Three Houses: Japanese Introduction Video & Commercials

In addition to the announcement of the pre-load and Expansion Pass for Three Houses, Nintendo Japan shared a new introduction video, outlining (and recapping) all the key features, as well as 4 short TV commercials.

The introduction video is the main highlight here. It’s around 9 mins long, although it mainly covers stuff that’s already been revealed via Famitsu and whatnot. However, if you look carefully, there are lots of juicy details to be found.

For the record, it’s past 2 am as I start writing this, so I’m going to avoid speculating and try to keep things matter of fact (if I can help it). Since my brain isn’t functioning at full capacity, haha.

Anyway, the start of the video is pretty much a combination of the very first and second trailers. It opens with the history of Fódlan. We see an ancient war happen, which–as far as we know–is the battle between the Divine Seiros and Nemesis the Liberation King. Afterwards, the three nations were established.

Next, it moves onto Garreg Mach Monastery, the base of the Church of Seiros, and the protagonist’s role as a newly inducted professor at the Officer’s Academy. As the protagonist steps foot in the monastery, he looks up and his eyes meet with Rhea, the Archbishop of the church. These are two scenes we’ve seen separately.

Naturally, the video then goes on to talk about the three houses. This time, when introducing the houses and their leaders, the footage in the background isn’t darkened out and more of it can be seen. Now we get to clearly see all 8 members of each house, including a pretty hilarious moment with Ingrid and Sylvain!

With the premise out of the way, it’s time to discuss the battle system! Of note, we’re shown a wide angle view of three maps. The first map seems to have a playable Catherine and Flayn (we’ll see these two later). Meanwhile the second map *might* have a playable Shamir, who’s the archer near Claude and Hilda.

There’s also an obligatory lava map, which may be the one shown near the end of the debut trailer. Strangely, it looks like Byleth has light-coloured hair, but this isn’t after the timeskip, since all the students look unchanged. Also, Dimitri can be seen further left and he doesn’t have an eye patch.

The next bit’s all about Combat Arts. These are special techniques you can use depending on your equipped weapon type. In order, they’re Tempest Lance (Sylvain), Helm Splitter (Gilbert–confirmed playable) and Wrath Strike (Byleth). Nothing too fancy there.

After that is an explanation of Battalions and Gambits. This involves the troops that follow your units around and the special attacks/buffs they can provide. As this section begins, you can see playable Flayn near the bottom-right corner. She’s equipped with a Faith spell, as you can imagine.

The Gambits are Lure (Dimitri), Linked Horses (Leonie), Resonant White Magic (Marianne), Onslaught (Byleth), Blaze (Ferdinand), Group Bow Attack (Ashe), Fortification (Dedue), Assembly (Ingrid) and Group Ice Magic (Mercedes).

Update: Thanks to Denis for pointing it out, Dimitri and Ingrid actually use different Gambits. But the spelling is similar, so I got confused. I also had them mixed up in the 15th May Famitsu article. Oops.

After Mercedes uses Group Ice Magic, she causes Distress to nearby foes. Also, you can see Alois has ended his turn to her north-west. This looks like the same port map that Claude and Hilda were in. If you go back to that screenshot, you can see Alois towards the north-west, near where Byleth is.

Update: It’s not 100% certain that Alois is a playable (blue) unit here. Looking at his HP bar, it seems to have a green tint. Perhaps this is the map where he assists you, like Catherine in the Magdred map (which we’ll see later on). I’d be surprised if he didn’t eventually join you though.

After Battalions, it’s Co-ordinated Attacks and Co-ordinated Gambits. These occur when you attack or use a Gambit near allies that can target the same foe from their current position. We also see Felix trying to fight a giant wolf (seen during Treehouse Live) alone, before Dimitri comes rushing in with a Co-ordinated Gambit to save his butt.

Poor Caspar gets killed to show off the time-rewinding mechanic, Divine Pulse. For those curious, Catherine is among the playable units who have already moved. That said, we already saw her earlier–and in both scenarios, the player is leading the Black Eagles, so there’s nothing new to gleam.

That’s the battle system done and dusted. Where else can we go but the academy system? Off the bat, we’re shown the calendar system and how to formulate a lesson plan. This can involve instructing students, like Mercedes above. She has strengths in Reason and Faith, weaknesses in Sword, Lance and Axe and a hidden Bow talent.

Another important element of a lesson plan is the weekly group tasks. Here, Dimitri and Sylvain are helping with stable duty, to boost their Riding skill level. Curiously, in the report, there are no up arrows next to either. Yet, if my calculations are correct, they both have a strength in Riding. This means I’m wrong or the arrows (and lack of) are unrelated.

At the end of the final weekday, you’ll get the results of your students’ self-study. They will gain experience in the skill levels that their goals are set towards. If their skill level increases, they may learn new Abilities and/or Combat Arts. Here, Dimitri learns Knightkneeler and Wrath Formation from increasing his Lance and Authority skill levels.

Update: Because of the way the footage is cut, it’s difficult to know what skill level ranks Dimitri had when he learned his combat art and ability. That’s because in the preceding footage, he only levels up in Authority (to reach D+) and not Lance (still at D+). Yet afterwards, he’s shown to learn two things. Plus Knightkneeler is typically learned at Lance C.

During weekends, your options increase. You can take part in optional “auxiliary” battles or paralogues. While choosing an auxiliary battle, the player hovers over the end of month field study mission. The description solves a contradiction I discovered way back.

On the 6th month, the calendar says the field study mission is “Help Retake Gaspard Castle”, suggesting it’s related to Lord Lonato’s rebellion mentioned in the 30th May issue of Famitsu. Yet, the same mission in the battle menu is “Magdred Surprise Attack”.

However, the two are actually related. The students are heading for Gaspard, when they encounter fog while traveling through the streets of Magdred. Hmm, could this be related to the Death Knight? Anyway, I know somebody guessed this, so have yourself a cookie!

Another thing you can do during weekends is explore the monastery. Here’s the activities you can do in order of appearance:

Converse (Raphael), share a meal (Caspar and Ingrid), tea party (Hilda), cook together (Annette), recruit other students (Felix), fishing (yourself), greenhouse (yourself), quest (head chef), choir practice (Ferdinand and Dorothea) and advice box (Ignatz–he’s asking who to draw out of Bernadetta, Manuela and Raphael).

Oops, I skipped ahead a bit, but the player chooses the field study mission afterwards. Indeed, the area does look pretty foggy. For this map, Catherine and at least two Knights of Seiros join as green NPC units. Presumably she doesn’t become a full recruit until later on.

This next part showcases a few of the job classes. There’s Leonie changing from a Soldier into a Cavalier, Ignatz as an Archer, Hubert the Dark Mage, Raphael the Grappler and–whoa. There’s Claude the Wyvern Rider! Note that this is the standard Wyvern Rider class, but bows–like most weapons–aren’t restricted by class. Apparently there are over 30 classes.

Here’s a slightly deeper look at the battle preparations screen. By choosing Inventory, you can change your characters’ equipment, abilities, combat arts, battalions and even class! Oh and there’s Flayn again. Hi!

When changing class from this menu, you can see the class mastery progression and the skill level experience boosts. For Cavalier, you get +1 for Sword and +2 for Lance and Riding. Same for Pegasus Knight, but swap Riding for Flying. As mentioned, you can equip most other weapons, but you won’t gain these boosts.

Story time! The last part goes over the story–or the three stories. From what we know, the first half of the game is the same, but from different perspectives. Meanwhile, the second half of the game branches out according to your chosen house.

The first dialogue scene with Seteth is very intriguing. Apparently, they received a secret missive claiming that Rhea would be attacked during the Ritual of the Goddess’s Rebirth. I’ll leave the details to your imagination.

From here on, there are multiple scenes with little to no context. I’ll try and grab the more notable ones.

This one’s easy. Byleth encounters a dark mage with a plague doctor mask and knocks away a fireball with his sword. Afterwards, the two will lock in combat.

Is that the Death Knight waving goodbye? Elsewhere, Solon has a pretty evil grin on his face… Well, he is said to be a cunning guy.

Here’s Flayn with the Golden Deer students. Before we saw her in the company of the Blue Lions.

Claude mentions that the church is hiding something. An “enormous secret” related to the crests and (hero) relics. I have a bad feeling about this…

Update: A minor correction, Claude is claiming there’s a huge secret, not a silly one. By silly, it means ridiculously big.

This bit shows Byleth triggering a Combat Art against an imperial soldier. His hair has turned light-colour, yet he’s activating the Crest of ???, which I suspected was only half of his crest. Even during the early-ish King of Beasts map, Byleth was able to trigger the Crest of Flames. Can Byleth trigger both or did they do something for the demo?

I don’t like the look of this dragon flying away from a big explosion. It seems like the same kind of white dragon we’ve seen a couple of times. The backdrop appears to be a forest. Not our forest hopefully…

Somebody is pulling out the Sword of the Creator from within the flames. Judging by the hand, I don’t think it’s Byleth as he wears gloves (although the female one doesn’t). It’s probably not Nemesis either, because I don’t think his hands are that slender. Which leaves Seiros as the most likely suspect.

Alright, place your bets. Is that Byleth mourning over Jeralt? Whoever the other person lying on the floor is, this doesn’t look like a happy moment for Byleth…

Now this is definitely Byleth wielding the Sword of the Creator. But who is he fighting? The lighting suggests there’s a fire nearby and Byleth’s face seems to have a slight burn mark. Hmm… I don’t think it’s the battle with the dark mage since the floor tiles don’t look similar, but you never know.

Do you remember the Black Beast from the first E3 trailer? Here it is using an AOE attack called Splitting Thorns (rough translation).

No words need to be said. But if you’re wondering what the text says, it reads “Who will stand with you, who will cross swords with you?”, a line first brought up in the E3 2019 post-event topic article.

Finally, you can’t have a Fire Emblem game nor a big Nintendo title without an expansion pass. We already covered the details, but to recap, there will be new side stories, quests, auxiliary battles, support items and costumes. From day 1, you can get Officers Academy costumes for male and female Byleth.

Update: If you’re curious what else is being said during the video, SatsumaFSoysoy has translated all the dialogue over on Reddit.

Now for the commercials! They’re all roughly 30 seconds long, so there’s only so much to see. Still, there are new discoveries waiting to be found.

The first commercial focuses on the school phase and war phase aspect.

Oh snap, Byleth is swinging his sword downwards. But at who or what? The background looks similar (but not identical) to the one where Byleth and Edelgard are together. The lighting seems to match, especially if you consider the light coming from the windows. Is Byleth swinging at Edelgard? Or it could be a fake out.

Something is flying straight towards Garreg Mach Monastery. Unfortunately, this scene happens really quickly and the flying creature never enters focus. But it could be the white dragon that we saw earlier; the wing shape does look very similar.

A bit later, we see the same engulfing flames from the second E3 trailer. Back then, it looked like a sword in the middle. Maybe even the Sword of the Creator. It then transitions to the hand grabbing the Sword of the Creator. So they seem to be from the same scene. This occurs after the timeskip, so the hand probably doesn’t belong to Seiros after all.

Update: Actually, I may have been misled by the E3 trailer. This scene with the engulfing flames is probably set during the ancient war. For one, it’s from a pre-rendered animation rather than in-engine (just like the ancient war scene) and, although it’s hard to tell, the lighting (outside the ring of fire) suggests it’s dark.

The second commercial focuses on drama, nothing but crazy drama.

The scene begins with the ancient war. Afterwards, we see a shot of collapsing buildings. This might be happening when that city gets nuked.

Then a bunch of soldiers are running. Is this the same scene? Hang on, I think the soldiers are running from the white dragon. Also, we’ve seen the white dragon leaving explosions behind. So is the dragon destroying the city?

The Black Beast looks pretty creepy here. It seems to be holding onto someone as well. Probably not an alive someone.

Byleth is staring at his sword for some reason. Has he just unlocked its glowing form? The background seems to be from the western church. I think this scene occurs after (or before) Byleth fights the dark mage.

Update: This scene is definitely from after he fights the dark mage. If you rewind to the moment Byleth bats the fireball away, you can see his sword only begins to glow after hitting the fireball. Huh, did the fire awaken it somehow?

Now this is interesting. Light-haired Byleth is stretching his hand out, presumably to someone. You can see slightly burn marks on his face, so this is probably after the scene where he’s fighting in the place that’s on fire, towards the end of the introduction video.

Cripes, Edelgard can make her weapon glow as well. This time, she’s wielding her hero relic axe.

The scene afterwards is most intriguing. It shows the Sword of the Creator flying from the air and creating engulfing flames. You know, like the one we saw above. Thing is, I think this scene is from the ancient war, since they’re both set during the night and the soldiers look similar. Did Nemesis throw the sword here?

Update: Having reconciled the fact that the sword with the wide engulfing flames is probably from the ancient war, then this particular scene is probably what leads into that scene. Either Nemesis threw the sword as an attack (which seems kind of unnecessary given the damage he can apparently do). Or maybe the sword is trying to protect itself after he’s defeated?

Here we can see Byleth handling the Sword of the Creator. For some reason, he thrusts it as a chain sword. What kind of opponent must he be fighting?!

Dimitri looks a bit peeved here. More importantly, the backdrop looks very familiar. That grey, yellow-y wall and light coming from windows high up. Isn’t that the place where Edelgard and Byleth were meeting? Maybe all the house leaders are present?

Claude can fly! I’m wondering if this follows after Claude leapt into the air near the end of the second E3 trailer. But the sky isn’t the right colour and Claude doesn’t have a dirty mark on his face. Still, it’s Claude flying!

Is this Seiros during the morning after the ancient war? Perhaps she’s walking over to claim her prize

Oh no, this doesn’t look good for Rhea. We know she’s being targeted and she totally has Emmeryn and Mikoto vibes. But did they have to make the comparisons this obvious?

Update: Hmm, that backdrop and the flower petals floating around. Haven’t we seen something like that before? Here’s Byleth looking dazed from the E3 2019 trailer. Is he shocked at seeing Rhea falling?

Here’s the white dragon again, but shooting out a powerful-looking laser. This must be the cause of the huge explosions.

Finally, oh my flipping Naga, here’s Byleth clashing with Nemesis (who could even be his great, great, great… granddad). It seems Nemesis has a dark version of the Sword of the Creator–and it has two crest stones embedded in it! Also, Nemesis’s left arm has a bolt stuck in. Did it come from Claude’s bow?

Commercial number 3 shows actual gameplay! (But not much new info, sadly.)

The first few part features mock battles between the houses. Here’s Edelgard beating up Lorenz. As she should be doing.

After that is a short part focusing on the academy. In this scene, Felix triggers his Crest of Fraldarius against Petra in an inter-house weapon tournament.

This is the fourth and final commercial. As you can tell from the preview, it focuses on the students from each house.

We see Hubert with a new spell, BansheeΘ. Looks like a dark spell. I dunno why the two known dark spells have Greek letters at the end of their names.

Petra uses a new Gambit called Fire Arrow Flash.

Caspar is fighting a new monster, a Giant Worm. This critter is equipped with a Dark Stone (Worm). Depending on how literal they want to be, you can replace “worm” with “bug”.

At the end, Ferdinand is using a Gambit on a Giant Bird. It’s equipped with a Dark Stone (Bird). Huh, that’s three “giant” enemies if we count the wolf. I have a strong feeling these are all related.

By the way, I’m unsure if there’s a connection, but the Dark Stones equipped by the three giant monsters share the same name as the Dark Stone–the by-product of the Fire Emblem in The Sacred Stones. What’s more, in the early version of that game, there were monsters equipped with Dark Stone Shards…

Update: Similarly, Waka_Emi_Waka has translated the commercial contents in this Reddit thread.

Furthermore, the Japanese official site updated with Advanced job classes. However, I think this article is long enough, so I’ll take a break. Also, as I peer outside my window, it’s now the morning! Where did my sleep go?

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  • Denis

    I think there may be confusion between the combat arts 誘引の計 (Lure) and 引込の計 (likely ‘Assembly’ that Ingrid with the Seiros Pegasus Co. battalion had, noting that 引込の計 was attributed to セイロス天馬兵団). Also the combat art 共鳴魔法 : 白 has shown to be rendered ‘Resonant White Magic’ in NoA footages of the game.

    • Aveyn Knight

      Thanks! Doh, I had those two Gambits mixed up as early as 15th May. Now it makes a LOT more sense. They have a very similar meaning and spelling, so I didn’t even notice.

      It appears ability and art progression can differ depending on the character. We saw some characters gain different arts when reaching C Axe, I believe. That said, I think from the way they cut the footage, we don’t actually know what ranks they had when they learned those abilities/arts. That’s because Dimitri doesn’t rank up in Lance, yet still gains an art anyway.

      I’ll add a note about that.

  • Terry

    Don’t read this if you haven’t rested yet, get some rest then you can read if you decide to.

    After seeing the second commercial I’m even more concerned than I already was about Dimitri. And with Rhea falling in that scene maybe they’ll pull an Emmeryn to reveal that she’s alive and playable although not without a few injuries of course or maybe she’s one of the dlc characters in the 4th wave of the expansion pass. Jokes aside, when watched the scene with male Byleth and Edelgard fighting I’m getting the vibe that their holding back or just sparring with each other since Edelgard isn’t using her axe and Byleth’s sword isn’t glowing and he doesn’t have it in any specific form plus they both did kinda stop their swords after swinging them at each other’s necks (but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not not trying to kill each other though, just thought that I’d put it out there). Also looking at the new classes shown the advanced tier I’m assuming the classes in the final tier (that’s what I’m assuming what the next tier will be) will require high professor skills such as S-rank weapons proficiencies and depending on which one high riding, armor, and flying. I’m thinking some if at all may require S-rank, but I don’t think all of them will since some of the advanced classes require a B-rank for some of the movement skills to have a better success rate of passing and I’m thinking the other class that looks like a dark mage might be akin to the Summoner class in Sacred Stones. Sorry for my rambling especially so early in the morning, it’s 2 am for me now so please excuse any grammar mistakes. Also Happy 4th of July (if you celebrate it).

    • Timothy

      I too agree that dueling scene was probably a sparring rather than actual combat. There is no crest stone in the sword, and no soldiers or other lords were present. (unless Byleth decided to face Edelgard alone in some abandoned place); There is no sign of other combat, and their clothes were very clean; Byleth’s hair still has some green in it, so it’s likely way before he fought Nemesis.

      All in all, this scene looks like to me happened fairly early maybe just after timeskip. Unless you were supposedly to face Edelgard early on…

      • Terry

        Either it’s a scene or something similar that might happen with all the lords or just with Edelgard because of the plot. It also makes me think that if it’s only Edelgard because of plot reasons (even if you pick the Black Eagles) there may be a chance that all the students might meet up with each other before they declare war on each other, just maybe.

        • Señor Mango

          Well, the whole “Who will stand with you, who will cross swords with you?” and all this other stuff lends credence to the notion that we’ll be fighting and killing the other two houses during the war phase.

  • Rei1556

    in one of the screenshots, alois is a green unit, so is he playable or just a npc green unit?

    • Aveyn Knight

      Good eye. He’s probably a NPC to start with and might join you later like Catherine. But we don’t know right now.

  • Timothy

    My guess about Sword in the flame is this: When Seiros defeated Nemesis, his sword was dropped to the ground. Some soldiers tried to pick it up but died in the explosion (as some kind self defense against people without right crests). Seiros walked through the fire and recovered it. (since she’s likely a dragon and can survive the fire). Resulting the scene from E3 2018 where she hold the sword in her hand with burns marks.

    She was later “buried” with the sword,(I doubt she really dies as previous game play footage suggested) then Byleth gets the sword in CM2 (the background looks like a coffin).

    • Aveyn Knight

      I like that theory! I thought her marks were from the battle, but it also makes sense if they came from the fire.

      • Timothy

        I wonder if we will actually meet Seiros in the game, and if the white dragon is Seiros or the goddess. I doubt she’s would be enemy to Byleth, since she left the sword for him when she was awaken.

  • Mason Klaus

    Maybe this is just me but, the scene where Claude is flying through the air. Does it look like he’s holding a sword rather than the bow he’s usually seen with? Its really hard to tell honestly and it could be his bow that he’s charging and attack for but looking at a larger version of the screenshot, the ball part looks like its from a sword as I don’t remember seeing that on his bow. I could still be wrong of course and it could still be his bow.

    • Aveyn Knight

      Yeah, I think it might be a sword. Near the end, you can also see a glimmer from a sharp edge. Could also be an arrow or lance tip, but from that angle, hmm…

      • Mason Klaus

        Well some have speculated on GameFAQ that it could be an axe. Its anyone’s guess really.

  • Chazz Armän Flowers

    Did anyone else notice how Seiros and Nemesis’s swords during their fight mirror Edelgard and Byleth’s swords at the end of that 9 minute video? History repeats itself.

  • Disclaimer

    I suspect the unit people are taking to be Shamir is actually Leonie, as she’s the only Golden Deer otherwise missing. The green healing tile is simply discoloring her hair, making it seem darker.

    (That said, with more and more teachers shown to be playable, it seems likely Shamir will be eventually.)

  • Timothy

    I love how CM4 is the “classical” Fire Emblem commercial, with the classical main theme, character introduction, and even the slogan “Stand together, fight together, Fire Emblem” from Radian Dawn commercial.

  • Adako

    Could this be a defend map…? The purple tiles look far too near the starting zone to be a goal. It almost seems to me like they’e trying to recreate that one port defence map from Conquest… 😉

  • Tyler

    Curious… since any class can theoretically use any weapon, is it likely to see the likes of armored mages, troubadours, etc.? Or is magic usage thought to be class exclusive?

    • Anne O’Namus

      Magic is class exclusive. But the theoretical Expert/Master tier might include mounted, flying or even armored mages

  • Alicia Brock

    Okay CM2 pretty much confirms that Dimtri is slowly becoming insane before the timeskip because smirk he has is any but warm it’s looks down right evil at that moment. Poor guy. :’) And doesn’t sayoria mean good-bye Japanese if so Eldgarde is saying goodbye teacher. Haha eeeeeh I don’t want her kill or Dimtri or Claude. T-T

  • Miley Kliss

    So I love having the veteran knights and characters on your team. But I’m imaging how Byleth will b training them. Catherine’s great with sword . Now I’m going to teach u how to ride a pegasus.

  • Gross! You can see what looks to be Nemesis’ optic nerve hanging out of his empty eye socket!

    Makes me wonder if there’ll be other zombie enemies. Zombie Seiros?