Fire Emblem If developers recently spoke about their reasons for adding the new “Phoenix” mode to the game, which you can read about in our earlier report. They also discused the challenge of introducing new fans to the series, and other tidbits about the game in the interview with Famitsu magazine.
To start the interview, Famitsu points out that Fire Emblem If has a story that is split into different parts, and ask the developers to share the concept behind that idea.
According to Nintendo director Genki Yokota, Fire Emblem originally started out as a series where giant nations are in war with each other, and the player gets to decide how the units move on the battlefield. With Fire Emblem If, they felt it would be fun if the player could also make choices to change the story, an idea that excited everyone from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems.
Having your own character as the protagonist is something they’ve wanted to do for a while now, the developers say.
“There will be more freedom in customizing your own character than there was in Fire Emblem Awakening, so you’ll be able to make quite the detailed protagonist,” adds Intelligent Systems director Kohei Maeda.
“The entire series faces an eternal challenge of ‘how to please those who’ve been playing Fire Emblem and those who’ve yet to play it,’ and that’s something I’ve been thinking about even before the plans were done for [this] game,” says producer Masahiro Higurchi.
He continues, “We took on that challenge with things like Casual mode in the previous game, which lets you adjust the difficulty, and have been thinking of other approaches since then as well. That’s when we got the idea that if we could have players make a choice between a story that is split into two, it would add another element for them to enjoy. And we felt that it would be nice to be able to change the difficulty and the way [the two games] are played, and that’s how the two Ifs came to be.”
Moving on, the Arena feature has been around for a while in the series. The Arena is something players can use to take on enemies as a way to train characters and gain money. Higuchi teases that Fire Emblem If will have something similar, except instead of experience points, you’ll be fighting for something completely different. We’ll have more details on this in the near future.
Famitsu asks if a character that might be an ally in one side of the story will have a chance of appearing as an enemy in the other.
According to Maeda, Intelligent Systems have always had the idea of having an ally turning into an enemy, but have not been able to bring it to fruition up until now. However, with a story that is split into two where each version is different from the other, it has been made possible, and you’ll see ally characters appear as very strong opponents in the other version.
Famitsu try to ask about who could possibly be your allies in the third scenario, assuming that you won’t be siding with either the Black or White Kingdom sides, but Yokota responds with a laugh, and says that isn’t something they’re ready to discuss just yet.
“You can play the third scenario without having cleared White Kingdom or Black Kingdom,” Higuchi clarifies. “However, I believe that it will feel more interesting if you were to play it after you’ve cleared the game at least once.”
We’ve previously reported some details on a special ability called “Dragon Pulse,” which allows royalty characters to make changes on the battlefield, such as building bridges, causing earthquakes, and flattening mountains. Yokota says that eight characters from both kingdoms will have these special dragon powers, and depending on the map, all kinds of different things could happen.
“There are advantages and disadvantages depending on the timing with which you use this Dragon Pulse, so it would be fun to mess around with it try out different strategies,” says Maeda. “Again, it’s not only the players that can use the Dragon Pulse, but also anyone with a dragon’s power on the enemy’s side.”
Fire Emblem If is slated for release in Japan on June 25, 2015 and in the West in 2016 for Nintendo 3DS.