Why Fire Emblem: Awakening’s Characters Have No Feet

By Ishaan . April 2, 2013 . 12:00pm

Localization outfit 8-4, who worked on Fire Emblem: Awakening, had a chance to speak with some of the game’s developers at Intelligent Systems. One of the questions they asked them was why the characters in Awakening have no feet on their 3D models.


The game’s art director, Toshiyuki Kusakihara, explains: “The idea was to add a unique sort of deformation to the characters. As for why it ended up like this… At the start of the project, we weren’t entirely sure how many bones and joints we’d be able to use in each character model.”


Kusakihara elaborates: “As it is now, there’s a joint at the knees, and then there’s nothing below that for the ankles and the feet. This makes it a bit easier to apply animation to models as well. We found out afterward that, with the 3DS, we had more than enough CPU strength available to flesh out the models a bit, add real ankles and so on. We were like "Well, if there’s a next time, maybe there’ll be more ankles…’”


Fire Emblem: Awakening is available in the U.S. and will be released in Europe on April 19th alongside a limited edition 3DS XL bundle.


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  • I don’t think the models suffered in any particular way from the added stylized deformation. It’s not like the game sells itself on greatly detailed graphics anyway, and the details on armors and outfits are noticeable enough already.

    (On a partially related note, it’d be great if future handheld FE games have more color vibrancy like the Tellius saga games. Awakening‘s color scheme seems to be dominated by “brown paper” in 2D and “sepia + bloom” in 3D. ^_^’ )

  • Samurai_Heart

    And once you start looking at the missing feets, you cannot unsee XD

    • JustThisOne

      I noticed this within the first two minutes of the game. xD It’s not disturbing or anything, but it did bother me a little bit.

      Glad to know there was an explanation though!

      • ronin4life

        I felt the reason was design based all along.
        Although I had suspected a touch of Chinese foot binding fetish from time to time…>.>

        • JustThisOne

          Ack, don’t even remind me about foot-binding. xD

    • MrTyrant

      I coudn’t unsee Tharja’s ass, honestly D:

      • AnimusVox

        Have you seen the figure they’re coming out with for her?
        *bites down on clenched fist*

        • MrTyrant

          I want to buy that but I don’t live alone
          *bites down on clenched fist*

          • AnimusVox

            Haha ok I can understand that.

    • Arrei

      Quite the opposite, I kept staring at them at first and later found myself paying no attention to them. Only occasionally did I notice them again and go “Oh yeah, they don’t have feet…”

  • Go2hell66

    didn’t even notice

  • Manny Being Manny

    I never even noticed until I read this article.

    • ToshiChan

      I’ve never noticed it honestly…

      • AnimusVox

        I did but didnt care but now it’s just going to bug me because of this article and it being brought up in yesterday’s article with Kozaki.

  • Godman

    I couldn’t care if they don’t have feet I find it adorable.
    Although funny for Knights and Generals XD

  • Göran Isacson

    Oh man. I am already clenching up in anticipation for the people who will use this as fodder for their claims that 3DS is a inferior system… though I have to admit it’s kinda funny how they decided to remove feet since they couldn’t even be sure if they could fit them in. It’s the kinda thing you don’t really consider until you’re actually making games.

    • It makes sense given that this was their first time working with the hardware, and they needed to get the game out on time. The first time is always the hardest, since you’re never sure just how much you’ll be able to do.

      Also, I don’t think they’ve ever worked on a game with as high a budget as Awakening. Even the Gamecube/Wii Fire Emblem games don’t look as good. There are a lot of shader effects going on during battles, and if you look at the ground in the maps where it’s raining, you’ll see the character models have real-time reflections, which is a pretty amazing feat on a portable.

      Overall, I don’t think they did a bad job at all, but like they said, there’s definitely room for them to do much more. Whether or not they care to go that far in terms of their production budget is a different matter. FEA, like most SRPGs, is already a very smartly budgeted game. There are no “environments” to run around in and explore. The majority of the game plays out on overhead maps and in battle arenas.

    • puchinri

      It takes someone being (intentionally?) obtuse to do that though, given they realized the 3DS had more than enough CPU. I’m sure some will try, but at that point, I don’t know if I’d take someone like that seriously.

      Also, I wonder at what point they decided not to include the feet and then realized they could?

    • AuraGuyChris

      Well, there’s nothing inferior down there, so…

  • Hraesvelgr

    Well, considering the sales this game has had, I guess they’ll be getting that “maybe”…?

  • That guy who hates Spike

    IGN’s Nintendo team was talking about that saying it was just popular in Japanese Video Games.
    I thought it looked nice. But stuff like that doesn’t age well over years.
    However that might not matter too much, because Awakening has some really great gameplay that has most, if not all 3DS games beat. Its too bad so many shepherds died in my file.

    • biskmater

      certainly close, but remember there is EOIV and Monster Hunter to contend with now.

      • MrSirFeatherFang

        EOIV is f*** amazing. Though I suck at it. Currently I’m at the 2nd stratum boss

        • Claud12

          I love it Im at 6th stratum and my ass is getting handed to me:(

          Stupid Pumpkins…

  • Sardorim

    So easy that none of the Spotpass or DLC characters get unique models but Marth.


    • Even that Marth model comes from the one for the “In-game Marth”.

  • Chim_era

    hahaha I immediatly thought: ” They have really small feet don’t they?”
    The models are a little off because of it but it isn’t really bothersome I think

  • That never bothered me. I actually liked the stylized look.

    • AnimusVox

      It didnt bother me either, the sprites were adorable enough to distract me.

  • Anti-Shadow weapons everywhere…

    • Claud12

      lol thats why we get SMT and Fire Emblem game. SOLVED :)

  • When I first started playing I thought their feet were clipping through the floor. I don’t like the way it looks really, but I assumed it was an artistic decision to have very short feet.

  • Red Veron


  • Strid

    And here I thought they were just going after a nendoroid look. I still think that’s the case honestly.

  • $39420547

    i will take a great FE with no feet any day

  • Arrei

    Fire Emblem Awakening 2: Now with 100% more feet!

    • Personally, I’m more anticipating Fire Emblem: Procrastination.

      • JustThisOne

        Fire Emblem: Help, I Can’t Stop Playing!

        • Or Fire Emblem: Awakening – Deluxe Romance Edition, which comes with S-rank supports between everybody (but still with the generation split). I’d definitely pay for that.

    • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

      Wut?? It should be Fire Emblem Awakening 2: MOAR WAIFU!!!^_^

      • Clifford Michael

        Fire Emblem Awakening 2: Sister Wives

      • Arrei

        But you see, if you have feet, and you have moar waifus…


        And with at least two feet per person…


        • Kai2591


    • You mean “Feet Focus”, right?

  • z_merquise

    And I thought the link is just all about the feet. It is actually a good interview and felt like an extension of Iwata Asks interview with the FE: Awakening staff.

    I think it’s really a nice decision that they give players option to play the game in Classic or Casual mode. Not every gamers got the same skill and/or dedication when playing and it gives everyone the option to enjoy the game the way they wanted to.

    And also, it seems like most of the staff have Tharja as their favorite. Though I’m glad one of them picked Gregor since he’s also my favorite character in the game. Not only because Mercenary/Hero is my favorite class in the series, I just like how Gregor is portrayed as a middle-aged man with a lot of knowledge and experience but also a funny and friendly guy. Smooth talker to the ladies too despite having an unusual speech pattern.

  • I wasn’t even aware the character models had a lack of feet until this has pointed it out to me. Then again, it doesn’t bother me at all because all I want to do is play the game!

  • Kalis Konig

    Feet&Ankles confirmed for the next FE!!!….and quite possibly the next Smash as well!

  • Uso Ewin

    Remember Final Fantasy Gaiden?

    • Remember Final Fantasy III? Pepperidge Farm Remembers.

  • I’ve never noticed until some people starting talking about it on the forums lol

  • Wait, huh!? Really? I didn’t even notice it before.

  • Draparde

    the not having feet didint bother me much, but the extra long arms sorta do. it makes serious scenes seem alittle weird to me…. doesent detract from me enjoying the game as much as i do though~

  • thaKingRocka

    That’s a pretty lousy reason, but at least we have an answer. Nice.

  • Pockystix

    I was more concerned with a lack of same-sex S ranks for my Avatar

    apparently everyone else was lookin down too much

    • marclair

      Tharja and Fem Tactician is canon and we all know it.

      • AnimusVox

        Ok good, I’m not the only one who thought so too.

        Kinda felt like Kjelle and Severa had something going on too.

    • AnimusVox

      Hopefully in the next installment they’ll allow it.

      I wanted Libra to be a potential same sex partner or bisexual or whatever.

      • Pockystix

        am I the only one who found his supports with Virion hilarious?

        but yeah, Tharja and Femavatar ftw~

        • AnimusVox

          Haha it was pretty hilarious. I’m glad Virion didn’t like freak out or anything drastic. He was pretty much like ‘I’m not gay, but if I were, I’d be all over that’

  • Tsunamori Nanashi

    I’ve been doing some lowpoly models for a game lately and yes, making the legs like that saves a lot of polys and at least one bone.

  • The Watcher

    some things are better left unmentioned. can not be unseen.

  • Istillduno

    In other words the challenge of adding ankles de-feet-ed them.

    Also I’m a little annoyed as I probably would never have given it any notice if I hadn’t seen it pointed out here and now I’ll be seeing it every time it shows it’s head when the game comes out over here.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Lol, so the lack of feet is not art style?^_^ Hope for those who just notice, can go back don’t care about this lol.

  • AnimusVox

    Since we’re kinda on the subject…kinda…Am I also the only one who noticed they kinda have long arms too?

    • Marco Tinè

      Proportions are correct from the head to the crotch, the arm lenght stops exactly where it should. Something has evidently gone wrong with the legs, and it seems plausible to me that they’ve got the bones count wrong at some point (I’ve got a little ground on 3D modeling), expecially if the development of the game begun without knowing how powerful the 3DS would actually have been.

  • revenent hell

    …….Honestly ive played a lot of games and most of them have sprites akin to this, that is have “hooven” feet….I honestly didnt even notice the lack of them since quite a few games ive played recently have done this hooven thing so …….. yep no feet. I am a great observer.

  • Calamity

    I find it quite adorable.

  • Sylveria

    I wondered why they had hooves. Kinda reminded me of the peg-legs that the FF4 DS characters have.

  • Mr.Nibbles

    I feel like because we’ve seen the models without feet, they’ll look weird with.

  • Riseabovethesky

    Well, at least now I know it isn’t because they are big fans of Astro Boy!

  • fireemblembeast

    “NEXT TIME”?
    DO IT, I.S.! ^_^
    But gosh, I can’t believe it took them almost a year to finally adress this lol.

  • XypherCode

    No feet adds a bit of uniqueness to it. :)
    But they really should fix the dual audio bug every time you reset the game.

  • Lester Paredes

    Sooo…. laziness? lol.

    • Considering they said “[…] we weren’t entirely sure how many bones and joints we’d be able to use in each character model.“, I assume the decision to be more on grounds of reservation/insurance so that the system’s resources will not be overspent and end up impacting the game’s stability. After all, they did follow up with “We found out afterward that, with the 3DS, we had more than enough CPU strength available to flesh out the models a bit […]“.

      Aside from that, the decision also seemed to have save them some animation budget as well.

      • Lester Paredes

        Sooo…. sarcasm misunderstood by moderator? Easy enough to do online, I suppose.

  • Kitestwinblades

    I kinda just assumed they were just stubby legged models kinda Bravely default and FFIII. A LOT less chibi, but still upright like a detailed chess piece XD

    …And now everyone is gonna look like they have shinguards or hooves for feet.

  • Kai2591

    lol. But it doesn’t bother me at all actually. i forget about it whenever I play the game. But sure its better to have feet haha~

  • Linhua

    … I just wanna know WHY it was necessary to add a “unique deformality”… lol.

  • Jan Jarrell

    In other words… they were lazy and didn’t want to do the extra work to give the characters FEET. So they look really, REALLY stupid.

    • Luna Kazemaru

      http://www.siliconera.com/2013/04/02/why-fire-emblem-awakenings-characters-have-no-feet/#comment-850573395 maybe you need to read that statement again before just automatically assuming they where lazy

    • If they really were lazy, they could have eschewed the entire support network and saved themselves the workload of having to come up with different topics of conversation. Or even discarded the children which come with supports of their own. They were plenty content with having just around 5 supportable characters (average) per character in previous games, you know.

  • I don’t really see the issue. Then again I hardly noticed or cared as I thought it they were going for the kinda chibi thing. Feet or no feet the game is still looks great and I can’t wait to play it.

  • T-X

    It’s like Wind Waker. I like deformed nub feet…. im normal.

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