Three Houses: E3 2019 Nintendo Direct Analysis

Well, well, well… the cat is truly out of the bag now. During today’s E3 Nintendo Direct, a new trailer was shown for Three Houses, revealing the much-rumoured 5 year time skip. According to Nintendo Japan, the game’s story will will be divided into two parts: the academy and a huge war 5 years later.

First things first, a bunch of you are probably aware of the purported leak by Thanibomb from around a month ago. We’ve purposefully avoided discussing the leak because of its uncertain nature. But over time, the leak has correctly predicted a lot of information, such as names, character backgrounds and whatnot.

Of the predictions, the most outlandish ones were the time skip (including the exact number of years) and the aged up appearances of the three house leaders, which we now know are completely true. As such, when I have time later, I’m planning to properly dig through the rest of the leaks.

For now though, let’s see if we can break down the trailer shown to us!

Our third trailer focuses exclusively on cutscenes, with no gameplay in sight. This isn’t a bad thing, as we’ve learned a lot of gameplay details from the various Famitsu articles. Also, Three Houses will be featured during Treehouse Live, so it’s extremely likely that we’ll see some gameplay sooner or later.

The trailer begins by stating that a reunion is waiting for for the students in the future. It then briefly showcases some scenes from the students’ academy days. Some of these scenes we’ve seen before (in previous trailers or screenshots), although the very first one–in the abbey–is new.

The next scene is of the Golden Deer, with Claude showing the map of Fódlan. We saw this scene in the February trailer, although it was partially obscured. All eight Golden Deer members are featured, including Marianne (the girl on the far left, next to Lysithea), who we still don’t know much about.

Next we see a dashing Dimitri, followed by a happy Edelgard with a serious-looking Hubert behind her. Then we finish with the male protagonist (Byleth) walking forward. Maybe to begin teaching a class or to introduce himself? But that’s not too important.

However, in typical Fire Emblem/RPG fashion, this reunion is far from a happy one–instead, the students will come face to face with one another again in all-out war. So far, we don’t know the cause of the war, only that the three major nations are involved and that it occurs 5 years later.

We start with a shot of Edelgard, former house leader of the Black Eagles, in a new get up and hairdo. Presumably, she is now the emperor of Adrestia–or at least a powerful figure in the empire. By the way, even ignoring the leaks, a shot of older Edelgard was vaguely visible from the recent Limited Edition trailer.

Next up, we get a look at older Claude, who’s sporting some fancy facial hair, plus a new outfit with the Leicester coat of arms on his shoulder. Likewise, has he now become the ruling lord of the Leicester Alliance during the space of 5 years? Or is here merely an important figurehead?

In the background, you can see flames and yellow-armoured soldiers, presumably from Leicester, wounded (or dead) on the floor. You’re right Claude, this isn’t the kind of reunion one looks forward to…

It’s not Dimitri that we see next, but male Byleth, wielding the golden blade. Except he can wield the blade like a whip (or chain sword), similar to Nemesis(?) in the debut trailer from last year. Also, he has white hair instead of dark blue! Just what exactly happened to him?! Hopefully not taking drugs.

By the way, it seems male Byleth actually has very pale green hair. Which I’m guessing is fairly significant. However, to make things easier, I’ll just say he has “white” hair. Otherwise I’d have to keep calling him pale green-haired Byleth all the time, which is a bit more of a mouthful…

Now we get to see Dimitri. He has much longer hair and an eye-patch to boot. Oof, I have a feeling the eye-patch isn’t a fashion statement. Presumably Dimitri received a grievous wound at some point in time. Anyway, his outfit seems to have black and white fur. Also, there are flames and wounded soldiers behind him, like Claude.

As he thrusts his lance, we can see some really cool details if you freeze the video at the right moments. This lance seems rugged and golden in colour–like a familiar golden sword. It also seems to have a crest stone embedded in it, displaying the crest of Blaiddyd. I’m guessing this is Faerghus’s legendary weapon or at least Dimitri’s personal one.

Things start to heat up, literally, as soldiers are blasted by balls of fire. First, it happens to soldiers with blue armour, likely from Faerghus. But then soldiers in yellow armour, from Leicester, are bombarded. The source of this fire doesn’t seem to be a mage or even a dragon, but a weapon–a sword, perhaps–in the middle of swirling flames.

I’m pretty sure this event is what caused those injured soldiers during Claude and Dimitri’s introduction scenes from moments ago. It’s hard to tell, but I don’t think Adrestia was caught up in the flames. Perhaps it was caused by Adrestia in the first place? They did say Adrestians were good with magic…

Moving on, there’s a bird of prey flying across blue skies. The scene then transitions to older Edelgard, who says “still, we have no choice but to eliminate those who cling to unreasonable ideas of justice”. That’s pretty harsh, girl. The bird of prey is most likely a reference to the falcons in Adrestia’s flag.

As Edelgard is talking, Byleth with blue hair swings his golden blade, which is glowing red. There are candles in the background, which suggests this is inside a church or religious site. I believe he’s fighting one of the generic dark mages with a plague doctor mask.

During their clash, the colours turn distorted, which could be because of the dark mage’s magic–or because Byleth is invoking his time powers? This scene also seems to be from near the end of the February trailer, except back then, I thought the dark mage was fighting Catherine.

We then travel back to the distant past, to the apparent battle between the Divine Seiros and Nemesis the Liberation King. At least, I think it’s the same battle because there are lots of pegasus knights in the sky. Anyway, weird glowing red auras start to appear across the battlefield.

Back to the academy days now, with Edelgard and Dimitri happily dancing. Followed by Rhea turning around to smile, with the evening sky behind her (this scene is also visible in the artbook pages in the Limited Edition trailer).

But not all memories are sweet, as we then see Dimitri with dirt (or blood?) on his face.

A shocking scene plays with a big shadowy figure holding an unidentifiable female’s body with his arm. Similar to the dark mage, parts of the same scene flashed by in the February trailer. The female is probably the orange haired and eyed person seen back then. While the larger figure remains a mystery.

Update 3: Thanks to some fine detective work from Cysx, we know the figure holding the woman is not the man with white eyes who shows up later. Looking at the shape of the nose, it could be the man with black eyes instead (who also appears later).

In case you’re worried, I don’t *think* the orange-haired female is one we know. Mainly from the long hair in her fringe. Now, Leonie has orange hair and eyes, but her fringe looks shorter. Chances are it’s a generic (or unimportant) student who’s killed fairly early on.

The scene shifts to an overhead view of a town of some sort. This same town seems to be in the process of being nuked. In the background, there’s a wall around the town and the whole place looks relatively fancy. Perhaps it’s one of the triggers for the war? Could it even be Garreg Mach…?

We don’t have time to ponder as Nemesis and Seiros clash blades. This scene is part of the ancient battle seen in the debut trailer, except at the time, we never got to see Seiros fight. Wow, she’s a strong one, alright. Notice she has a special sword, with a slim, serpent-like shape and a cross-shaped hilt.

As they exchange blows, we see Seiros’s determined face, visible from the artbook pages. Not only that, but her eyes open abnormally wide, which can also be seen in the artbook (image 4). Wait, what’s she going to do? Transform into a dragon? Maybe summon the red glowing balls of whatever?

Reaper Knight enters the stage for a very brief moment. It’s hard to tell, but the knight is riding a horse, again like the artbook pages suggested (image 9). Also, he’s indeed found wandering in the middle of the day, despite what the rumours from Garreg Mach suggested. Well, sunlight is pretty healthy, after all.

From reaper to dragon! A gigantic dragon roars with a fiery background behind it. This may be the same dragon shown on the Church of Seiros’s flag (which also appears on the background of the calendar). It features the crest of Seiros on its forehead. Does that mean it’s a guardian of the church?

In the left screenshot, you can see a poor soldier caught in the dragon’s rampage, towards the right. The soldier looks like ones from the ancient battle, which were presumably Adrestian or Seiros’s, since they were getting obliterated by Nemesis. However, the time of day doesn’t appear to match.

Some official artwork of this dragon was revealed later on in the official E3 press kit. As you can see, it’s pretty dang huge and it’s the same kind of dragon shown in the Goddess’s mural. So it was known to exist during the era of Seiros. Also, I wonder if the bone-like weapons came from this dragon or its ilk?

An old man with black eyes is looking at something glowing red. Guess what? This guy was also visible from the artbook pages (image 3). I believe he’s staring at the protagonist, because he features on the same page (image 1), with the exact same red background. This man is saying “so the fell star consumes even the darkness itself”.

Update 2: OK, his dialogue was kind of hard to hear. According to DuckPhoenix, he’s saying “fell star”, not “fell stone”. If so, assuming he’s speaking to the protagonist, this suggests they’re the “fell star” or have its power at least. Maybe this is related to the protagonist wrapped in darkness at the end of the February trailer?

I’m guessing the protagonist is some kind of dark entity (maybe because he/she is descended from Nemesis). Because of this, he/she has the power to absorb and potentially cleanse the darkness? After all, darkness in Fire Emblem isn’t necessarily evil, but just a frequently misused power.

We see the man with white eyes, who’s activating some kind of magic circle or performing some kind of ritual. This time, we can see his face front on. He’s also wearing a curious earring on his left ear (his point of view). The magic circle looks very different to typical ones, looking almost mechanical.

Claude brings his own golden bone-like weapon, a bow that can fire magical arrows. Like a certain angsty Sniper from Hoshido! This bow, like Dimitri’s lance, has a crest stone embedded.

It’s hard to see here, but looking at his new artwork, the stone has the crest of Riegan. So this is one very special bow alright.

The past makes another appearance, with Nemesis looking through the flames, just like in the debut trailer. Immediately afterwards, somebody steps on and breaks something. Oh man, that’s the Flame Emperor’s mask. With the way this scene is framed, it seems like the Flame Emperor was defeated and unmasked.

Claude returns, showing a smiling face up towards the camera. Oh wait, I recognise this scene? It’s this one from the artbook pages (image 9). Of course, because of the low quality, it was impossible to tell it’s future Claude. But to think it was staring at us for a few days! Hmm, is older Dimitri in there too?

Speaking of, we see older Dimitri sulking on the ground, with dirt on his face again. This time, there’s a hand stretched out to him. It’s a dark-skinned hand, so I think it’s Claude’s. It could be Dedue’s too, since he’s his servant, but I would have expected his hand to be a little more, bigger?

Update: Oh wait, I forgot older Claude is wearing black gloves. Although looking at the outstretched hand, those could be gloves too. Okay, I have no idea. That said, Claude is speaking at this point (albeit in a different scene) and he mentions reaching out his hand. So it would be poetic for the hand to be Claude’s.

Claude then fires a magical bolt straight up into the sky. Is he aiming at something or making a warning shot? There definitely doesn’t look like anything in the sky. Oh wait, he’s gone and jumped already.

Things get pretty hairy as a pair of hands burst open from a chained up coffin. Wait, isn’t the coffin made of stone…? Soon after, whoever is inside grabs hold of the metal chains tying the coffin to presumably break them open. M-mommy!

Update: It was brought to my attention by redlight that the person emerging from the coffin is likely Nemesis. Look carefully at the arms in the left screenshot. Notice the band of rings and the spike on the side. Then compare with Nemesis’s arms. Oh crap, has Nemesis been brought back from the dead?

Older Edelgard makes a reappearance, holding onto the same sword wielded by Seiros. I’m guessing she’s the successor of Seiros’s will. It’s possible that Catherine was wielding the same sword in the February trailer, but evidently it’s in Edelgard’s hands now. Which could be ominous for Catherine. Anyway, she’s speaking to white-haired Byleth.

By the way, if you’re wondering why Edelgard has suddenly changed from an axe to a sword user, well, she may still be an axe user. Her official art shows her wielding a bone-like axe like Byleth and the other house leaders. Hers seems to have a crest stone with this unknown crest.

Sothis starts walking down the steps like in the February trailer. She says something rather intriguing: “both sides of time are revealed to you. What shall you do?” I think she’s referring to the time-reversing ability that saves Byleth’s life near the beginning of the game. But it takes on another meaning with the time-skip.

Before she finishes talking, I think we see the climatic moment the protagonist goes from blue hair to Super Saiyan, ahem, white hair.

At this time, a glowing red orb begins to form in the gap in the hilt of the golden blade. This is somewhat similar to the powered up version of Chrom’s Falchion in Awakening. He then raises the sword, engulfed in red light, upwards.

Cue a flashback to presumably a mock battle between the three house leaders–the same scenes from the February trailer. Oh no, they’re not going to take the time-rewinding power to its extremity and send you back in time to undo the entire war? Well, it’s not the first time it’s happened in the series, that’s for sure!

Or maybe, wouldn’t it be pretty cool if Byleth could freely jump between the two time periods like Link in Ocarina of Time? If so, maybe the golden sword is the key, just like the Master Sword? Only time will tell… Sorry.

The final scene is of the male protagonist in some kind of daze with flower petals flying near him. The words “how lovely it would be for this moment to last forever” ring in the background. The lighting looks different, but this could be the meeting with older Edelgard shown a few screens ago. The background looks kind of similar.

That’s it for the trailer, but as mentioned earlier, the game will also be featured during the Treehouse Live segments at some point in time. Hopefully we’ll get some good gameplay details when that happens!

One more thing, the fact sheet from the E3 press kit mentions a “new type of giant enemy–the Demonic Beasts”. The Black Beast featured in the February trailer (which has new artwork shown above) is probably one example of these. Indeed, it occupied a 2 x 2 square area.

Press Assets

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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  • nainelaine

    really not digging older Edelgard’s red-on-red-on-red get up. and.. that’s the only negative thing i have to say!

    this trailer seriously restored hype for me for 3 houses. it really makes me want to pre-order it, but unfortunately i’ll be out camping release week. ): older Dimitri and Claude are absolutely stunning. i’m not a fan of this character designer, and was convinced that despite her(?) history with otome, she couldn’t design attractive men. guess i was wrong!

    i mentioned it in the intial post, but what’s grabbing me the most here is how certain character’s may have developed and changed. Dimitri being the most obvious.. and most intriguing, in my opinion. i really, REALLY like what’s happening here. i haven’t been this excited for 3h since the initial trailer. 😀

  • linkhuesitos15

    If you made zoom on the Black Beast artwork you can see that it has a crest symbol on it’s nose like the white dragon.

    • Aveyn Knight

      Good observation! It uses a crest stone as a weapon, so I’m not too surprised. But I didn’t think to look there.

  • SourRainbow
  • Spike Spiegel

    This isn’t what I expected, and that’s why it was so amazing!

    Ever since the first trailer, I knew there’d be a time skip with the three lords being good friends and then get exposed to the realities of war. I just wasn’t expecting it to be years! I had this exact same problem with Endgame: I thought they’d skip 5 months and then they said years! So that means this game has to delivery a lot to justify it

    The lords are exactly how I envisioned them to turn into over time, though I think they’re still technically allies. And the only side character I’ve been curious about is Rea. These creepy still frames of her tell me nothing, but her intro video implies her to be important so I REALLY hope she isn’t evil. The ‘villains’ seem just as generic as Garon, but that could change soon.

    And as for Byleth…. they’re OK. They and Nemesis must have some sort of connection to the bone sword, the hair change is stupid but heart pumping and their connection to the lord you pick must really have a deep (platonic) relationship.

  • Killuawatt

    I see Edelgard has been taking lessons from princess Leia about regal hairstyles.

  • Suicunesol

    I wonder if other characters in the roster also get a 5 year time-skip design. They might look more interesting

  • Druplesnubb

    If you’re gonna deep dive into the leaks later on I’ll just want to warn you that Thani made a lot of posts over a long period of time and not everything is in the compilation thread. Here’s some posts that aren’t in said thread, taken from Thani’s post history. It contians information about the Church, Marianne, Jeralt and Dimitri’s childhood friends:

  • kyrt

    Bodes ill for Sylvain if he has a sister because that orange hair is spot on with the above image.

  • Devi

    In the dancing scene, Dimitri isn’t dancing with Edelgard. You can see that she has gloves on, but the hand on Dimitri is gloveless.

    • Semi Colon Parenthesis

      She’s not, it’s just the lighting making her hands like white like gloves.

  • chrillo

    Is is just me, or does Edelgard’s hair in the first pic have the same pale green color as Byleth’s?

  • Engel

    the old guy actually says “So the fell star (…)” which could refer to the Seiros or even Sothis as their name are alternate versions of the star named Sirius

  • Blaze1616

    I’m going to make a request that will likely get ignored, which is fine. Please do NOT cover the leaks in any capacity. Leaks are very harmful when they are as large as these have been for Three Houses. As far as I’m aware, companies view them as harmful to their sales given only people who are already fans seek them out, so they certainly don’t gain sales, and people who become disenchanted with the game won’t buy, so they do lose sales.

    I ask this as a fan of the Tales of series, which had a period in which nothing got localized and it was likely due to leaks and BandaiNamco’s anger over them. It’s probably more complicated than that, but the timeline of events certainly hint at it.

    Anyways, thanks for the coverage of the official info. I look forward to your coverage of the game itself upon release.

  • Gautam Sarathy (gsauceinator)

    Couple of things. First, the hand reaching for Dimitri definitely has a black glove, meaning it likely is Clause’s. Second, if Nemesis has been sealed away and isn’t dead, what of Seiros? Perhaps she too could be alive in some form, and Rhea does look almost exactly like her. What’s to say she isn’t masquerading as her own descendant to control the Church?