This can’t end well
Recently the Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream interviewed two prominent members of the development team for Fire Emblem Warriors: producer Yosuke Hayashi and director Hiroya Usuda. It’s a rather lengthy interview, however it does help give an understanding into what’s going on with the game, and the choices with the roster.
You’d better have a seat before continuing. Some of this doesn’t exactly instill confidence.
Starting off, the team was asked about the twins, and why they went with swords for them. Originally, Rowan was going to have an axe, and Lianna would have a spear. However, the team felt it was going to be confusing for the tutorial, and wanted people to learn the weapon triangle starting from the sword. In a mind-boggling statement, they also cited them being Lords as a reason for why they should have swords, the same reason that was given for a smaller number of games being included. They also confirmed that no one will be changing weapons, meaning the twins will be stuck with swords the entire game. In a sense, the twins are a symbol for everything wrong with the game so far.
Next they moved onto Chrom. As you would’ve guessed from the trailers, Chrom was the first character created for the game. Part of the goal for graphics was improving them to the point where it matched the pre-rendered movies in Awakening and Fates, where there were models for him and Lissa. As a result, Chrom already had a reference, and is the reference for how every character should be done for the entire cast after he was created. Development was even described as hectic until he was completed. In a sense, he is the foundation for this game as Link would have been for Hyrule Warriors.
The hardest part of this interview however is in regards to Lucina and the children characters of Awakening/Fates. The team was initially going to remove Lucina, not only due to being a sword user, but because she’s part of the children generation. That changed after talking to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems, when they realized it was not possible to remove Lucina. We’ll come back to the children generation comment in a moment, but a big note here is that if the twins had been an axe and a lance user, Lucina being a sword user wouldn’t have been a problem.
The two also discussed how characters were being decided. The big factor that they talked about is the relations between various characters. In the case of Awakening, the main focal point is Chrom and the Shepards, it’s not just random characters. It’s a major reason why Frederick, Robin, and Lissa were picked, as it would feel odd without them. This also gives a major hint as to how Fates and Shadow Dragons characters are being picked, as they likely need ties to Corrin as well as the royal siblings for the former and Marth for the latter.
As you would expect, it’s a major ding to characters without that. The children units are the biggest victims of this policy as they have little relevance to the plot of Awakening nor the major characters that are not their parents. If Lucina had been cut, the team was planning to not include any of them. Based on how they interview is worded, this likely means there’s at least one Awakening character we don’t know about and it’s one of the children. It’s unknown what this means for the 21 children characters in Fates however, as none of them have relevance like Lucina does.
In addition, the team are also using an internal polling system at the studio to help narrow characters down. Characters are divided up by weapon types, with ranks A to C. A is for popular characters that are important to the story, B is for strong ones or those that have fond memories, and C is for those that would be okay if added. At some point an S rank mysteriously showed up, and so many characters ended up there apparently that any characters in B and C could no longer be added.
Finally, the team talked about the weapon triangle. The big surprise is that it’s going to be the simplified sword/axe/lance one that was used before Fates did, as Robin is confirmed to be the first created character outside of it with his tome. In addition, Lissa and Frederick were included, not just because of the earlier relationship, but because there weren’t enough axe characters. If that’s the case, and that means Frederick can’t be a lance user based on earlier comments, then that means based on the internal polling, Vaike, Basillo and Libra weren’t considered important enough to add.
Other than that, not a lot else was discussed by the team. A Coliseum mode was teased, which would focus on replayability with special rules, but further information for that was teased for a later date. The team also mentioned that the support conversations will have homages to the original games, although to what extent was not clear. The development team encouraged folks to guess the roster from Fates and Shadow Dragon from here on, likely a sign that Awakening is done for new characters.
Overall this doesn’t really help with my concerns for the game, in fact it made it worse. Some of the most-liked characters from the games aren’t the mandatory ones, but the optional side characters like Donnel and the children. In addition, the fact that there’s a supposed shortage of axe users yet they insist on the twins being sword users, a part of the problem with Fire Emblem Lords as of late that even they brought up, does not sit well with me. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the final roster sits with fans when the game releases.
Fire Emblem Warriors devs – Chrom was made first, Lissa / Lucina / Frederick / Robin talk, much more [Nintendo Everything]