E3 Trailer Analysis

Just before the game releases in Japan, Nintendo showcased an English language trailer of Fire Emblem Fates during its E3 Digital Event presentation.

Cue one of the final analysis pieces for this game. (Actually, there will probably be one more for the Treehouse hands-on.)


This trailer starts in a similar manner to the April trailer–the last one shown to an English audience. Aqua, the heroine of the game, is singing in front of a pool of water as the sun sets.

Except there are two main differences. Firstly, she is singing in English! (Although my listening skills are too poor to make out what exactly she’s singing, especially once the action starts kicking in.)


Secondly, she’s no longer at the pier and is instead walking forward into the water. At the end, she’s crying too.

Now given the lack of context, I’m too afraid to guess what she’s doing. From appearances, however, her actions closely resemble somebody committing suicide by drowning.

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The other confusing thing is when exactly does this scene take place?

Previously, it was assumed that the scene with Aqua singing leads into the scene where she turns around to discover the Avatar. (Both of the above screenshots are from the April trailer.)

Logically, the sequence of events doesn’t go: singing on land, walking deep into water, then turning around on land.


So are we looking at two different (yet similar) scenes? With the walking deep into water scene taking place at a later time?

At the very least, the “turning around” scene is implied to lead into Aqua’s introduction scene, so that one likely occurs first.


The next thing we’re treated to, which isn’t too surprising given the English voices is the game’s English title: Fire Emblem Fates.

Anyone who’s been following this game should know that it’s called “Fire Emblem if” in Japan. “if” in the game’s title refers to “what if” and “fates” is clearly meant to tie into that concept of choice.

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After that important information, we once again see Aqua dancing, while her costume changes colour from white to black, possibly reflecting her allegiance.

(Although, as a note: we still haven’t seen her black costume outside of cutscenes yet.)

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Then the camera zooms into her eye and, this time, we move straight into the Hoshido introduction scene with Mikoto meeting the Avatar and, after that, the Nohr introduction scene with Garon overseeing Sumeragi’s death.

…And then Aqua turns around in shock. So far, so normal.

Now things get very interesting… in a sequence of quick and highly confusing scenes.

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To kick things off, we see a sinister-looking robed figure drive an ominous sword surrounded by an even more ominous aura into the ground.


In the background are buildings and citizens of Hoshidan (i.e. ancient Japanese) origin. So this incident likely occurs within Hoshidan soil.

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The design of the sword itself looks vaguely similar to Marx’s sword, but it’s not the same sword–and this becomes clear when we see Marx draw his sword not long afterwards.

Both swords seem to share the same “red eye”, but the orientations of the eye are different and Marx’s sword is lacking the “wings” on the side of the hilt.

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What follows is extremely disturbing, as the impact of the sword somehow causes a massive and highly destructive explosion that apparently obliterates a group of Hoshidans in close proximity.

This same scene was briefly shown in the recent Japanese TV commercial.


Not just that, but it appears this incident isn’t isolated. Immediately afterwards, we see Sakura panicked and shouting “mother!”

Could this be a scene where her mother–and the Avatar’s mother, Mikoto is killed by Nohrian (or unknown) forces? Talk about spoilers…


Before Sakura can run forward, she is stopped by someone off-screen. However, from the character’s unique armour, we can deduce it is highly likely Ryouma, her brother.


Immediately after this, we witness Marx drawing his sword, in a scene that most likely follows on from his confrontation scene in the June Introduction trailer.

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During a brief moment, you can see the background and the design of the torches and walls looks exactly the same as in that scene. (Screenshot on the right is from the Introduction trailer)


The only oddity is that in the April trailer, this appears to be the location where Marx is about to strike down the Avatar. Yet his sword isn’t glowing purple there.

Perhaps the easiest explanation is that these are the same scenes but in different campaigns? The scene with Marx striking the Avatar is implied to occur in the Hoshido campaign.

So does the one where he brandishes his purple sword appear in the Nohr campaign instead? Maybe in that campaign, he’s not intending to strike the Avatar, but is instead giving him/her a simpler threat?

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Moving on from Marx, it’s Ryouma’s turn in the spotlight, as he brandishes his Raijin Katana and unleashes a powerful wave of energy ahead of him.

Likewise, this appears to be Ryouma’s confrontation scene, which we’ve seen in earlier trailers. There aren’t any real contradictions here, except Ryouma’s expression varies slightly.

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In the first scene like this, during the April trailer, Ryouma looks defeated with his blade in hand. Meanwhile later ones show him looking determined as he draws his blade.

Are these once again the same scene in different campaigns or have I just interpreted the order incorrectly? Maybe the scene where he looks defeated occurs afterwards, after he’s been, um, defeated.

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However, the scene where he brandishes his blade has him start on the floor in a very similar position as the scene where he looks defeated.

What’s really strange is that these two scenes (of Marx and Ryouma) that don’t seem to “flow” are both from the same April trailer.


Moving on before my brain melts with befuddlement, we see Ryouma again, but this time during an in-game battle, where he’s teaming up with fellow Samurai, Kazahana.

Nothing out of the ordinary here, although it’s amusing to see the massive spacing between “Hit” and “+10”, likely because “Hit” is much shorter than its Japanese equivalent.

(I don’t recall what it looks like in Awakening; hopefully this is just temporary.)

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Next, another battle, where Tsukuyomi and Hinoka are showing off their skills.

Similarly, there’s nothing too unusual here, although it’s nice to see Tsukuyomi’s magic spell conjuring up a fiery bull to attack the enemy.

Also, the background looks like the area where Kazahana fought the enemy Thief way back in the announcement trailer. Wow, has it been that long already?

By the way, this map is Chapter 9 in the Hoshido campaign.


The third and final battle is sure to get people talking, as the Avatar triggers an offensive skill “Dragon Fang”.

Observant fans may recognise the skill icon as one of the skills that frequently appears in the Avatar’s status screen, although it’s not his/her personal skill (that would be “Mysterious Charm”).


Two things to note here. Firstly, the Avatar is carrying a curved, golden blade, rather than his/her usual straight sword, the Yatogami.


Now, if you were watching the June Introduction trailer carefully or read my analysis, you may have noticed the Avatar’s curved, dark blade.

Are these two curved blades the same, but with different imbuements? Could it be that they’re both different forms of the Yatogami?


Secondly, this attack seems to involve the Avatar partially transforming into a dragon–something that eagle-eyed fans noticed in the very first Famitsu feature.

His face takes on a draconic appearance, while his left(?) hand clearly becomes a giant dragon claw, which shoots out balls of energy to inflict damage.


That seems to be all the gameplay for now, as the trailer continues with more exciting cutscenes. Marx leads the way at first, but the scene quickly transitions to a bolt of some form trailing across the floor.


It may not be immediately obvious, but this is almost definitely Nohr’s throne room, as in the June Introduction trailer, you can see the same background when Garon orders the Avatar’s execution.

Plus you can vaguely see Garon atop the throne.


Upon seeing the bolt, Marx and Leon look most surprised. Nobody else seems to be around, so is Garon punishing the two siblings?

Could Garon even be possessed? We know from the TV commercial that he’s capable of wielding axes, but power of this sort seems beyond him. Unless he’s using his latent draconic powers or something.


The next scene actually shows Garon, but from the lack of context and short appearance, it’s hard to make any connections. From his facial expression, he either looks angry or in pain.

This is a massive stretch, but perhaps we’ll see a good (or human) side to him after all?

Garon is described as ambitious, suspicious and incredibly power-hungry, but deep inside, it’s possible he means well for his country, which lives on extremely limited resources.

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After Garon is a familiar scene with Takumi leading Hoshidan forces and then a not-so-familiar scene where Aqua seems highly distressed.

Of immediate interest is the purple “wound” on her right arm, which she seems insistent on hiding. Could this be a curse of some kind or some side effect of her draconic powers?

From the way she tries to hide her wound, it seems to have highly negative connotations. Maybe it’s a sign she has the blood of the cursed Dark Dragon worshiped by Nohr?

Less important, but still noteworthy: she is lying on the ground next to a body of water, which could very well be the same location where she sings during the sunset.

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From here, things get very intense (and confusing) fast.

To begin with, we have a mysterious figure launching shadowy darts… kunai?

Is this the same robed figure who caused the explosion near the start of the trailer? The ruined backdrop, with cracked floor tiles looks very similar. Perhaps he/she is attacking Ryouma after the explosion?


Speaking of Ryouma, we see him in a familiar war-time scene immediately afterwards, along with other familiar scenes featuring Hinoka, Camilla and Leon.

After that, he appears again in a new scene, where he looks incredibly anxious and possibly in pain. It’s extremely difficult to pin-point this scene, but it may occur around the same time as his “confrontation” scene.


As he draws his blade during that scene, the camera pans out for a moment and the far-most walls look similar in colour (although the patterns aren’t visible from this angle).

Perhaps this new scene is the one that actually occurs after he’s defeated? After all, he has his most extreme expression there, which could be a result of sustaining a fatal wound…


Speaking of fatal wounds… the next scene may very be Elise’s death scene.

In a similar manner, she has an anxious and pained expression, even telling the Avatar to “try to be at peace”, suggesting that he/she should not grieve her death.

If so… whew, that higher age rating was definitely appropriate.


The intensity soon reaches breaking point, as a mysterious figure–perhaps the same sinister figure who caused the explosion–undergoes a transformation.


There are many things to note here.

Firstly, the location appears to be the Hoshidan capital, as you can just about see what might be the Light Dragon statue in the background (albeit in a broken form).

Secondly, the person to the right of the camera is still probably Ryouma; it’s really hard to mistake his unique armour.

Thirdly, if you look carefully, Sakura is lying on the floor in the bottom-left corner, possibly in fear of what’s happening.

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I won’t lie: the transformation sequence that follows happens so quickly that it’s hard to make out anything.

Given the game’s theme, it’s possible the unknown figure transforms into a dragon. Or maybe even a monster.

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That’s not all, as right afterwards, we see a mysterious male(?) whose eyes glow violently. This scene seems to occur around the same time because of the red “splash” effects on the screen.

In all likelihood, this is probably the Avatar as he/she undergoes his/her first transformation into a dragon.

It’s likely not the unknown figure with the sword as he/she already transformed at this point and it’s probably not Ryouma either, leaving only one natural candidate.


From all the information thus far, I assume the mysterious figure launching the shadowy darts is not the one who carries the sword.

Why? Because he/she is standing by the side, away from the dragon statue, and uses a different weapon.


Perhaps this person tried to assassinate Sakura, but Ryouma pushes her aside to the floor, before slaying the assailant.

Then upon witnessing Ryouma’s prowess, the remaining enemy with the sword realises they’re no match unless they transform.

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Finally, we see Kamui in dragon form pinning down Aqua, as shown in the TV commercial.

This scene, like many others, hides a few things. Firstly, Aqua’s pendant is floating in addition to glowing, both of which aren’t things normal pendants do.

Secondly–and perhaps more obviously–there is a blue aura around both characters. This aura is the same colour as the pendant (and Aqua), so logically it must’ve been triggered by it.

Thirdly, if you stare at the background, you may notice the broken dragon statue from the Hoshidan capital. So this scene occurs after the attack on the capital.

If you recall my prediction, after the unknown assailant transforms, the Avatar also transforms for the first time.


In the scene where Aqua is pinned down, she says “Kill me if you must. But please do it as yourself.” This suggest the Avatar has lost control and implies that this is the first time he/she has transformed.

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To finish off, could all of these scenes actually occur right after the cutscene where Mikoto reunites with the Avatar in the Hoshidan capital (after an important battle)?

It might seem like a stretch, but all the relevant characters are there–the Avatar, Mikoto, Ryouma and Sakura (look carefully at the crowd)–and the time of day is the same.

If so, that would surely be a dramatic turn of events…