Echoes: Japanese Official Website Revamped

Ahead of its release in just over a month’s time (in Japan), Nintendo has upgraded the Japanese website for Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia with lots of new information.

Some of this information is also covered in this week’s Famitsu, which we’re still waiting to officially come out. Although oddly the website hasn’t bothered explaining the Mila’s Gear feature at all.

About

The first section of the website discusses what Echoes is all about–which we all know already. More importantly, it has a couple of interesting comparison screenshots between the original Gaiden and its remake Echoes.

The following three screenshots can be found before entering the About section.

The left-most screenshot shows Alm near the very beginning of the game, on top of the Thieves’ Forest. Currently it’s the Year 401 and the 3rd day of the Flower Season.

Elsewhere, we discover that the day advances by 1 each time you move on the map so, working backwards, it’s likely the game starts on the 1st day of the Flower Season.

The middle screenshot shows Alm’s party on the very first map. Fans who have played Gaiden are sure to recognise the simple but distinctive layout! In addition to his original gang from Gaiden, Alm is joined by Faye, the new female Villager.

Meanwhile the right-most screenshot illustrates a battle between a Pegasus Knight and possibly an Arcanist. While we can’t see the Pegasus Knight’s body or face, it’s probably Clair since she’s in the Gaiden comparison picture.

The next new screenshot features Celica. At this point in time, she has her whole party from Chapter 2 and a Holy Ring equipped. Judging from her low level, this is probably near the beginning of her journey, at least halfway through Chapter 2.

Along the bottom of the section is an outline of the game’s story (which is the same as in the Fire Emblem Direct), plus a timeline of Valentia.

As far as we know, this timeline is brand new to Echoes and provides more backstory behind the Rigelian and Zofian war. Here it is translated:

Approximately 3000 years before the story

At the land of Valentia, the sibling gods Duma and Mila went to war. At the end of an arduous battle, Duma and Mila divided Valentia into two, the north ruled by Duma and the south ruled by Mila, with the two declaring to never invade the other. This was the covenant of the gods.

Year 1: A sage with knowledge of the celestial bodies’ motions introduced the notion of a calendar system to Mila, who acknowledged it. This year was chosen as the first year of the Valentia Calendar.

Year 189: The Rigelian Empire was established in the northern region ruled by Duma and the Kingdom of Zofia was built on the southern lands ruled by Mila.

Year 374: The young Rudolf was appointed as the successor of the Rigelian Empire’s Emperor Rigel III. He ascended as Emperor Rudolf I.

Year 384: King Lima III of Zofia perished. Although his eldest son Lima IV was crowned, he had little interest in politics and the villainous Dozer secured the position of Chancellor.

Year 398: Poor harvests caused the food-stocks of the Rigelian Empire to run dry. Rigel’s request for assistance from Zofia were met with rejection. Rudolf I himself led the troops to invade Zofia. Rigel and Zofia entered all-out war.

Year 399: The inexperienced Zofian army were repeatedly defeated by the overwhelming Rigelian forces and Rigel steadily crept into Zofian territory. Desaix managed to contact the upper echelon of the Rigelian Army and negotiated a cease-fire in exchange for a large compensatory sum of gold. The Rigelian Army remained garrisoned in Northern Zofia and tensions continued to grow.

Year 400: Desaix triggered a coup d’etat, and the Zofian royal family including Lima IV were assassinated one after the other. The Deliverance was established by the Zofian nobility who opposed Desaix, with Clive as its leader.

Behind the story text is a looping video that mostly contains footage we’ve seen before, but briefly includes a few new shots of an unknown villain standing before a glowing light.

Our bets are on a Duma worshiper–probably Judah from Gaiden–standing in front of a resurrecting Duma.

Characters

Here we learn about the first 8 characters that can be recruited in each of Alm’s and Celica’s parties. After selecting a character, you can listen to three short voice clips.

Alm
Initial class: Fighter
Voice actor: Natsuki Hanae

One of the main characters. He grew up in the village of Ram located at the borders of the Kingdom of Zofia. Trained by his grandfather Mycen, he has an exceptional sword arm. He joined the Deliverance to fight against Rigel to test his strength and because of his strong sense of justice.

Gray
Initial class: Villager
Voice actor: Kishō Taniyama

A childhood friend of Alm’s who lives in Ram Village. Has an aloof personality. Since he was born in a merchant family he’s chatty and well informed. Along with Alm, he joined the Deliverance.

Tobin
Initial class: Villager
Voice actor: Atsushi Abe

A childhood friend of Alm’s who lives in Ram Village. He’s the eldest son of a big family and fights for the Deliverance to earn money. He’s straightforward, simple and serious, but terrible at reading the mood.

Kliff
Initial class: Villager
Voice actor: Mitsuki Saiga

A childhood friend of Alm’s who lives in Ram Village. Loves reading books and studying history, and acts surprisingly maturely for his age. Because he was interested in seeing the world, he joined the Deliverance.

Faye
Initial class: Villager
Voice actor: Atsumi Tanezaki

A childhood friend of Alm’s who lives in Ram Village. Has admired Alm ever since childhood. She joined the Deliverance to keep close to Alm.

Lukas
Initial class: Soldier
Voice actor: Takahiro Sakurai

A member of the Deliverance, a young man from the middle nobility. He’s polite to everyone and anybody he meets. He invited Alm and the others to join the Deliverance.

Silque
Initial class: Cleric
Voice actor: Yuka Inokuchi

A wandering Cleric. Alm rescued her when she was captured by thieves. After that, she entrusted Alm with her treasured Mila’s Gear and accompanied him in battle.

Clive
Initial class: Cavalier
Voice actor: Hiroshi Kamiya

Leader of the Deliverance, a young man hailing from the upper nobility. Once a knight of the Zofian Order, but in response to Desaix’s rebellion he created the Deliverance.

Celica
Initial class: Priestess
Voice actor: Nao Tōyama

One of the main characters. She spent her childhood days with Alm but left the village after a certain incident, serving as a Priestess at Novis. After having an ominous dream about Alm and to determine the cause of many unusual happenings in Zofia, she leaves on a journey to the Mila Temple.

Mae
Initial class: Mage
Voice actor: Eri Inagawa

A mage who works at the Novis Monastery. Her role is Celica’s servant, but the two are also close friends. She accompanies Celica on her journey towards the Mila Temple.

Boey
Initial class: Mage
Voice actor: Takuma Sasaki

A mage who works at the Novis Monastery. He serves Celica together with his childhood friend Mae. He accompanies Celica on her journey towards the Mila Temple.

Genny
Initial class: Cleric
Voice actor: Yuki Horinaka

A cleric who lives in Novis Monastery. She’s like a little sister to Celica. She accompanies Celica on her journey towards the Mila Temple.

Saber
Initial class: Mercenary
Voice actor: Takehito Koyasu

Once a soldier from the Rigelian Empire, now a mercenary hanging around Novis. He becomes Celica’s trusty sword in exchange for gold.

Valbar
Initial class: Knight
Voice actor: Takahiro Fujiwara

An ex-soldier who seeks revenge on Dach, the pirate who murdered his family. He joined Celica to exact his vengeance. Headstrong and always trying to help people with nary a regard of the consequences.

Leon
Initial class: Archer
Voice actor: Takahashi Kōji

A pretty boy ex-soldier who follows his big brother figure Valbar. Has a frank personality and a sharp tongue, but he’s an honest man who tells no lies.

Kamui
Initial class: Mercenary
Voice actor: Shuhei Matsuda

A mercenary from a distant nation. He was hired by Valbar for the purpose of revenge. Has a carefree and easy-going personality. A freedom-loving drifter who hates being tied down.

Besides these 16, the website will eventually include other characters too.

System

This is where we learn about the gameplay, but it’s sadly a bit barebones right now. That said, there are still a few things we can deduce.

The most important news is that the game features Normal and Hard difficulty levels as well as Classic (fallen allies never come back) and Casual (fallen allies return after the current map) modes.

Right now, it remains to be seen whether higher difficulty levels (such as Lunatic) can be unlocked. Either way, it’s still an improvement over the original, which only had a secret Easy Mode.

Otherwise, there are a few videos and screenshots for us to put under the magnifying glass.

The above video appears on the front page and briefly shows the player entering a battle. Currently it’s near the beginning of Gaiden’s Chapter 3, after Alm and Celica split ways. The date is 401, 7th of Pegastym (Pegasus Season).

To the far right, you can see a Pegasus Knight next to an axe-wielding enemy. Assuming the story is largely unchanged from Gaiden, this would be Palla and Catria from the Archanean saga getting waylaid by thugs.

After Alm moves one space on the map, the day changes to the 8th. We’ll see a similar thing happen in another video. It’ll be interesting to find out what happens if you move around a lot–and, importantly, if there’s a deadline for saving the world.

Next, the player switches over to Celica and initiates a battle. The scene then transitions to what we believe is a completely different map, taking place on board a ship. Whereas in Gaiden, the map with Palla and Catria takes place on land.

Anyway, when the player selects Celica, there’s a conspicuous “Talk” bubble above Mae. Could this be the return of chapter or character-specific conversations on the map (like in Shadow Dragon) or even the return of support conversations? Hmm…

Not terribly important, but in the top-left corner appears to be Valbar and his friends. So indeed this is a different map to the one with Palla and Catria–in fact, it’s the Pirate Fort map where you recruit Valbar’s group afterwards.

Valbar at least has a shield icon (in addition to his Knight’s shield), which could mean he’s a NPC you need to protect. Boy do we not miss those missions…

Before Celica engages a foe, we see she has a support bonus from Genny who’s 2 spaces away. While Celica’s stats do not receive a boost, the enemy’s Critical rate has been subtly decreased to 0.

The first video in the actual section is very similar to the previous one. This time Celica is hogging the spotlight, near the beginning of Chapter 2 of Gaiden. The date is 401, 6th of the Bird Season.

So now we have Flower, Bird and Pegasus as the currently known seasons. It appears each chapter of the game takes during one season, unless it’s a coincidence. This would mean there’s only one or two more seasons for Chapters 4 and 5.

Again, after Celica moves, the day advances by one. In addition, a Terror spawns from the Novis Graveyard from where Celica came from. It’s also really cool seeing the updated pirate ships. Not only that, but there’s a Dracozombie near the top-left corner.

The third and final video shows Alm launching a painful critical hit on a foe. Besides it looking cool, there’s not much to comment about. So just sit back and enjoy!

Our work here isn’t quite done. Below the last video are some screenshots showing off basic tactics.

The first set illustrates the use of Archers. But if we turn our attention away from Kliff the Archer, we can see that Faye is a Pegasus Knight (between Alm and Silque). This is interesting since Pegasus Knight wasn’t a class-change option for Villagers.

Then again, there weren’t any female Villagers in Gaiden. The big question is, does the Pegasus Knight replace an existing class option or is it simply an addition? After all, there aren’t any obvious male-only class options.

The second set explains Mages. We have Mae blasting the living daylights of a Terror with her Aura spell. Compared to Gaiden, it has 1 less Might, but 2 less Weight. So not a bad trade-off at all.

Mae is also equipped with a Speed Ring to cleverly offset the high Weight. Furthermore, she is receiving a (presumably critical-reducing) support bonus from Genny, but not Celica and Boey, despite them being relatively nearby.

The final set talks about terrain bonuses, which can make or break a battle. The obvious thing here is that Gray is receiving a support bonus from both Alm and Tobin. This appears to give him a small Critical boost and sizeable boost to Hit rate.

The other thing is that two Pegasus Knights are visible–one towards the right and one near the top of the battle forecast, between the two windows. Both have light-coloured hair, so it seems Clair is no longer blue-haired in Echoes.

Amiibo

The first piece of information was already available from Amazon Japan’s product description: when you scan the Alm or Celica Amiibo, you can unlock a special dungeon in Echoes.

There’s more. Players can write their in-game Alm and Celica data to the corresponding Amiibo and use the same Amiibo to summon a “phantom warrior” in-game, whose stats depend on the written data.

Here are the details from the Japanese Amiibo site:

Amiibo can be scanned in via the Mila’s Gear option on the world map. Doing so will unlock the “Summon Amiibo” ability. Any Amiibo can be scanned, but only Alm or Celica’s Amiibo will unlock the special dungeon and have their unit data written to their Amiibo.

During battles, Alm or Celica can use the “Summon Amiibo” ability. This will allow you to scan an Amiibo, which in turn summons a phantom warrior to fight alongside you. The summoned unit depends on the type of Amiibo scanned.

About the Author: VincentASM
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  • Calico

    Huh, it says Gray has an aloof personality and he’s chatty. Those are pretty contradictory.

    • Aveyn Knight

      Hmm, might be a poor choice of words. It means he’s good at talking and not really attached to anything.

    • Ember Hermin

      chatty: talks a lot
      aloof: doesn’t get close to people
      Nothing contradictory there

      • Noktis Zariah

        Who does he talk to then?

  • KoriCongo

    Ateleir Faye: Alchemist of the Valentian Deliverance. Nice to see that Hidari’s artwork doesn’t stray too far from her roots, yet they do have that Fire Emblem charm.

    Not sure how to feel about the Amiibo mechanics. Having an Einjehar mechanic is weird, especially with it being just another Alm or Celica. It’s redundant. I guess the other amiibo will give items, or maybe include the Hero Battles from Fates.

    • Ember Hermin

      On the website it says they’ll also give you an ally–a monster-type one–… for one turn. ONE. :/

  • M.A.N.

    The game’s events takes place in the year 401? Hmm… the timelines article I found on this web site says Marth’s games and Gaiden take place in the 600s, so does this mean Echoes has retconned when Alm and Celica’s quests take place? If so–and assuming the placement of Marth’s games didn’t change with the remakes–then it would be a little tough to explain how Palla, Catria, and Est would be running around with Alm and Celica. On the other hand, it gives a little more leeway to how Falchion could’ve hopped between two continents without anyone knowing (assuming Falchion is even still in Echoes; there’s a chance they replaced it with a completely different weapon).

    I don’t think this’ll be a big deal in the long run, but unless they changed Falchion to a different sword and replaced the pegasus trio with different characters, we’ll have some continuity issues to work out. ^_^;;

    • Calico

      The calendar used in this game is probably different than the ones used in the Archanea games, since it refers to itself as the Valentian calendar, and starts when the concept of a calendar was introduced to that continent.

      • M.A.N.

        Different calendars would explain a few things regarding the pegasus trio, but not so much the bouncing Falchion (as amusing an image as that is). That bit of continuity weirdness was there in the original version of Gaiden, but again, it’s easily fixed with a simple name change. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. 🙂

        • decus

          The FE1/FE3/FE:A Falchion is one Falchion as they all function the same, are said to be the same, etc. The weaker Falchion in SD is another Falchion as it’s obviously different. And, the FE2/SoV Falchion is yet another as it both functions differently–seals a goddess, has no starspheres–and is never said to be the same that I can recall.

        • Aveyn Knight

          With the Japanese subtitle being “Another Hero-King”, I think they’ll keep it as “Falchion” to continue drawing parallels with Marth.

          As mentioned, the Falchion isn’t a unique weapon in the series and there can be more than one at a time. Whether through timey wimey shenanigans or just breaking a tooth from a dragon’s jaw.

        • Mattey

          There were two Falchions. Alm’s Falchion is just like Marth’s Falchion, except a different wielder. They’re two seperate swords with the same name and purpose.

  • The Amiibo data…that doesn’t look good for my hopes of Roy’s Amiibo doing SOMETHING in a Fire Emblem game. Nonetheless, I still cling desperately to the hope that they haven’t forgotten our boy.
    Also, yay for an updated look for everyone so they don’t look…like they used to. That was…I still have nightmares about some of the old portraits…*shudder*

  • Alexander Bodine

    The character artwork looks so cool!

  • Suicunesol

    Kamui from a distant nation, huh? Say’ri’s ancestor perhaps?

  • tariqq

    Abit worried that alm’s pegasus seems to be missing could she have been removed?

    • Aveyn Knight

      She’s probably still there. Ctrl + F “Clair” in the article.

  • Noktis Zariah

    “Poor harvests caused the food-stocks of the Rigelian Empire to run dry. Rigel’s request for assistance from Zofia were met with rejection. Rudolf I himself led the troops to invade Zofia. Rigel and Zofia entered all-out war.”

    So basically this is what Fates should have been but wasn’t.

    • Ember Hermin

      I bought Conquest first because this is what I thought it would be. Before the end of Chapter 6 I realized that was a mistake. rEGRET

      • Noktis Zariah

        To think that the story we all expected Fates to deliver would be brought to us by an expansion of an NES game.

        Then again the development for this game was kept under wraps really well and wasn’t hindered by stupid decision making.

  • Ikewise

    Well, they can’t screw up three times in a row, can they?

    • Doctor Robert

      Here’s to hoping.

    • Ember Hermin

      >doesn’t like new Fire Emblem
      >keeping up with Fire Emblem news
      ????

      • Ikewise

        Crazy, isn’t it? 🙂
        Perhaps not all older fans have given up on the series and this site just yet,
        eventhough new fans here behave rude.