A new, official interview with Fire Emblem Engage Director Tsutomu Tei and Kenta Nakanishi from the Entertainment Planning Development Department, Production Group 2 went over how Alear’s development resulted in a bit of balancing. The goal was to make someone who would “resonate” with players. However, during development, the two noted they almost “overdid” it and made the character difficult to connect with. As such, they needed to adjust the protagonist to show growth and fragility.
As Nakanishi noted when discussing Alear’s development, “We were worried that players would give up on the protagonist before they could get emotionally attached to them.” Nintendo also stepped in and noted there could be connection issues.
Here are Fire Emblem Engage Director Tei’s comments on Alear from the official interview.
That said, we had many twists and turns with Nintendo regarding the characterisation of Alear… When a protagonist is a royal, they are often associated with bravery, or thought to have a sense of mission to fight against fate and challenges, and I believe those are the traits that people generally associate with heroes. However, I thought such heroes are unlikely to resonate with people today.
Let’s say someone tells you one day, out of nowhere, that your mission is to save the world. My guess is that your response wouldn’t be like “OK! I’ll do my best”… So, at the early stage of development, we had many moments where Alear fears the enemies and says unheroic things.
…Well… we overdid it and Nintendo pointed it out to us.
So, we decided to keep a good balance. We kept Alear’s fragile side in the beginning but showed them gradually growing braver.
The protagonist – in other words, the actual player of the game – embarking on a journey is a classic storyline of a Fire Emblem title, but we knew we wanted to create a story that matches the modern world and made some adjustments.
Fire Emblem Engage will come to the Nintendo Switch on January 20, 2023.