This is a small heads up for those who don’t frequent the forums or the Fire Emblem side of Reddit or Youtube.
In the videos, I visit several locations from the game–from Ram Village all the way to Rigel Castle–but beyond the imposed boundaries of the game. Hence the “out-of-bounds”.
If you’re interested in seeing these in-game locations from an entirely different perspective, you’re welcome to take a gander!
For some of the later videos, I’ve even swapped the lead character to shake things up. Like Emperor Rudolf featured in the picture above.
Inspiration for this video series came from a number of places. Firstly, one of my few issues with the game–amazing as it is–was the inability to freely explore villages, a feature present in the original Gaiden.
This was rather disappointing, not just because they kept the dungeon exploration and made it even better than in Gaiden, but by using the 3DS’s stereoscopic 3D, it was clear that villages were rendered in full 3D.
Therefore it was extremely exciting when I found out it was possible to modify the game so that village areas could be explored like dungeons. In fact, the way I did it was by physically loading a village into a dungeon.
Sadly, NPCs are absent and you cannot interact with the scenery for the most part. Plus any parts of the scenery you couldn’t see normally aren’t properly modeled. But this was to be expected since villages weren’t meant to be explored.
Secondly, via StreetPass, it’s possible to receive gossip from other players. One form of gossip can lead you to a completed battle map, which you can visit like a mini-dungeon to retrieve an item from a treasure chest.
Few people get to experience this since getting a StreetPass tag for Echoes can be tough–and even when you get one, there’s thought to be a 15% chance of getting a treasure chest gossip. So you have low odds on top of low odds.
Visiting one of these mini-dungeons is pretty cool, but also a massive tease since the area you can visit is small and enclosed by invisible walls. Of course, this makes sense since you’re only here to open the treasure chest.
However, that doesn’t stop one thinking of all the potential areas to explore beyond the invisible barrier. Even if there’s nothing to do, it would’ve been so fun to be able to just run around the various castles and fortresses.
Which is exactly what I ended up doing. By sheer accident, I was wandering around an arbitrary dungeon, when I created a Bookmark. I then modified the dungeon, swapping it with another, and loaded the Bookmark instinctively.
As soon as the dungeon loaded, I found myself floating in the middle of nowhere. Turning around, I noticed the dungeon itself was behind me. That’s when I realised my character’s XYZ co-ordinates were saved in the Bookmark.
With this knowledge, I could manipulate the save files to move my character anywhere, even beyond the invisible walls in the StreetPass mini-dungeons. The flip side was that I couldn’t go back “inside” the mini-dungeons; I was stuck outside the invisible walls!
Thankfully, most of the interesting areas are outside the invisible walls anywhere, so I was giddy like a schoolkid at Christmas. Like villages, interactions are limited, but there’s lots of fun to be had just running around where you’re not supposed to be.
One of my favourite places, although you can actually witness it via StreetPass as well, is in the Last Bastion (shown above). At the far north-east and north-west corners of the map, there are apparently dining or resting rooms for soldiers.
What’s particularly cool is that these rooms feature table and chairs that (as far as I remember) cannot be found anywhere else in the game. It gets better: These tables are fully destructible, just like barrels, boxes, etc.
Very few people will discover these rooms since there aren’t any enemies there when you’re battling in the Last Bastion. Although next time you’re there, you could move one of your units to the corners and tap on the magnifying glass to zoom into the nearby area.
At this point, you may be wondering how on Earth can you explore these villages and battle maps on foot? As it happens, the developers were pretty smart and created a system where all 3D areas are designed and behave in the same manner.
Primarily, this is to allow the transition between the overhead view and in-battle view to be as smooth as possible. Fans may know that this was already implemented in Fates, but the difference is that Echoes added dungeons.
Thus by telling (or tricking) the game to load an area as a dungeon, you can roam around it just like in a dungeon. The reverse is also true: If you load a village or a dungeon as a map, it will function as a map. (Although you may need to fix some parameters.)
Now I know some people have asked me how exactly I do this. It’s actually not too complicated and could even potentially be replicated with cheat codes (not that I’m an expert). In due time (i.e. when I have more time), I’ll share my methods.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy(ed) the videos and this additional insight. While I’m here, I’d also like to quickly plug another Echoes video series running parallel: Miscellaneous Hacks. Thanks for coming and see you next time!