It’s been over 2 years, but at the start of April 2015, Nintendo finally confirmed that the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover title still exists, with a new and exciting trailer.
Now I must admit I’m not well versed in the Shin Megami Tensei series, but I’ll try my best to give a thorough and deserving analysis.
To begin with, let’s jump straight to the very end, because there’s a very important piece of information there.
At this current time, the game doesn’t have an official title in North America and Europe and is simply known as the “Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover” game.
However in Japan, the game is now known as Genei Ibunroku #FE (literally Illusory Revelations #FE; the last part is read as “sharp eff ee”). Obviously the “FE” in the title is meant to allude to “Fire Emblem”.
The first thing you’ll notice from the trailer is that the new title doesn’t seem to be a straightforward crossover as some people might have guessed. The four characters shown at the beginning appear to be new characters, not ones from existing games in either franchise.
Although we’re not formally introduced to any of the characters, we do see their names flash by in the battle scene messages towards the end of the trailer.
The male in the front with the Fire Emblem-like costume is Itsuki Aoi (蒼井樹); literally “blue tree”. The girl to the left of him who appears often in the trailer is Tsubasa Oribe (織部つばさ); I’m unsure what “oribe” is meant to be here, but “tsubasa” is easier, meaning “wings”.
On Itsuki’s right is the red-haired Toma Akagi (赤城斗馬); “akagi” is literally “red castle” and the name of a mountain in Japan, while “toma” might be related to horses. Lastly, we have the dark-haired female to the far left, Kiria Kurono (黒乃霧亜); “kurono” means “black”.
In the next scene and the first “proper” scene of the trailer, we see a girl–Tsubasa–riding a Pegasus Knight in an urban sky. This scene is frankly rather amazing, given the context.
In an interview with Hobby Consolas, Hitoshi Yamagami of Intelligent Systems mentioned how one of his long-term goals was to have a Fire Emblem set in modern times; in particular, he stated an example of a Pegasus Knight flying by Building 109 in Shibuya.
Well, what do you know, the man finally got to see the scene he wanted; the building in the background is indeed 10… 6? If you flip the 6, it’s a 9. Anyway, it’s close enough.
As the trailer goes on, the nature of the crossover starts to become more clear.
Rather than having existing Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem characters thrown in your face, the game seems to be its own entity, with its own characters, and instead takes a heavy dose of inspiration from both franchises.
On the Shin Megami Tensei side, you obviously have the modern world setting–most notably the school and urban environments. The anime and in-game cutscenes also wouldn’t look out of place in a SMT game.
In addition, there’s the traditional RPG gameplay, which includes movement-based exploration and something closer to turn-based battles, rather than Fire Emblem’s grid-based battles.
The Fire Emblem parts are probably slightly harder to notice. At the very least, the fantasy costumes seem vaguely “Fire Emblem” in style; if you blur your eyes, Itsuki at the front is a dead-ringer for many of Fire Emblem’s blue-haired, red-caped Lords.
When you look deeper, you can find more connections. During the school scenes, the innocent-looking school badge is actually hiding a surprising secret: its design is based on the Fire Emblem in Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem–you can even see the five orbs.
That was still rather obscure; there are blatant ones too. At one point, we’re greeted by a little girl with green hair and a golden hair ornament in front of a verdant shrine; her design is awfully similar to Tiki from Shadow Dragon and Mystery of the Emblem.
In fact, in one in-door scene, some of the posters in the background have a picture of the same girl’s face and “Tiki” underneath. Right now, it’s not known if this is the same Tiki as in the main Fire Emblem games, but this is definitely no coincidence.
More familiar characters appear later, but bizarrely as enemies. Actually, “bizarre” doesn’t quite describe how Mad King Gangrel from Awakening is now a purple floating spiky head. Besides him, there’s also Aversa, who at least looks like a Dark Flier.
Twylis pointed out that Chrom might be in; the darker colouring and sinister face mask may throw you off, but the general design is very similar, plus you can see Chrom’s Falchion attached to his waist.
Additionally, a “Pegasus Knight” that might be Tsubasa’s summon has a sort-of-similar design to Caeda or other Fire Emblem Pegasus Knights.
Now that we’ve cleared up the fact that there is Fire Emblem in the game, what do know about the game itself? What’s the story? How does it play? Sadly, although the trailer shows a lot, there’s not really enough information to make any links.
After the trailer, the host does explain the basic premise somewhat; in this game, “everyday life exists alongside a secret world of fantasy that includes characters from the Fire Emblem series”. So basically every Fire Emblem fan’s dream (or maybe just mine).
From the trailer itself, there are at least two key concepts that appear to be critical to the game.
One is costumes; many of the characters can be seen in casual attire and, later, fantasy attire. Perhaps the costumes grant the characters power and different abilities in battle. Maybe the costumes are based on Fire Emblem characters, even?
On the right side of the battle screen, where it shows the character’s HP, EP and Level, there are some curious icons to the right of their level. Could these icons indicate the character’s costume and/or class?
Itsuki at the top has an icon that resembles Chrom’s face and the Falchion, suggesting he’s a Lord. Tsubasa in the middle meanwhile has a Pegasus Knight icon, although she does appear without her fantasy costume at one point in battle.
On the bottom, we have Kiria with a Mage icon in the first screen and a light-haired female with an Archer icon in the second screen. The same unnamed female can be seen using the other characters as a tower to climb and launch her bow and arrow attack.
This may be unrelated, but at one point Tsubasa strips to her undergarments, much to her companions’ surprise and dismay. You don’t just strip in the middle of nowhere, so maybe she’s doing it to prove a point or are we looking at a failed transformation?
Either way, it… um… makes for a funny scene. Anyway…
The second concept is performing. Throughout the city, you can see billboards and signs of (presumably) various singers, as well as one of the singers, Kiria, giving a performance. So far so normal.
However, during battles, the characters appear to be fighting in front of a live audience. The battle terminology also includes suspicious phrases such as “session” for combos and “artists” for the playable characters.
Now I’m assuming this world isn’t crazy enough to have singers sing and battle for entertainment, but there’s definitely some kind of theme going on. To add to that, the “Sharp FE” in the game’s title could be related to the F and E sharp notes in music.
Finishing off, one of the final scenes–when the main protagonist is looking over the city–is a bit more sinister if you look carefully. Near the base of the buildings, you can see some buildings toppled over, possibly submerged, and some buildings with massive cracks.
So although the world looked fairly normal at first glance (minus the crazy costumes and battles), there is a dreaded hint of apocalypse, which the Shin Megami Tensei series has explored previously.
Besides the trailer, Nintendo also opened up the official site for the game. At this present time, the site is fairly bare-bones, but there is an interesting blog post, which you can find translated over here (credits to Mystic of TRADUKO Soft).