I bumped this to the front page. I wanted to make sure that you guys got to check it out, and I wanted to once again show my appreciation to Nintendo for inviting me to be a part of this.
I had the absolute honor/pleasure of being included in a conference call set up by Nintendo. The focus of this conference call was to discuss the upcoming DS title, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon. This call featured three developers that work directly with the series, as well as Shadow Dragon specifically. All the information below comes from Masaki Tawara’s (Nintendo Co., Ltd. Software Planning & Development Division,Software Planning & Development Department, Production Group No. 2, Nintendo), Tohru Narihiro (executive managing director, Intelligent Systems) and Tohru Narihiro (executive managing director, Intelligent Systems).
I’d like to once again thank Nintendo for allowing me to be involved in this conference call.
Game info summary
- for those that don’t know, the Fire Emblem series combines tactical simulation elements with RPG elements
- The original Fire Emblem is nearly 20 years old
- developers still believe the title has a lot to offer today, which is why the DS port came to be
- Story: Marth loses his country to evil forces. Follow Marth as he gains the countryside back, amasses allies, and destroys the source of evil
- Jagen: support/mentor character to Marth
- what’s new for this version:
* tutorial system that teachers the player how to play
* battle forecast system (not included in original) allows you to see outcome of battle pairings before you jump in
* enhanced difficulties including 6 settings
* mid-map save point which allows you to pick up and play later, or restart halfway through a level if you fail
- Online features
* wifi battle - take units from single player and use up to 5 in a battle against another human
* rental unit system - borrow/rent units from other players to use in your own game
* online shop - log on through Nintendo WFC to purchase items for use in single/multiplayer (shop uses in-game currency)
- Nintendo is undecided if they will remake additional Fire Emblem titles, but if Shadow Dragon is a big hit, they will more closely look at those options
- American players like the idea of building characters up
- European players like the story elements as well as the leveling up aspects
- Japanese players like the story, particularly female players
- since the Fire Emblem made the transition to portables, Nintendo has been seeing new types of players try the title out. Nintendo would like to continue bringing new people in, which is why some of the features listed above have been included.
- Nintendo has added in the ‘reclass’ feature to allow you to change units to a certain degree. This makes up for lost units that are particularly important. When that isn’t a good enough solution, you can use the rental unit feature.
- ‘Gaiden Missions’ were added to ease users into the game. The first four Gaiden missions allow you to gain an additional strong unit. The final Gaiden mission helps out players when they don’t fulfill the requirements to defeat the final boss. You can obtain characters and items that will help you finish the game.
- FE:SD’s story is streamlined because the dev team wanted to keep things as close to the original as possible. The story is easy to understand, which allows you to focus better on the gameplay. If extra story details were added in, the team was afraid that they could over-complicate the title. The dev team wanted to boil the game down to the most enjoyable elements.
- Masaki Tawara’s (Nintendo Co., Ltd. Software Planning & Development Division,Software Planning & Development Department, Production Group No. 2, Nintendo) preference is to make another original title in the Fire Emblem series instead of going for another remake. In making a new, original title, a new challenge would be to include elements that would make it more accessible to a new audience. If he were to do another remake, it would be the Super Famicom Fire Emblem title, Fire Emblem: Akaneia Senki. It would be interesting to see how it could be updated for the DS.
- Masayuki Horikawa (Planning Div. Chief Game Designer, Intelligent Systems) would also prefer to make a new game in the Fire Emblem series. Starting on a brand-new game provides an open palette, thus giving more room for innovation. If he were to remake a title, he would choose Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi. Mr. Horikawa wants a chance to introduce Roy properly.
- Tohru Narihiro (executive managing director, Intelligent Systems) thinks that some of the FE titles have lost the original charm, which is why it’s so nice to bring back the original title. A new title with an all-star cast from all the Fire Emblem series would be a fun idea (this is nothing more than opinion, not a confirmation of this happening in any way)
- pace of the game shouldn’t change too much from the inclusion of touch-screen controls. Touch screen controls are more intuitive, and may be better for newcomers.
- this game can be played either touch screen or button controls. No point in the game has you using both at the same time. It’s up to the player to pick which control choice they prefer.
- the dual screen functionality changes the pace of a game in a good way, making things move at a brisker pace. The additional information that appears on the upper screen means you no longer need to move through menus, making things quicker-paced
- developers’ favorite character classes:
Tawara - Myrmidon
Horikawa - Pegasus Knight
Narihiro - Sniper
- game ships on Feb. 16th