Three Houses: Updated Analysis + Summary Pages

On 13th February 2019, Nintendo finally gave us a second look at Fire Emblem: Three Houses, during their first Nintendo Direct of the year.

If you were around on that day, you may have seen my analysis of the new trailer already. However, in the following days, I’ve been constantly updating it with lots of new details–thanks to the help of many observant fans.

That said, the original analysis was already a pretty big read. So if you’d rather only read the new findings, I’ve included those separately in this article. Otherwise, feel free to hit the analysis page.

Additionally, I’ve created a couple of new pages summarising the information we currently know, such as the characters, world map and gameplay. So you don’t need to wade through all the screenshots and analysis. Please look under “Key Information” in our Three Houses page.

Finally, I also updated the Images and Videos page with direct feed screenshots and character portraits of the 5 key characters–including new portraits for male and female Byleth. Many thanks to Nintendo for sharing these!

Arrange content by:

Lord_Grima had a look at Leicester’s national crest in depth. As pointed out in the E3 analysis, the Moon in the top-left corner corresponds to one of the crests on the Goddess’s mural. But there are actually three more crests that also appear on the mural. I’ve numbered them 2 to 4.

Curiously, crests 2 to 4 are located far from the moon crest, which seems to belong to the Leicester capital of Riegan. Instead, they’re huddled near the crest of Blaiddyd, the capital of Faerghus. That said, the order of the crests on the mural may simply be random, because later on, we can find the crests in a completely different order.

I was planning to do this earlier, but I tried my best to transcribe all of the world map locations. Please note that some names might be slightly off, since they were hard to identify from the available footage.

By the way, the following locations were added to the map since E3: Arundel, Ordelia, Rhodos Coast, Grounder Field, Fodlan’s Fangs. One location was removed: Samhain, found between Garreg Mach and Leicester Alliance.

Fodlan’s Fangs and Fodlan’s Throat, found near the far west and far east of the continent respectively, may have a deeper meaning. If you look at where these locations are and then look at the whole map, you should notice the continent is shaped after a dragon’s head. Could the continent be a deceased dragon?

The old teacher may be the tome wielder seen in this battle in the debut trailer. The face does look very similar. If so, you can look forward to battling against other teachers, not just students!

Similarly, this teacher also appeared in the debut trailer, raining fireballs on her foes. Without context, it’s hard to tell if she’s on your side or not. Her being on the opposite side of the screen suggests she’s a foe, but it could be the direction she triggered battle too.

Serea-chan suggests that “Mercie” could be a nickname for Mercedes, who briefly appeared in the debut trailer. Indeed, their appearances look similar.

A few users noticed that all of the dialogue boxes featured in the trailer are fully voiced. It’s hard to tell with the narrator talking over the dialogue, but if you concentrate, you can definitely hear it. Could the game have full voice acting like Fire Emblem Echoes?

Sylvain’s surname “Gautier” is also the name of a location near the northern tip of Faerghus. Considering Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude’s surnames are also shared with world map locations, it’s highly likely the other students–presumably all nobility–will follow suit.

For your convenience, we’ve catalogued all the characters that appeared in the trailer, including all known house alignments in our Characters page. Many of the alignments are guesses based on two key assumptions.

The first is that each of the three houses includes eight students, at least at the start. Below, we see Byleth leading the Black Eagles and they seem to have eight members. The second is that students from each house will typically only interact or are seen with others from the same house (except for battles against each other).

These may seem like loose assumptions, but we can actually find exactly eight students for each of the three houses. (At the time of writing, only six students are listed for the Golden Deer, but we know of two more–we just can’t see their faces, so I didn’t bother listing them.)

If you directly compare the above screenshots, it seems the English and Japanese trailers are taken from different builds of the game. The English screenshot has improved rock textures and more shadows. This makes sense since the English translation has to follow afterwards,

Ayra noticed that Curved Shot boosts Bernadetta’s attack range by 1 when selected. This effect didn’t appear in Echoes, although bows had naturally high range in that game.

You may have noticed the number 3 after Curved Shot in the battle forecast. This is presumably its cost, but it’s not clear what currency is used. In Echoes, HP was consumed, but Bernadetta doesn’t seem to lose HP. Meanwhile, this number is directly above the Iron Bow’s number of uses…

Multiple users have pointed out that Petra has 100% critical rate. Which is very unusual, especially for an early battle. This definitely isn’t from a Combat Art, as none is visible. But it could be from a skill, perhaps. That or the developers rigged a guaranteed critical hit for the trailer!

A minor observation. In the Japanese version, the Battalion Level is referred to as the “Knights Level”. That likely means that the troops/battalions fighting with you and and the students are literally the Knights of Seiros mentioned by the narrator.

A couple of users pointed out that Petra requires 110 experience to Level Up. In every other mainline game, you need exactly 100 experience for all Levels. This could suggest the game is following a more tradition form of Level progression–similar to Heroes.

You may have noticed Dorothea has a rank of E+ in Sword (and Authority in the Japanese trailer). Judging from the EXP required, it seems rank progression goes from E (40 to rank up), E+ (60 to rank up) and D (80 to rank up). Presumably there’s D+ after that.

Right now, I’m unsure what’s the benefit of spreading out the progression. Assuming there’s at least A+ rank, that’s 10 ranks in total. Also assuming it takes 20 additional EXP for each rank, you’re looking at around 1080 EXP to go from E to A+, which is a crazy amount for Fire Emblem.

Earlier, we saw that Petra gained 3 EXP for Sword and 2 EXP for Authority after defeating a foe. So the rate you gain EXP is roughly the same as earlier games. But now you may need to earn four times the amount. This could mean Three Houses is a really long game or you’d better work on those Lesson Plans!

In the Japanese trailer, after selecting Faith and Riding as Linhardt’s custom focus, the screen remains for a few split seconds longer. Enough time to see that Linhardt doesn’t have an up arrow (strength) in Riding. This is further evidence that the up and down arrows aren’t related to the focus.

MagikarpFestival pointed out that Caspar can deal 2 attacks before the foe, so this could be an intrinsic property of Fighting weapons. It’s not because of a Combat Art, as none is shown and probably not because the weapon is special, since it’s a basic Iron one. But it could be from a skill etc.

The magic user that Caspar is fighting counter-attacks with magic and invokes the same magic circle seen earlier. Because of the contrast, it’s easier to see the text on the magic circle, although it’s still difficult to make everything out. Above, I’ve flipped the image and labelled the text that’s easiest to see.

Lord_Grima discovered that text #1 says “The Goddess always lives in heaven and Fodlan”. This is a reference to the fable from the E3 trailer that said the Goddess watches Fodlan from above. Text #2 seems to say “living beings. As support of all m______ things”. Text #3 looks like “__ __ ___ning over us. As the mother of all”.

Judging by the capitalisation in texts #2 and #3, it appears text #3 flows straight into text #2. So it should be “…over us. As the mother of all living beings”. If that’s the case, perhaps text #1 flows straight into text #3. Especially since the beginning of text #3 doesn’t fully make sense by itself.

So we end up with “The Goddess always lives in heaven and Fodlan. __ __ ___ning over us. As the mother of all living beings. As support of all m______ things.” That’s probably the best we’ll get until we get a better zoom in of the circle.

Yayatou noticed that the Japanese trailer has slightly different colours and/or poses for the characters in the Gambit Boost. Above is the English footage overlayed with the Japanese footage (you’ll need to click it). To make things easier, I changed the order of characters in the Japanese trailer so they’re the same.

Of note, the guy hiding one of his eyes and Edelgard have the same pose, but the guy’s clothes are a different colour. Meanwhile, the Avatar and Ferdinand have different poses and colours. This could be because they’re in different classes, but it doesn’t explain the guy in-between them who clearly has the same costume.

Perhaps you can modify the colour of a character’s costume? Alternatively, it could simply be because the footage is from different builds of the game. We do have evidence of that after all. Notice how Edelgard has the exact same costume, but her face–especially her eyes and fringe–are noticeably different.

Mason Klaus rightfully points out that the axe wielder attacking the Avatar is Kostas, the boss of the first map shown in the trailer. So this scene probably occurs after the Avatar has become a teacher, since he’s leading the Black Eagles.

If that’s the case, this contradicts the timing of the Avatar’s awakening and meeting Sothis. Unless the Avatar hadn’t “fully” awakened during the incident before he became a teacher. Or the scene with Kostas attacking at night occurred prior to the Avatar becoming a teacher–and isn’t part of the same map.

Actually, the latter could be plausible, considering Claude and Dimitri are there–and not the rest of the Black Eagles. That could mean Kostas survived the Avatar’s counter-attack and you have to fight him again when you’re a teacher. Or maybe I’m thinking too hard!

Calico pointed out that the flying swordsman is in fact a swordswoman, if you look at her, well, chest. Because the scene is so fast and blurry, I totally missed it the first time!

Enduin noticed that this stone features one of the crests in the Goddess’s mural. In which case, this would be a crest stone. Wait, is this the Crest Stone of Gautier equipped by the Black Beast? If so, perhaps the darkness surrounding the stone summoned the Black Beast? Or is the beast drawing power from the stone?

A minor observation. The soundtrack CD has the crests from the Goddess’s mural. Not only that, but all the crests are clearly visible–even the crests that are worn out on the mural. As such, I was able to recreate all four of the worn out crests (and fix up a barely affected crest).

Unrelated to the Direct itself, the Nintendo Japan website added an article discussing the trailer. Towards the bottom, it confirms that Chinatsu Kurahana is the character designer and artist.

About the Author: VincentASM
Fire Emblem fan since 2002 and webmaster of Serenes Forest. Occasionally an online content editor or brand ambassador. Is a sucker for mage girls and has an unhealthy stash of Sylveon plushies.
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  • Brave Lady Lyn

    I think the other teachers will be playable not surprising judging by the female attacking the generic enemy could be happening at midgame and would be nice having non-student characters in the fray.

    • Mason Klaus

      I agree, its possible the other teachers are likely mid to lategame prepromotes to replace anyone that was lost early on especially if they’re doing a iron man challenge.

  • Chris Andersen 151

    I noticed the crest at the top of the circle of crests looks somewhat like the Exalt’s Brand from Awakening, though not exactly. Perhaps this is a precursor to the Exalt’s Brand? Similarly, there is a crest that looks as if it could be an early version of the Fell Brand and even a crest that resembles the top portion of the special lance Azura wielded in the promotional art/cover of the Special Edition of Fates, albeit, upside down.
    This makes me wonder if this game takes place sometime prior to Awakening, but after Fates, Shadow Dragon, and Shadows of Valentia. I am aware that Fates takes place in a different world than Awakening,Shadow Dragon, and Shadows of Valentia, but the Dragon-gates are a thing, and Priam is a descendant of Ike, but he exists in the world of Awakening, so perhaps different characters from various FE titles traveled to a new world and settled there and had children, then after a century or two, we have the events of this game? IDK, just a interesting observation, it’s probably nothing though, I’m likely overthinking this.

    • Böser

      I was thinking that the crests represent the dragons seen in past games as that seems a couple resemble the symboles theat reprosent them anouther one i saw (first on the 3rd row) looks like anankos’ eye pattern/ the eye portal from awakening cant decide which.

      • Chris Andersen 151

        It is possible that is the case as well, plus, if Fodlan really is the head of a massive dead dragon, then having the crest tie to dragons/manaketes from the series would actually make a lot of sense. Only time will tell. Also, I think the crest that resembles the Fell Brand (fourth on the 4th row) is the same one that is on the cape of the guy with the chain-sword from the first trailer, and might also be tied to the Church of Seiros/Sothis, which could mean, the Church might actually be villainous or have something messed up about their ideals.

  • Chris Andersen 151

    I just noticed that there are two crests that have a strong tie to Naga/Tiki. Both of these symbols can be seen on the fourth row.

    The first is the first symbol on the fourth row and it nearly perfectly matches the crest on Young Tiki’s tiara, the only difference being the line that goes through the small circle doesn’t pass through the crescent shape in this crest, but the one on Young Tiki’s headpiece passes through both the small circle and the crescent.

    The second is the third symbol on the fourth row and it too nearly matches the crest on Tiki’s headpiece, though it is upside down, and lacks the small inner circle.

    So it could be possible that the denizens of Fodlan are aware of Naga, which could hint that this game takes place in the same world as Genealogy of the Holy War, Shadow Dragon, Heroes of Light and Shadow, Shadows of Valentia, and Awakening. As to how far from Archeana/Ylisse, Valentia/Valm, Plegia, and Jugdral this Kingdom is, we don’t know. It could also be possible that Fodlan is the new name of Jugdral though, occurring at the same time period as Awakening. Of course, we don’t know for sure.