Three Houses: Jeuxvideo Interview with Developers (80+ Hours per Route, Koei Tecmo’s Involvement)

The on-going Japan Expo in Paris has been the source of some recent Three Houses information.

(Image via Jeuxvideo)

Toshiyuki Kusakihara and Genki Yokota, who came for the Three Houses live demonstration, were interviewed by Jeuxvideo. I am unfamiliar with French, but fortunately, machine translations are pretty good (unlike how they are for Japanese).

To begin with, they mentioned how this is the first home console Fire Emblem since 2008’s Radiant Dawn, which was released on the Nintendo Wii.

They discussed Koei-Tecmo’s familiarity with tactical simulation like games, such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms or Nobunaga’s Ambition to name a few. Saying that their passion for the genre, along with them handpicking developers who liked Fire Emblem to begin with, was part of why the project has gone so smoothly.

Intelligent Systems managed the artistic direction and game design while Koei-Tecmo did the programming.

The folks at Jeuxvideo compared the calendar system to Koei-Tecmo’s Atelier franchise–how you progress through the game while following the calendar, trying to prepare yourself for what the game will throw at you next.

Next they go into the differences between the Monastery and My Castle (from Fire Emblem Fates).

Yokota: The My Castle system was interesting because you could build it up yourself. But the ambitions we had with the Monastery were much larger and harder to achieve using a similar system. We wanted to give this feeling of shared life; while you created your own My Castle from scratch, in Three Houses, it is already established. The characters have lived there for years and, for them, it’s a place of life that they can call home. So it was designed this way to create that kind of mood.

There are three main online features, Yokoto continues.

Global Activity: For each of the choices, such as instructing students, there is a percentage that shows what other players have chosen. This is a good way to observe the trends and potentially influence your decisions.

Exchange Student: It is possible to “send” one of your students to other players’ monasteries. You can choose to give him/her an item to offer to other players, if they wish to buy it. When receiving a student from another player, they can be used in combat as an assistant unit [for the pair up system], under specific conditions.

Lost Spirits: In optional battles, there are tiles called Lost Spirits, which indicate areas where other players have encountered difficulty. Successfully surviving on these tiles grants additional bonuses due to the higher difficulty.

The Lost Spirits mechanic reminds me of Super Mario Maker oddly enough, where after dying, you can see spots where other players have died.

Also they stated that there are no multiplayer battles or similar PvP features.

Hey it’s my house! Comment below which house you’re planning on leading 

Next we head into proper gameplay discussion. Starting with the weapon triangle.

Yokota: The weapon triangle system hasn’t disappeared, it’s just less visible. Will we see it again in future games is difficult to say since we’re working on themes and game mechanics first before thinking about importing features in it. What we wanted to do in Three Houses is to give player freedom in tutoring their students, so that the player can give their favorites students whatever they want in weapons and skills. It helps the player identify with the team they’re raising.

(Thanks to forum member Ycine for translating this paragraph!)

What he means is that the weapon triangle is absent, but it’s possible to restore its effects via certain abilities. For example, you can unlock the Swordbreaker ability by increasing your Lance skill level. This will give your unit an advantage when using lances versus swords.

They then go into how the Switch’s hardware allowed for concepts that would have been impossible for the 3DS.

Byleth still has one of my favorite sword stances in media, it’s also used by Magnus in one of my favorite games of all time Ogre Battle 64.

The battalion system and the sheer number of characters on screen are among those additions, along with Koei-Tecmo’s experience in this genre.

Kasukihara: Thanks to the improved technical capabilities and screen resolution over the Nintendo 3DS, we could add more visual elements. For example, the use of battalions that support each unit–this was not possible beforehand. That said, there is another perhaps surprising side effect from switching to Nintendo Switch. As there’s a full HD screen, it was nice that we could show more text, like putting the names of each combatant on the screen. In addition, as we have more space for text, we could add pages that delve into the backstories of the characters, to enrich the game’s lore.

They also briefly go over the amiibo functionality, which confirms again that Fire Emblem amiibo unlock music from their respective games to use in the auxiliary (optional) battles. Which to recap would be Marth, Ike, Corrin, Lucina, Chrom, Alm, Celica, Tiki, Roy, and Robin.

Finally we come to the biggest bombshell of the entire interview. According to Kusakihara, it took him roughly 80 hours of game time to play one of the three routes in Three Houses.

Kasukihara: To complete the game with just one of the three houses, it took me 80 hours. I did not skip the dialogue or cutscenes, of course. So if you want to do the three paths, it can take you more than 200 hours.

Will this game top Radiant Dawn in sheer length? We don’t have much longer to find out Fire Emblem: Three Houses, at the time of this post, comes out in just 21 days.

About the Author: Jedi
Serenes Forest Editor, Male|27, A nerd of things like Falcom, Dragon Ball, Sonic, Danganronpa, RoTK/Warriors, LoTR, Fate, FE, Power Rangers and Smash. Currently resides in Newport, Oregon. Working at an assisted living home called Oceanview.
  • Miley Kliss

    Love the Ogre Battle 64 reference. Another favorite series of mine.

  • Magical Moron

    So the pair up system is returning?

    • Yuki97

      not as broken though, they dont join you in battle. Just give boosts.

  • Iratana

    80 hours per route, sounds good to me.

  • geck

    if 3h goes over well (which im very hype/hoping it will), i wonder if theyll port tellius to switch given how many times theyve referenced it either by name or “last home console fe” o: ? i really hope so bc damn, id be throwing money at that point

    • Overpersephone

      Yeah but i tho the tellius saga was the most unpopular saga in japan and almost killed the franchise(but i really like ike and mist damn thats sad).

      • Volbeaha

        They just suffered poor sales, mostly due to release platform and date.

    • Hiroki

      I think they have other remakes to do before the Tellius ones. Actually they already did the first, the third and the second game on 3DS. Soooo…it should be the fourth….Genealogy! And this one is really famous and loved, so we can imagine them doing a great work on it…but we don’t really know.

      • geck

        geneology would be amazing honestly, but thinking abt remakes of games like geneology and persona 2 make me REALLY worried given the current obsession with wholesomeness and purity or whatever. like theres a chance itll be good, but im just that One Fear meme of like.. Geneology, But Not Problematic tm eerfh

      • The devs in charge of SoV mentioned they’d specifically like to do Binding Blade next, so that’s what I’m hoping for, but I could see them picking Genealogy/Thracia.

  • Cory Jensen

    The Lost Spirits feature reminds me more of the Nier: Automata system, where if you came across another player’s dead body, you could loot them for some of the chips in their system (or have them as a helper), but you couldn’t interact with that player, and you don’t really know who left the corpse there.

  • Lilty501

    Des français ici ? J’étais à l’event et il me semble avoir compris ça :

    On est bien d’accord qu’il a été dit que Fòdlan ferait bien les 2/3 de la superficie de l’Europe et que l’intrigue se concentrerait sur les 3 pays principaux du continent même si des personnages des autres pays alentours seraient présent dans le jeu, non ? Ha et aussi que l’académie aété créé pour protéger les 3 pays en s’alliant pour contrer les attaques de ces autres pays.

    Peut être faudrait donner ces petites infos à Serenes Forest si je ne me trompe pas

  • mrkisukes

    He says 80+ hrs, but how long did it take him to beat other FE games? Where is the frame of reference for this number? I’ve seen people say Echoes took them nearly 40 hrs to beat when it took me 14 on hard my first playthrough. Hate to be “that guy” but I wouldn’t put too much credence in that 80 hrs number. Most likely will be a 40 hrs playthrough, which is still more than any other game, and this’ll have 3 routes, which is amazing…but 80 sounds overstated.

    • Big Klingy

      They also didn’t specify how much of that was spent messing around at the academy/doing sidequests and how much was spent in the main chapters.

  • So, would you need someone to translate the interview? ’cause I could do it. (It probably won’t be too different from a google translate, but maybe people here would be interested in reading the full thing.)

  • 3-13 Archer

    Hmmm… If amiibos unlock music from older games, they could make at least one per game. Chrom has two and he’s only the main character of Awakening during the first arc (your avatar ends up stealing the spotlight).
    Lost spirits will feel like touching them bloodstains.

  • Familyplayer

    I’m gonna be honest. 80+ hrs is not something I’m excited about. Fates already had a HUGE quantity>quality issue. Unless they learned their lessons from that game, idk if it will all be good or not.

    • Lerine

      I think it took him 80 hours because he must have done every single quest possible, and maybe spent a lot ot time in the monastery or something. I think it’s safe to say it will take us maybe 30-40 hours.

  • SourRainbow

    Personally I have no complaints about 80 hours for one House; 200+ overall. I want to savor this game…if it’s as good as I hope it’ll be ^^() At this point I’m more interested in in the Amiibo Gazebo, Scouting time limits and just the game overall X’D