A previously rare Japanese-only interview with Shouzou Kaga, the creator of Fire Emblem, was recently translated, giving some insight into the making of Geneology of the Holy War, which still remains one of the most popular entries in the series within Japan to this day. [Thanks, Garm’s Translations!]
The interview, done back in 1996, was conducted as a roundtable discussion between three fans who had just played through the game. The contents of the discussion were sent to Kaga, who provided commentary.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Geneology of the Holy War started off as something similar but separate from Fire Emblem, but ended up being so due to various factors. The aim was to showcase the history and world, so maps were made larger to illustrate a larger scale. However, Kaga didn’t think that this was necessarily the most fitting way to continue in the future.
- While the game is biased towards cavalry units, which Kaga admits, he does follow up by saying that how it’s played is up to the player.
- Kaga was the only person on the development team who was overly into creating the worldbuilding for the continent of Judgral. Grannvale was based on Germany, Agustria on France, Thracia on Romance countries like Spain, Silesse on Scandinavian countries like Sweden, while Isaach was based on Central Asia, Verdane was based on barbarian nations, Thracia was modeled after Spain, while Leonster was modeled after Italy.
- Kaga’s comment on character attachment: “I personally believe that forming emotional attachments isn’t the be-all-end-all of playing a game, that’s why. I wanted to illustrate as vividly as I could the weight of losing even one human life.”
- Seliph’s story arc basically ends with the defeat of Arvis, while the Final Chapter is meant to be an extra addition where Julia is essentially driving the evil god Loptyr out of Julius.
- Kaga cites his fondness for niche game genres like tabletop sims and anime with complicated human relationships as factors in how he shapes the game according to his desires, rather than trying to appeal to fans.
You can read through the entire discussion and Kaga’s comments here.
Fire Emblem: Geneology of the Holy War was released for the Super Famicom.