The first piece of news from the Nintendo Direct is a confirmation that the customisable Avatar from Awakening (and Heroes of Light and Shadow) will be returning. Of course, diligent fans could already decipher this from clues scattered around in the first trailer.
Unlike Awakening’s Avatar, if’s Avatar gets full blown official art, like the Avatar from Heroes of Light and Shadow. Of course, you won’t see the Avatar properly in cutscenes, but at least they’ll be prominent in promotional images.
In case you missed it last time, the Avatar’s signature golden sword is the “Yatogami” (literally Night Blade God). Previously, I suspected the weapon belonged to the “Dark Night” (Nohr) faction, but since Hoshido is known as the “White Night” Kingdom, it could go either way.
The other bit of news is that if’s Avatar will have a greater role–this time, they are the main character. Not just an important side character like in Awakening. Because the Avatar is in the central spotlight, players can enjoy an unique story only possible because of this change.
The new trailer again begins with a sequence of cutscenes, this time featuring the mysterious “dancer” girl from the onset. As the still-unnamed girl sings by the waterside, a question is posed: “What if you could rid the world of war”.
As some fans pointed out, the dancer may not be of the Dancer class. On the main image of the official site, the girl is seen sporting a lance or staff of some design. Her placement in the image also further supports her important role in the story.
This tranquil scene ends with the dancer turning around, surprised, and the word “if” or “what if” is shown (depending on which region’s Direct you’re watching).
Later it’s revealed that the dancer has seen you–the Avatar–although you can probably guess this from the sudden change to a first person perspective.
My speculation is that perhaps you and the dancer are the keys to resolving the great conflict–the ones who can make the choices (or maybe it’s just you…).
The next scene showcases just how big the conflict is, as the two sides–the glory-seeking Nohr and the peace-loving Hoshido–prepare for all-out war.
On the left side, Marx is directing the forces of Nohr atop his steed, while on the other side, the previously unnamed swordsman–now we know as Ryouma–is leading the charge with his lightning-charged blade.
As the battle begins to erupt, the scene finishes with the two great men ready to cross blades–a scene not dissimilar to the historical battle between Nohr and Hoshido depicted in the painting near the beginning the first trailer.
So that’s the conflict explained; next, we move onto the nations themselves, starting with the peace-loving Hoshido (aka the “White Night Kingdom”). The first article of interest is the massive dragon statue overlooking the people.
Since the Avatar was born into the Hoshidan royal family and can transform into a dragon (more on that later), obviously there’s a significant link here, waiting to be found.
The first Hoshidan character we (and the Avatar is) are introduced to appears to Hoshido’s peace-loving female ruler, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Emmeryn and Say’ri from Awakening. Could she be your real mother?
The tone darkens as we move onto the glory-seeking Nohr (aka the “Dark Night Kingdom”). It looks like Garon (possibly Nohr’s ruler) is ordering the execution of a Hoshidan male.
We don’t get a good look at the man’s face, but judging from his distinctive long hair, he’s a character we never see again. However, his sword we may have already seen before–isn’t it the same as the one Ryouma is wielding?
Garon then grabs out to the camera, which may seem innocent in itself (ignoring his menacing face and the brutal execution that just occurred), but again what if this is from the perspective of the Avatar?
This is more rampart speculation, but perhaps the Hoshidan male was the Avatar’s father and this is the exact moment when Garon took in the infant Avatar and raised him/her as his own brethren.
As for how the lightning blade ended up in Hoshido’s possession, that’s a mystery. Perhaps some Hoshidans tried to recover the Avatar after the execution, but failed and could only recover the blade? That would definitely lead to some drama…
At last, we’re greeted by some in-game scenes, starting with the Avatar telling the dancer about his/her origins. As the big text tells you, the Avatar was born as Hoshidan royalty, but raised by Nohrian royalty.
Sadly, the scene doesn’t linger long enough for the dancer to speak and show her in-game portrait and, more importantly, name. Next time, next time!
We return to Nohr; the city itself has an interesting structure, almost like a wheel. It’s hard to say, but is it possible that Nohr exists in perpetual darkness or is it just coincidentally night time to be thematic?
In any case, my mind leaps to a scene featured in the special artbook that comes with the Japanese special edition. Is the scene depicted to the right Nohr? If so, is the scene on the left Hoshido? What’s especially interesting is that Hoshido seems to be very high up, either up in the mountains or floating in the sky.
Anyway, moving on, we’re introduced to the Avatar’s family in Nohr, starting with Marx–the apparent figurehead of Nohr’s military. You can also see another character in the background, likely the Dark Knight in a later cutscene and on the boxart.
After Marx, it’s Camilla, the scantily clad, big-busted woman who appears later, walking towards you, jiggling her assets. Finally, you get to run around with your blonde-haired little sister.
Hoshida meanwhile is far more colourful than Nohr, with a heavily eastern-inspired design, which you’ve probably grown accustomed to now. But this particular (and rather brief) scene is quite nice, all the same.
On the Hoshidan side, we’re formally introduced to Ryouma, the Avatar’s elder brother and figurehead of Hoshido’s military. In the same scene, it looks like there’s Linca the mace-wielder from the first trailer on the right.
After Ryouma, we have Hinoka the Pegasus Knight crying into your chest. Presumably, she’s one of your blood relatives and maybe the parallel of your foster sister(?) Camilla.
In the background and in the cutscene immediately afterwards is Sakura, your actual little sister (and totally not Maria from Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem) and possible parallel to your blonde-haired little sister.
With the introductions over, it’s time to make a choice: who will you fight for? Hoshido, the land of your birth, or Nohr, the land that raised you? On each side, you have Ryouma, Marx and your little sisters trying to convince you.
On the Hoshidan side, there’s also a male archer not shown earlier when introducing your kin, although he does appear in a later cutscene.
My guess is that the characters standing on each side, as well as the eight characters in the following collage, are the Hoshidan and Nohrian royal family members. This is supported by their prominent position on the boxarts and on the main site image.
Speaking of the boxarts, various retailers have started posting the boxart and additional screenshots from the game. The first thing you may notice (if you didn’t already know), in Japan at least, the game is sold as two separate versions; where the version you pick decides which nation you side with.
In any case, it seems Felicia the red-haired maid from the first trailer is on the Hoshidan side, while the obscured blue-haired maid is on Nohr’s side. Which is weird because both appear in the same scene; maybe Felicia is from Nohr, but defects to Hoshido with you?
Next to the maids are two unknown male characters; butlers maybe? The one on the Nohrian side has the look of an experienced warrior; maybe these characters are your Jagen units (high level/promoted units meant to ease you in near the beginning)?
Back to the trailer, as you’re about to make your choice, the trailer emphasises that you can only choose one path. This likely refers to the separate versions of the game.
So basically the ultimate choice: If you want to side with Hoshido, for example, you must physically buy Fire Emblem if Hoshido. (Although you choose the other side by buying it as DLC.)
After picking a side, Marx and Ryouma appear thoroughly displeased; Marx calls you a traitor, while Ryouma engages you in a battle. Yikes!
Of note, the location of the battle with Ryouma–and also where you must choose sides–appears to be the bridge battle seen in the first teaser.
If you re-watch the teaser, you can even see your Nohrian Dark Knight and Troubadour siblings on the enemy side and possibly Marx and Ryouma fighting towards the far north.
With the choice made, we’re shown a snippet of the iconic dancing scene from the original teaser, but with a radical change. Debuting in a black costume, the dancer now appears in a white costume.
But that’s not all: her costume changes from white to black mid-scene. Looking at the retailer screenshots, it seems the colour of her costume reflects who you side with: white for Hoshido and black for Nohr.
Of course, we couldn’t have a trailer without battle scenes. In the first one, Linca and a ninja of some sorts are facing off against two enemies at once. Unlike Awakening, enemies can take advantage of the Dual system too. But can they Pair Up? Hmm…
The bottom screen during battles (available from the retailer listings) has received a makeover too, partially to accommodate this new change. You can now see if enemies have a support partner and the Damage, Hit rate and Critical rate of support partners..
On the battle map, the Avatar is using a new ability called “dragon’s vein” to create a stone bridge to cross a gap. By the way, “Dragon’s vein” is a Chinese term for terrain that resembles a dragon; such terrain has various important feng shui properties.
Then to further cement the Avatar’s link with dragons, he is seen transforming into a dragon in battle. In fact, his status screen (again, from retailer listings) confirms this, besides revealing a lot of other information.
The Avatar (currently named Kamui) is a Dark Prince that can wield swords and dragonstones. Unlike in Awakening, characters can hold 6 skills (instead of 5), weapons apparently have infinite uses now and dragonstones have graded weapon ranks.
For reference, Dark Prince was Julius’s class in Genealogy of the Holy War; minor spoilers, he was the imperial prince of Grannvale and vessel of an evil Earth Dragon.
As for the skills, the fact you can hold so many suggests Second Seals are returning, allowing you to reclass multiple times to acquire new skills. Or maybe there’s a new way to learn skills without reclassing?
For the weapons, obviously you can probably expect to see a greater variety of dragonstones (i.e. more than 2) if it has a proper weapon rank.
Now, some people may question whether it’s just the Avatar’s weapons that have infinite uses, but a Thief is seen with an infinite use Iron Bow. Even stranger, Thieves are apparently locked to bows now (rather than swords).
To round off the trailer, we’re once again asked which side to pick, while simultaneously shown quick, dramatic glimpses of your Nohrian and Hoshidan kin (including the Hoshidan archer) and the dancer with her ever-changing costume.
After the trailer, the host explains more information about choosing between the two sides. During this time, we see Kazahana the female swordsman again, now with her eyes open!
Not just her, we also finally get a proper look at Garon, the ruler atop the throne, who could be very briefly seen in the dancing sequence in the original teaser. It seems he’s looking forward to your performance (in battle, not dancing!).
The scene switches back to Kazahana and we get to see another new character–the red-haired Tsubaki. There’s not much to say about him (or her?), except there’s definitely a lot of red-haired Hoshidans!
Without time to even get a proper introduction, we’re moved to a battle map, where Saizou is alerting the group to an urgent, incoming message. In a split-second, you can see briefly see Kamui’s entourage.
Of note, towards the bottom-right, we see a mysterious female from the first teaser, who some suspected was a shape-shifter or mage. Either way, we find out she’s Orochi, the woman on the right of the following conversation. As it happens, “Orochi” is a type of serpent in Japanese folklore.
Anyway, Orochi is telling the group that Lord Ryouma and, I’m hazarding a guess, Lord Takumi are in danger. Why do I guess? Because the term I translated as “Lord” is a gender-neutral honourific in Japanese.
But since it’s a masculine name and taking into account the context, perhaps Takumi is the male Hoshidan archer seen in cutscenes; hence why I used “Lord” here.
Things take a weirder turn as the Avatar encounters a monster he refers to as “Nosferatu”; this appears to be the same type of monster that Marx fought in the first teaser.
If you didn’t know “Nosferatu” is a fictional vampire and also the name of a dark magic spell in Fire Emblem (and light magic, but let’s not go into that…). Could Nosferatu be the collective term for the monsters in this game?
Finally, we see the same scenes we’ve seen before, but with some new info. Choosing Hoshido will lead to a more traditional Fire Emblem experience as you fight to repel the Nohrian invaders and is suited for newcomers.
On the other hand, siding with the Nohr involves a more complex story, tackling Nohr’s internal conflicts. Picking this side will lead to a more challenging experience or so we’re told.
The official Japanese site actually explains the difference a bit more. In the Hoshidan path, you’ll have the opportunity to freely level up characters and earn gold outside of the main story. But this isn’t possible with Nohr.
Anyway, thanks for sticking around for this really long write-up. Although I feel like there’s still plenty more I could talk about (for instance, you can see a lot more characters in battle scenes), but I’ll leave that for somebody else…
If you’re interested, you can read more about the details from the official site here.