Kent Springborn Jr.
The long-running tactical role-playing franchise, “Fire Emblem,” recently celebrated its 27th anniversary on April 20. The first game in the franchise, “Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light,” came out in Japan on April 20, 1990. However, it wasn’t until November 3, 2003, that the franchise saw its way to North America and July 16, 2004, in Europe with “Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword.”
This franchise is one of my favorite video game franchises of all time due to the combination of strategy, medieval themes, and role-playing elements. As with quite a few players, my first exposure to the franchise wasn’t with an entry from the main series, but from “Super Smash Bros. Melee.” This crossover fighting game featured Marth and Roy, two characters from “Fire Emblem.”
After learning what series that these characters were from, I found myself wanting to play the game. My sister recently got a copy of “Blazing Sword” and I was able to convince her to allow me to play it. After only a small amount of time playing the game, I was hooked and wanted to play more of it.
Since then, I have played every entry to the franchise that made its way to the US. There was a period of time where it was uncertain if we would see a new entry in the franchise since the remake of the third game, “Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem,” didn’t get localized due to poor sales of “Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon,” a remake of the first game.
After a few years passed since “New Mystery of the Emblem’s” release, a new entry in the franchise was announced in Japan. This entry was “Fire Emblem: Awakening” and it was the first game of the franchise to be released for the Nintendo 3DS. I was excited to learn that “Awakening” would be getting a localization since I would finally be able to play a new “Fire Emblem” game.
It was thanks to “Awakening” that the franchise saw a revival and a surge in popularity worldwide. Before this entry, “Fire Emblem” was considered a niche title and was often overlooked or avoided due to its game-play feature of “permadeath,” which has a unit become unplayable for the rest of the game if they die in battle.
“Awakening” was meant to be the last game in the franchise if it didn’t sell well. Thankfully it did end up selling extremely well and now Nintendo considers “Fire Emblem” to be one of its major video game franchises.
Since “Awakening,” the franchise has seen the releases of “Fire Emblem Fates,” which was released in three different parts, “Birthright,” “Conquest,” and “Revelation,” for the Nintendo 3DS and “Fire Emblem Heroes” for iOS and Android devices. The newest entry in the franchise, “Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia,” a remake of the second game, “Fire Emblem Gaiden,” was released in Japan on April 20, and will be released in North America and Europe on May 19.
As a major “Fire Emblem” fan, I am glad to see this franchise celebrate its 27th anniversary with a new entry to since it almost ended with “Awakening.”