To few people’s surprise, a brand new trailer for Fire Emblem if was shown towards the end of Nintendo’s April 2015 Nintendo Direct.
The first new piece of information was a confirmation that the customisable Avatar would be returning, although fans already worked this out in the original teaser. However, this time, the Avatar is the main focus and the main character of the game, rather than a mere side character.
Next, we learn that the story focuses on two nations at war: the peace-loving Hoshido and the glory-seeking Nohr. These nations are known as the “White Night Kingdom” and the “Dark Night Kingdom” in the Japanese version.
You–the Avatar–were raised by Nohr’s royal family, but in truth you were born from Hoshido’s royal family. During the course of the story, you must choose which nation to side with; according to the trailer, you can only choose “one path“, implying your choice is permanent.
After numerous pretty and epic cutscenes, we finally see some slices of gameplay. Most notably, enemies can now make use of the Dual system apparently, as a two on two battle can be seen.
It seems the Avatar is extra special too; he/she can use the “dragon’s vein” option on the map to create a bridge out of nowhere–perhaps this ability is used to affect the battle map. In addition, the Avatar can transform into a dragon during battle.
No matter your choices, the world and characters are the same, but the choices you make have the power to drastically change the storyline, battles and outcome. Judging from some of the cutscenes, it’s plausible some characters cannot be recruited depending on certain choices.
If you choose to side with Hoshido, you can expect a story akin to a tradition Fire Emblem game, as you focus your efforts on repelling the Nohrian invaders. However choosing to side with Nohr will lead to a more challenging experience as you attempt to alter Nohr from the inside.
To finish off, the game is scheduled for release on 25th June 2015 in Japan and 2016 in North America. Given the size of Fire Emblem games–and all the text to translate and localise–this really shouldn’t be shocking.
Actually, I lied. In the Japanese version of the Nintendo Direct, it was confirmed that Fire Emblem if will be available in two versions: “Fire Emblem if Hoshido” and “Fire Emblem if Nohr”. As the titles suggest, you can only play one of the two campaigns per game.
To make things easier, Hoshido and Nohr can be purchased as downloadable content (DLC) for a discounted price (1852 Yen vs 4700 Yen), so you can have both versions at once without having to pay exactly double.
Then to complicate matters again, after the game is released, there will be a massive DLC available, dubbed the “Third Path“, which costs the same amount (1852 Yen) as the Hoshido or Nohr DLC.
As for the digital version, there will only be one version, unlike the packaged game. Once you reach a certain point, you must decide whether to side with Hoshido or Nohr. After making this choice, the other campaign will be permanently locked (until you buy it as DLC).
Finally, hardcore fans and collectors can look forward to a limited edition containing both versions of the game, the “Third Path” DLC and extras. This bumper-packed edition will set you back 9250 Yen.