Intelligent Systems’ fantasy epics have always been rooted in European myths, but the next great Fire Emblem game should go further.
The next Fire emblem the game should seek inspiration beyond Europe. The tactical RPG series is one of Nintendo’s greatest intellectual properties. But, throughout their 30-year history, games have largely remained in the realm of Western fantasy.
The franchise remains strong, enjoying higher critical and commercial success than ever. Unfortunately, their stories are recycling enough ideas and references that the medieval scene is starting to lose its luster. While some more diverse cultures have been explored, an entire series has yet to be devoted to them. This is a huge missed opportunity, one that the next game should correct.
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Despite being developed in Japan, Fire emblemThe worlds of always have been ingrained in European mythology. His recurring narrative of a dragon slayer hero is a classic image of Western folklore, and many of his characters and artifacts share names with those of the continent. They are often symbolic references, such as weapons called Gungnir and Mjölnir, but sometimes they provide crucial information about the cast of each game. The protagonist of the fourth game, Sigurd, for example, follows a journey with many parallels to his Germanic namesake. These allusions can be used to enrich a story by giving it a sense of legendary gravity.
However, recent references to the series indicate that it is running out of such folklore. There are still clever cultural nods, like a pair of weapons depicting legendary twins, but others, like associating Excalibur with a sword named after a cow, seem strangely arbitrary. Thor’s hammer has been redesigned four times, with little consistency between incarnations, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses he went so far as to simply invent various relics. In a vacuum, this is not bad. After all, mythologies were constantly rewritten and reinterpreted throughout history. It simply raises the question of why the series has to stay in Europe when it could explore the world beyond for fresher material.
Some games in the series have tested this. The Game Boy Advance titles featured fan favorite Lyn, whose people were based on those of the Central Asian steppe, but her homeland played no role in the main story. Instead, the game focused on their European allies Eliwood and Hector, while their story could be completely skipped in repeat matches.
Fire Emblem Destinations was more ambitious, allowing players to support European Nohians or Japanese-inspired Hoshidans for an entire campaign. Unfortunately, it failed to develop either side sufficiently. Most of their world building was either locked behind DLC or just not provided. It’s very telling that, in a franchise known for developing the story of every game world, Destinations He couldn’t even think of a name for his surroundings.
Even Three houses fell prey to this problem. While it is a phenomenal achievement in many respects, due to its four fantastically realized campaigns and characters, the game is heavily focused on the western land of Fódlan. This makes sense for the stories of characters concerned about their politics, but not for those who want to break through their borders. Claude’s route especially struggles with this. For a character with such strong ties to Middle Eastern-themed Almyra, it’s disappointing that the player never sees this land he loves so much.
Fire emblem It’s not the first franchise to make such mistakes, and it probably won’t be the last. However, if your next game simply leaves Europe to find inspiration in another part of the world, you could start to correct the problem while leading by example. The West has many fascinating stories about heroes and dragons, but it is by no means unique in this.
Persian mythology tells of Zahhak, a serpent-cursed ruler defeated by the hero Fereydun, whose descent into darkness fits perfectly with Fire emblemother fallen kings. Apophis, the cosmic serpent of ancient Egypt, is more of an existential threat than the series is used to, but his sheer power could become the most menacing foe yet. Draconic African beings, such as the rainbow serpent Ayida-Wedo and the chimeric Kirimu, are very different from Fire emblemUsual Wyrms, but that in itself could help any game based on their legends stand out from the crowd.
Nor is it just history that could benefit from a change in location. Fire emblemTraditional RPG classes, such as the Warrior and the Paladin, have become as iconic as their titular artifact. However, their playing roles have barely changed in the 30 years since the franchise began.
While it makes sense for some units to be universally present, such as archers and healers, moving outside of Europe might require more unique fighters, weapons, and character types to change the series’ formula. Some would easily fit into the existing game, like the Cardaces Persians, while others, like the war elephants, could introduce a host of new tactical opportunities. Not to mention the most fantastic units, which could wield magic unique to the chosen region or ride into battle on mystical mounts that the series has yet to see.
Fire emblem is more popular now than ever and another game in a western setting is unlikely to change that. However, given how beloved characters like Lyn and Claude are, there’s no reason why such heroes couldn’t run a game on their own. No need to keep remixing the same epic poems with literally an entire planet to draw inspiration from. With the series having established a multiverse since Wake up, it would be a shame not to explore its most diverse worlds. The fire is still burning brightly, but it wouldn’t hurt to let someone else carry the torch.
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