My heart’s on Fire (Emblem)

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Following their press conference for the Switch, Nintendo made gaming headlines again Jan. 18, when they revealed details about three new Fire Emblem games in development.

Despite being one of Nintendo’s larger franchises, Fire Emblem may be one of their lesser-known series in the West. Fire Emblem has had over 12 main-series games in the past 27 years, along with countless spin-offs and remakes, but many of them never released in North America.

If you haven’t played the games, you might only know the Fire Emblem characters as the knightly-looking folks taking up like half of the real estate in the Super Smash Bros. For Wii U roster, or you just might not know them at all. Fire Emblem never really enjoyed mainstream success in North America — and was in danger of being cancelled entirely — until Fire Emblem: Awakening released in 2012/2013 and made the series a hit.

But that’s a tale for another day. Now, let’s talk about the games:

The least ambitious of the trio will likely be Fire Emblem Heroes, the newest Nintendo mobile game. The game will feature a simplified version of Fire Emblem’s strategy combat, and seems to centre around two new warring empires. The main draw here is the ability to summon and collect characters from every other Fire Emblem game. Its target audience is probably going to be existing fans, but since it’s going to be free-to-play anyways, I guess it’s worth checking out even for the uninitiated. Fire Emblem Heroes will release Feb. 2 for Android users — iPhone users will have to wait indefinitely for the Apple version.

Next up is Fire Emblem Warriors, which is set to come out for the Switch this fall. This game will be made by Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja, and it will basically be the same thing as the Dynasty Warriors series or Hyrule Warriors — take on mobs upon mobs of enemies as an overpowered badass — except this time featuring Fire Emblem characters.

Gamers know exactly what they’re signing up for when they play this game (lots of action and little-to-no story), and for those looking for a hack-and-slash game to make them feel godlike, this is probably it. Personally, I’m hoping it will have a lot of different characters and weapons, in order to bring some variety to the game.

Finally, there’s Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (that’s a mouthful), releasing in May for the 3DS. Shadows of Valentia is a full reimagining of Fire Emblem Gaiden, one of the Fire Emblem games that never released in the West, so this is exciting to fans for a lot of reasons. The game has the graphical quality of the most successful Fire Emblem games, Awakening and Fates, but promises to keep everything that made Gaiden, Gaiden.

What that means remains to be seen, but it could mean drastic changes in gameplay, like the free-roam mode that was shown off in the Nintendo Direct video. A lot of fans are also speculating that there’s a reason for the overly-long title, and that “Fire Emblem Echoes” may become a series unto itself, remaking other classic Fire Emblem games.

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