblem is how you can enjoy a game with the tension of a simulation.
Yes. How about you, Maeda-san?
I think the essence of Fire Emblem in this game is love. You love the characters, the images, the dialogue and the characters playing an active role and getting stronger, as well as the friendship, romance and familial affection between certain characters. I realised all over again how those elements are incredibly fun.
Another form of love toward the characters is how you can show characters you’re proud of to each other via StreetPass10 through StreetPass Teams and through co-operative play with other people .10. StreetPass: A feature that allows users who enable it to walk around with their Nintendo 3DS system turned on to exchange certain game data with other Nintendo 3DS users that they pass on the street who also have StreetPass enabled. Players of Fire Emblem: Awakening will be able to use StreetPass to send each other teams of characters they have developed.
Right. And you, Kusakihara-san?
I loved the first Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi11 and Fire Emblem Gaiden12 and played them all the time – if I look back at the way I felt then, I played as if there was really a world there within the Famicom. While recalling that feeling this time, I gave shape to the scenery that unfolded within my head back when I used to play and tried to make visuals that would make players today feel the game world as I did. So with regard to the essence of Fire Emblem, I think it lies in how you can feel like there are people actually alive inside that rich world. And I also put effort into making Maeda-san’s ambitions come true.11. Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryu to Hikari no Tsurugi. The first game in the Fire Emblem series. It was a simulation RPG released for the Famicom system Japan in April 1990.12. Fire Emblem Gaiden: A simulation RPG released for the Famicom system in Japan in March 1992.
I see. Kozaki-san, did your impression of the essence of Fire Emblem change?
Yes. I think simulation RPGs are easier to get absorbed in for people who are comfortable with connections and conversations between people in the real world. The players will connect emotionally with lots of characters, but as for creation of the visuals, I intended to design with a mindset that said, “If any of the characters were in my class, I would like them.”
That’s similar to what Maeda-san said. And now Yokota-san, who’s been a fan forever.
To me, the essence of Fire Emblem is the multitude of options. For example, choosing which characters to develop, which ones to pair up, which weapon to give them, how to clear a certain chapter and so on. There are lots of options.
It truly becomes your own adventure.
That’s right. It’s fun to talk about your adventures with your friends. That’s the appeal of Fire Emblem. I don’t think that attraction will change this time… in fact, now that we’re dealing with an amalgamation, I think it would be great if that strengthened further.
The usual RPG is a story about the main character and a few other people. But Fire Emblem doesn’t mind which of the many characters you feel for. Fire Emblem is about raising your chosen character as much as you can and spinning out your own story. But until now, however far you went, you had to complete some parts of the story with your imagination.The most pleasing thing this time is how the mechanics and game world are better fused. In other words, if you want this character you’ve lovingly developed and another character to get close, they’ll fight together via the duel system and the deeper their bond, the better they’ll fight together, so the game responds to your wishes.
In other words, the more you nurture those feelings, the more that character develops the way you want. Truly, that emotional part is clearly reflected in the game. I think the players will be able to feel that essence of Fire Emblem.
All right, thank you. You each expressed it a different way, but I think your ideas about the essence of Fire Emblem are very similar!
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