Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn Nintendo Dream interview (Page 1)
Translated by: Sami R
Credits: Ether, Kitty of Time (proof-reading)
This interview was published in
the April 2007 issue of Nintendo Dream, a Japanese
Nintendo-centric magazine, and later adapted into a web-based
version, which this translation is based off. Some images and
image captions not in the original interview have been added.
Born in Osaka in 1966. In addition to the Panel de Pon and
Pokemon series, he has been involved in the production of
many other titles. Blood type: B
Tawara Masaki Project Manager at
Born in Ishikawa prefecture in 1971. He has been involved
in the development of numerous titles, including Napoleon,
Yoshiís Universal Gravitation and Tetris DS. Blood Type: A
Narihiro Tohru Producer at
Born in Okayama prefecture in 1963. He has been involved
in the production of every single Fire Emblem game since
the first one was released in 1990. Blood type: A
Higuchi Masahiro Project Manager at
Born in Hyogo prefecture in 1971. He has been handling the
graphic design of the series since 1996, when Genealogy of
Holy War was released for the Super Famicom. Blood Type: A
Maeda Kohei Scenario writer at
Born in Kyoto in 1977. He wrote the support conversations
for Sword of Seals (2002), and ever since Blazing Sword
(2003), he has been the main scenario writer. Blood Type:
Fire Emblem: Radiant
Dawn, the 10th game in the series
─The first Fire Emblem game was
released back in 1990, and now, with Radiant Dawn we have the
10th installment in the series.
Narihiro: Yeah, the series has a long history. (laughs)
─So, through all these years,
what kind of things have you wanted to express with the series?
Narihiro: While this is also true for the Wars games, one of the
themes behind the series has been to introduce simulation games to
a much larger audience. At the time, Ďsimulation gamesĀEwere
thought to be something that only PC gamers played. Perhaps you
could say that adapting this genre, to something that could be
enjoyed on home consoles, was the crux behind the creation of the
With the Wars series, even if your characters donít have any
individuality, you can still just look at the map and enjoy the
strategy aspect of the game. In contrast, in the Fire Emblem
games, players also raise their characters while enjoying the
world of the game. The way the series also features your
adversaries, with their own human strengths and weaknesses, is
another consistent theme throughout the series.
Wars DS (released in 2005 in Japan as Famicom Wars DS) is
another game by Intelligent Systems.
Yamagami: There are also enemies you feel sorry for when you
defeat them. (laughs)
Tawara: And enemies reminiscent of company middle management.
Narihiro: Although a character may be your enemy, you feel
like they are more than just an enemy, and there are even some
enemies and battles which make you feel conflicted, saying to
yourself: ĎWhy do I have to fight them?ĀEThese are the kind of
things we wanted to depict in the series. While I canít say
exactly how closely the average player reads into these things,
many of the people who have played our previous games have told us
how theyíve felt that whether a character was in your team or an
enemy, they were all living their lives, carrying their own
burdens and beliefs.
In most games, defeating a boss feels like such a casual practice,
so I am proud that in this series we have managed to convey a
different kind of feeling to the player. In this sense the games
are very deep. Even so, the spectrum of the fan base is very wide:
Players can enjoy the deeper themes behind the games, but if he or
she so wishes, they can just ignore the story and focus on
enjoying the strategy gameplay. I think itís good that there are
many ways to enjoy the series.
Yamagami: That truly is the case. Being able to enjoy both aspects
in this way is what ĎFire EmblemĀEreally is. Thatís what Iíd like
to emphasise as well. As Narihiro-san said, we have continued
working on the Fire Emblem games with the desire to introduce as
many people as possible to the fun of the simulation genre. The
game thatís coming out now, Radiant Dawn, is the 10th game in the
series. With itís gorgeous cut scenes, wonderful soundtrack and
grand storyline, where many charming characters make an
appearance, it would be great if we could draw in as many new
people as possible to this genre.
However, because there is such a wide range of customers, we had
to figure out many different schemes to try to accommodate all of
them. Whether they are the type who enjoys the story, or the type
who just focuses on the game system itself, or perhaps even the
type who is playing a Fire Emblem for the first time, we wanted to
take them all in.
An illustration from Radiant Dawn, which has a real sense of
For example, when it comes to the package of the game, I think
many fans of the series will look at the cover and think ĎWow,
this feels a bit different.ĀEFor the previous cover
illustrations in the series, we have focused heavily on the main
characters, but with Radiant Dawn, we have a Ďcover with motion.ĀE
We used an illustration that appears to have a sense of movement
to it. This is something that we hope will draw the customers more
directly into the world of the game, making as many people as
possible pick the game up. If we can get people who havenít yet
played a previous entry in the series to give it a try, I think it
would be quite a pleasant surprise.
A return to the home
consoles due to success abroad
─Around when did Radiant Dawnís development begin?
Yamagami: This may become a bit of a long winded explanation, but
the Fire Emblem games were originally released on the home
consoles, right? Even though there have now been games released on
the GBA, from our point of view, we strongly feel that the games
are ideally enjoyed at oneís own pace, in front of the TV screen.
Of course, we understand that with the Game Boy, there is the
freedom of being able to easily play wherever you wish, but even
so, considering the grand worlds that the games are trying to
convey, we feel that the games really should be savoured on big
screen TVs instead.
However, after the GameCube was launched, development costs rose
steeply, and the kind of budget needed to present the players with
these kind of grand worlds became harder to obtain. It was then,
when the decision was made to move the series to the GBA, that
Narihiro-san told me: ĎI want the series to return to the TV
screen once more. Letís make it our five-year objective.ĀEIn order
to achieve our goal, the decision was made to create content that
could sell worldwide. We thought that doing this would help us
eventually return to the home consoles.
─Up to the release of Sword of
Seals in 2002, no Fire Emblem game had been released in the
The second Fire Emblem for the
GBA and the 7th title in the series, released as simply ĎFire
EmblemĀEin the West, received international praise.
Yamagami: Thatís right. Though we made three Fire Emblems for the
GBA, it was because of the second game's definite success abroad
that the series could return to the home consoles in the form of a
GameCube game. In the period when Path of Radiance was released,
you could say that the GameCube was already on its deathbed. Even
so, we still managed to sell hardware with it. In other words, it
became even clearer that the series had the power to boost
The Wii was already releasing next year, so there was discussion
about releasing the next game as close to the launch as possible,
so that its effect on hardware sales could be maximised. That was
how the Wii was chosen to be the platform for Radiant Dawn.
Of course, when Path of Radiance was released, we felt that we had
finally returned to the home consoles, and thus naturally had no
intention of ending the story with only one title. Instead we kept
on expanding the gameís grand world. Thatís why, to release the
next game as close to the Wiiís launch as possible, the
development of the next game was commenced straight after Path of
Radiance came out.
Narihiro: If I remember correctly, the development began in May
2005, so all in all, the game took about two years to make.
aiming at the Wii's release window
─It was in May 2005 that the
Revolution (Wiiís codename) was announced, wasnít it?
Narihiro: Yes, but of course at the time we didnít have any
development kits. (laughs) So, thinking Ďif we prepare something
on this level, the Revolution should have no problem running it,ĀE
we went ahead with development, raising the quality of the game as
Maeda: We were very worried about how well our programmers were
Higuchi: ĎWeíve gone through all this trouble to make all this.
Will this really run on the Revolution?ĀEIíd really like to see
─So you never considered
releasing the game like Zelda, for the GameCube and the Wii at
the same time?
Narihiro: It wasnít possible. The gameís graphics were improved to
such a degree that the GameCube couldnít run it. Of course, the
Wii is more powerful than the GameCube. If we had made the game so
that the GameCube could run it, we would have ended up not using
the extra horsepower of the Wii.
When this FMV was shown during
the 2006 E3 press conference, Western game journalists cheered.
Yamagami: Looking back at the series, there has not been a single
time that we have aimed at releasing a Fire Emblem game for new
hardware near launch. This is the first time that we have done
this. Before this, the right timing was never there. It was like,
at the same time as we had finally managed to persuade Int-san
(short for Intelligent Systems) to do this, saying ĎThis is our
chance!,ĀEthere were no development kits. ĎDo we really want to go
through with this?ĀE(laughs)
Some people were trying to apply the brakes, saying that Ďsince
making a game for the GameCube already cost that much, it must be
even more expensive on the Wii.ĀEBut I told them that ĎIf you
think money is a problem, let me handle it.ĀEAnd with that,
development began for the Wii.
─So from the very beginning, your intention was to make
the game for the Wii, and you never considered the GameCube?
Yamagami: Thatís right. We never considered making it for the