Fire Emblem (series)
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Fire Emblem (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム Fire Emblem) is a series of turn-based strategy role-playing games developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. The series was the first of its kind, with its origins dating back to the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System; however, the first six games were released exclusively in Japan. Each game in the series includes numerous playable characters, each with their own backstories and personalities. The series features permanent death, meaning that any character, save the Lord character(s), will be gone for good if they fall in battle.
Nintendo Entertainment System and Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Intelligent Systems began as a company invested in producing video game development tools. Intelligent Systems began to work on simulation games, starting with the first game of the Wars series, Famicom Wars, which has gameplay slightly similar to the Fire Emblem series. The Fire Emblem series first began with the release of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light for the Nintendo Entertainment System on April 20, 1990 and was developed by Intelligent Systems. Although it did not have a great amount of sales in the first two weeks, sales did eventually improve.
The second game in the series, Fire Emblem Gaiden, was released on March 14, 1992, also for the Nintendo Entertainment System. As its name suggests, it is a side story to the original, being set in the same universe but on a different continent. Some characters from Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light appear but the majority of the cast is new. It introduced several new gameplay changes, including a "Trainee" type class, use of a world map, and monster enemies. Most of these elements vanished with the release of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, though many elements have made their way back in recent titles like Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, Fire Emblem Awakening, and Fire Emblem Fates.
A direct sequel to the first game, Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, was released on the Super NES on January 21, 1994. The game is divided into two parts; colloquially known as books or, more simply, parts. Book 1 is an abridged retelling and remake of Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light. Book 2 is the meat of the game and a sequel to the original, featuring characters returning from the original as well as new cast additions. It returns to the original formula, but adds new features, like dismounting and new weapons. It also received major graphical updates, owing to releasing on the Super NES. Mystery of the Emblem is the best-selling Fire Emblem game in Japan.
The next game in the series, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, released on the Super NES on May 14, 1996. It featured mostly similar gameplay to its predecessors, but it mixes things up by featuring things like massive maps, inventory changes, and an entire second generation of characters descended from the first generation of characters. Child characters would, however, become absent until the feature's resurgence almost a decade later in Awakening. As of 2002, Genealogy of the Holy War was the second-best-selling Fire Emblem game, having sold an estimated 498,216 copies in its original Super Famicom print run. The official US English website for Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade alleges that Genealogy was the most successful Fire Emblem game in Japan, but it is uncertain how true this claim is in light of all other evidence pointing to Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem historically holding that title.
After Genealogy of the Holy War, Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga aired on the Satellaview peripheral on the Super NES, and featured four single-map scenarios taking place before the events of Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light. Overall it is a minor title of the series, and is often overlooked.
Closing the Super NES era is Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, which was one of the last games released on the Super NES, releasing on the Nintendo Power flash cartridge service on September 1st, 1999, and getting a proper physical release on January 21st, 2000. Thracia 776 takes place during the second generation of Genealogy of the Holy War, and focuses on events occurring in Thracia. The gameplay returns mostly to the style of Mystery of the Emblem, but adds new mechanics like capture, fog of war, and a comparative wealth of new chapter objectives. Thracia 776 is often considered by fans to be one of the more difficult, if not the most difficult, titles in the series. Thracia 776, unfortunately, holds the title of the worst-selling Fire Emblem title, presumably due to its late release and unusual distribution method; initially it could only be obtained by downloading it to a special Super NES cartridge through Nintendo Power.
While no Fire Emblem games ever released on the Nintendo 64, there was one title known to be in development. Unfortunately, very little of this game was released to the public, aside from the fact that it existed at all. Colloquially known as Fire Emblem 64 among fans, it did have some information about it released in The Making of Fire Emblem, a book released in late 2015, which revealed that this title was heavily retooled and would eventually become Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, which is mentioned below.
Game Boy Advance games
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was the first portable game and first game released after the departure of Shouzou Kaga. Releasing on the Game Boy Advance on March 29th, 2002 it is what Fire Emblem 64 eventuated as. The Binding Blade features typical Fire Emblem gameplay, playing similarly to the Super NES titles, though mechanics like dismount and capture are not featured. The Binding Blade takes place in a different universe than previous titles, featuring the continent of Elibe. Of note, the game's main character, Roy appeared in Super Smash Bros. Melee alongside Marth, and brought the series to somewhat widespread western attention. Despite this, The Binding Blade never released internationally, despite English Nintendo sources expressing interest in such a release.
Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade was the first Fire Emblem game released worldwide. It is a prequel to The Binding Blade. The game's development had an international release in mind from the start, with the first ten chapters being an extended tutorial. This was specifically meant to introduce international players to the gameplay of the series.  While the original release lacked a subtitle, due to being the only internationally released Fire Emblem title at the time, modern English Nintendo sources refer to it as The Blazing Blade to avoid confusion with other titles and the series in general.
Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was released on October 7, 2004 in Japan and released internationally in 2005. It is the second title to be released internationally. The Sacred Stones is somewhat of a throwback to Gaiden in terms of gameplay; it reintroduces a traversable world map and features a wealth of monster enemies. It is a standalone title in terms of story and universe, the only Fire Emblem 'universe' to only have one game in its continuity. The Sacred Stones was developed in tandem with Path of Radiance.
A few years after the official release, three pre-release builds, two of The Blazing Blade and one of The Sacred Stones, were leaked on the internet. The Blazing Blade's two prototypes, colloquially called 0206 and 0219, are largely complete and in a playable state, though there are some bugs. The Sacred Stones's prototype is largely incomplete, and is only truly playable to Chapter 8, though the backbone for the rest of the game—maps that would clearly become the ones appearing in the final game and basic setup like deployment positions for player units—is implemented, it is largely in a very unpolished state. Both prototypes feature a wealth of debug menus and features, allowing the player to, for example, warp to any chapter from a menu at leisure and max a unit's stats with a few button presses. The prototypes also feature some early character designs differing from the final game, for instance, Heath has red hair with a silver tuft in The Blazing Blade's prototype instead of his green and silver hair in the final.
GameCube and Wii games
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance released on the Nintendo GameCube in Japan on April 20, 2005, with international releases following in the same year. It, once again, features a new universe and takes place on the continent of Tellius. In terms of characters it introduced a new major race of beast-people, the laguz.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn released on the Nintendo Wii in Japan on February 22, 2007, with international releases following in the year and 2008. It is a direct sequel to Path of Radiance.
There was a second Fire Emblem series game planned for the Nintendo Wii, however it did not make it very far into development. It was only known by the placeholder title Fire Emblem Wii, and appears that it would have been a fairly radical departure from Fire Emblem series gameplay had it released; featuring real-time gameplay and allowing the player to control many units at once.
Nintendo DS remakes
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon was released on August 7, 2008 in Japan and internationally later that year and in 2009. After the development team restructuring from the lackluster sales of Radiant Dawn, the new team decided to start with a remake of the original NES game, with elements from the Super NES remake also utilized, on Nintendo DS. It is a fairly straightforward remake, though it does feature some new chapters and cast additions compared to the original.
Closing the Nintendo DS-era is Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem released on July 15, 2010 only in Japan. It was made to celebrate the series twentieth anniversary, a remake of the second half of the third game of the series was released, though only in Japan. This was the first game since the series had hit worldwide shelves to be released exclusively in Japan. This game was the first game to introduce the Avatar system and casual mode to the series, though this is often overlooked due to the game's Japan-only release.
Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and smart device games
Fire Emblem Awakening was Fire Emblem's first foray into the Nintendo 3DS console, released on April 19th, 2012 in Japan and 2013 internationally. It is the first non-remake title in the five years following Radiant Dawn. It takes place within the same universe as Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light and associated games, but a substantial time later. Unlike Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, this game was released internationally. Much of the gameplay was simplified or made easier in order to appeal to a wider audience. Awakening reintroduces child characters and introduced the Avatar system and casual mode to a wider audience.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is the first major spinoff title relating to the Fire Emblem series, and released 26 December, 2015 in Japan and internationally in the following year. The game was originally announced in 2013, but vanished from the public eye after a single, very basic, teaser trailer. The crossover features primarily an original cast with some Fire Emblem characters appearing as Mirages as allies to the main cast and for boss and major antagonistic roles. The game has a music idol and acting theme, all the main characters are, aside from the protagonist Itsuki, major players in a music, television, or other related profession. The theming of the game and the fact that both Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem take a backseat to the game's universe lead to mixed reception. The game's opening sales in Japan were fairly poor, selling 23,806 copies in its first week.
Fire Emblem Fates is the second game on the Nintendo 3DS, released on June 25, 2015 in Japan, and internationally in 2016. After the first five chapters, it splits into three separate storylines: Birthright, which is similar to Awakening in gameplay; Conquest, which is somewhat more like the previous Fire Emblem games; and Revelation, which also is similar to Awakening in terms of gameplay. Birthright and Conquest are sold separately, but the other game can be bought at a discount as DLC. Revelation is exclusively obtained through this method. Fates is also the first series title to be localized for the South Korean market, marking an expansion of influence for the series.
Fire Emblem Heroes, following the success of Awakening and Fates, released worldwide on smart devices on February 2nd, 2017. It features bite-sized gameplay and has characters from across the series. Initially its character selection focused on Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light/Mystery of the Emblem, Awakening, Fates, The Binding Blade, and The Blazing Blade, though its coverage has now extended to at least one character from every mainline game.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia released on the Nintendo 3DS on April 20, 2017 in Japan and May 19, 2017. It is a remake of Gaiden, and the third remake overall. Similarly to Fates being the first South Korean-localized title, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is the first Fire Emblem title to be localized for Dutch and Chinese markets. It is likely that Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will be the last main-line Fire Emblem series title released for the Nintendo 3DS.
Fire Emblem Warriors released on the Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch on September 28, 2017 in Japan and worldwide October 20, 2017. Both versions of Warriors are nearly identical in terms of content. It is a spinoff title and crossover with Dynasty Warriors. The game's roster focuses on Awakening and Fates with an additional small selection of characters from Shadow Dragon.
Nintendo Switch games
Fire Emblem Warriors is the first Fire Emblem-related title to be released on the Nintendo Switch.
Marth, Ike, Lucina, Robin, Corrin, and Roy reprise their roles as playable fighters alongside a new fighter, Chrom, in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Byleth would later be added as a downloadable fighter.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses released worldwide on July 26, 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. Set on the new continent of Fódlan, Three Houses features an academy, where the player instructs their students between battles. The player chooses between one of the academy's three houses to lead, determining which roster of characters they will start with and how the story will proceed. An expansion pass was released for purchase alongside the game, granting access to four waves of DLC culminating in the final and largest wave, released on February 13, 2020, featuring the Cindered Shadows side story.
|Image||English language title||Original titles||Platform||Release date(s)||Notes|
|Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light||暗黒竜と光の剣
Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi
|Nintendo Entertainment System||JPApril 20, 1990
December 4, 2020
December 4, 2020
December 4, 2020
|The first game of the series, featuring Marth and his struggles on the continent of Archanea.|
|Nintendo Entertainment System||JP March 14, 1992||The second game in the series. A side-story of the first game, featuring dual protagonists Alm and Celica on the continent of Valentia.|
|Mystery of the Emblem||紋章の謎
Monshō no Nazo
|Super Nintendo Entertainment System||JPJanuary 21, 1994||The third game of the series. A two-part game featuring both a remake of the first game, and a direct continuation of Marth's struggles on Archanea.|
|Genealogy of the Holy War||聖戦の系譜
Seisen no Keifu
|Super Nintendo Entertainment System||JPMay 14, 1996||The fourth game of the series. Takes place long before Marth's time, on a distant continent, Jugdral. The game features two protagonists, Sigurd, and his son Seliph.|
|Super Nintendo Entertainment System||JPSeptember 1, 1999 (Nintendo Power)
JPJanuary 21, 2000 (ROM cartridge)
|The fifth game of the series. Takes place during Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War and details Leif's struggles in Thracia.|
|The Binding Blade||封印の剣
Fūin no Tsurugi
|Game Boy Advance||JPMarch 29, 2002||The sixth game of the series. First handheld game. Takes place on Elibe and features Roy, as well as a departure from the Archanea-Jugdral games' "universe".|
|The Blazing Blade||烈火の剣
Rekka no Ken
|Game Boy Advance||JPApril 25, 2003
November 3, 2003
February 20, 2004
July 16, 2004
|The seventh game of the series. First game released outside of Japan. A prequel to Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, featuring a trio of lords, Lyn, Eliwood and Hector.|
|The Sacred Stones||聖魔の光石
Seima no Kōseki
|Game Boy Advance||JPOctober 7, 2004
May 23, 2005
November 4, 2005
|The eighth game of the series. It is somewhat of a throwback to Fire Emblem Gaiden, featuring branched promotions, monsters, and an explorable world map. Takes place on Magvel and features the twin lords Eirika and Ephraim.|
|Path of Radiance||蒼炎の軌跡
Sōen no Kiseki
|Nintendo GameCube||JPApril 20, 2005
October 10, 2005
November 11, 2005
December 1, 2005
|The ninth game of the series. First console game released outside of Japan. Takes place on Tellius and chronicles Ike's rise from trainee mercenary to liberator of Crimea.|
Akatsuki no Megami
|Wii||JPFebruary 22, 2007
November 5, 2007
March 14, 2008
April 10, 2008
|The tenth game of the series. Sequel to Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and features Micaiah and Ike, who fight on opposing sides before coming together to take on the true villains.|
Shin Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Ken
|Nintendo DS||JPAugust 7, 2008
December 5, 2008
February 16, 2009
February 26, 2009
|The eleventh game of the series, and a remake of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light.|
|New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow||新・紋章の謎 〜光と影の英雄〜
Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū
|Nintendo DS||JPJuly 15, 2010||The twelfth game of the series, and a remake of Book 2 of Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem.|
|Nintendo 3DS||JPApril 19, 2012
February 4, 2013
April 19, 2013
April 20, 2013
|The thirteenth game of the series. Revisits Archanea many years into the future. It features Chrom, a descendant of Marth.|
|Fates||if||Nintendo 3DS||JPJune 25, 2015
February 19, 2016
May 20, 2016
May 21, 2016
KORSeptember 8, 2016
|The fourteenth game of the series. Splits into Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation paths. The first game where the Avatar, Corrin, is the explicit main character.|
|Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||Echoes もうひとりの英雄王
Ekōzu Mō Hitori no Eiyū-ō
|Nintendo 3DS||JPApril 20, 2017
May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017
May 19, 2017
|The fifteenth game of the series, and a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden.|
|Nintendo Switch||WWJuly 26, 2019||The sixteenth game of the series.|
|Image||English language title||Original titles||Platform||Release date(s)||Notes|
|Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga||ＢＳ ファイアーエムブレム アカネイア戦記編
BS Faiā Emuburemu Akaneia Senki-hen
|Super NES||JPSeptember 28th, 1997||A small set of backstory scenarios for Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem. It is occasionally included as a main-line series title by Intelligent Systems though this is inconsistent. It was remade as a bonus set of maps appearing in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem.|
|Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE||幻影異聞録♯ＦＥ
Gen'ei Ibunroku Shāpu Efu Ī
|Wii U, Nintendo Switch||JPDecember 26, 2015
June 24, 2016
June 24, 2016
June 25, 2016
|A role-playing game made by Atlus for the Wii U. It was originally presented as a crossover between the Shin Megami Tensei series and Fire Emblem, though it ended up featuring more original elements with Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei references and influences instead. It was later re-released for the Nintendo Switch in all regions on January 17, 2020.|
|Fire Emblem Heroes||ファイアーエムブレム ヒーローズ
Faiā Emuburemu Hīrōzu
|WWFebruary 2, 2017||A mobile app game featuring characters from across the series.|
|Fire Emblem Warriors||ファイアーエムブレム 無双
Faiā Emuburemu Musō
|Nintendo Switch, New Nintendo 3DS||JPSeptember 28, 2017
October 20, 2017
October 20, 2017
October 20, 2017
|An action game derived from Koei Tecmo's Dynasty Warriors series developed by Intelligent Systems, Omega Force, and Team Ninja. The game's roster focuses on Awakening and Fates with an additional small selection of characters from Shadow Dragon.|
Fire Emblem 64
- Main article: Fire Emblem 64
As mentioned in the series history, a game in development for the Nintendo 64 existed for a time, but it never eventuated into a full release on the Nintendo 64. For many years fans speculated what this game may have eventually become, with Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, the game released immediately after Fire Emblem 64's cancellation, and Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the first 3D game, being popular theories. Developer notes eventually revealed that the game was heavily rewritten into The Binding Blade, though little of Fire Emblem 64's content is said to have made it through the rewrite.
Fire Emblem Wii
- Main article: Fire Emblem Wii
A second title for the Nintendo Wii was in development after Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, but never eventuated into a full release. It was an experimental title made with expanding Fire Emblem's popularity in mind. It did not get very far out of the concept stages and known screenshots feature heavy reuse of Radiant Dawn's graphical assets.
- Main article: Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade pre-release build 0206
- Main article: Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade pre-release build 0219
- Main article: Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones prototype
Three pre-release builds leaked and were released on the internet some time in 2008. The exact details of their acquisition and release have somewhat been lost to time. All three prototypes contain interesting insight into the development of the games during the Game Boy Advance era.
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The Fire Emblem games are in the tactical role-playing game genre and they were one of the first of its time to involve such gameplay, including a full plot and a range of diverse characters.
During the early 2000s a trading card game featuring characters from Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was in print. Its production ran from 2001 to 2004. Its cards featured a large variety of topics, having character cards, weapon cards, item cards and terrain cards. Aside from providing a fair amount of artwork for many characters and items it is a somewhat overlooked facet of the Fire Emblem series. The exact rules and play of the original trading card game never really made their way into the English side of Fire Emblem knowledge.
Unrelated to the old trading card game, the first set of Fire Emblem Cipher released in 2015 and is currently still in print as of writing, with new sets planned into the foreseeable future. Cipher features characters from a wide range in the series. Unlike the previous series all cards are characters, with item and terrain cards not existing.
Books and Manga
Throughout the series' lifespan numerous books, development, art, and manga, have been released. Many games have received manga adaptations, and art books.
The first six games in the series have received at least one manga adaptation each, and a manga adaptation of Fates, focusing on Leo and Nohr is currently in print as of writing. None of the series' manga have been officially printed in English, though some have been translated by fans.
Many art books have been released over the years; recent books have begun including fairly extensive amounts of concept art compared to older books that generally only contained finished character pieces. Just about every playable character in the series has at least one piece of official artwork. The vast majority of series art books have been released only in Japanese, though The Art of Fire Emblem Awakening has an English print.
- Main article: Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem (anime)
Mystery of the Emblem received a short-lived anime adaptation that released in 1996. It was, curiously, dubbed and released in English, technically making it the first Fire Emblem related media to ever be localized in English and some other languages. However, its translation choices have never been used in any games released officially in English. Only two episodes were ever released, and it begins in Book 1 of Mystery of the Emblem, meaning it featured Marth's escape to Talys, making them early events of Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light.
Aside from this somewhat obscure anime adaptation, the Fire Emblem series has no other anime adaptations.
Logos throughout the series
Pre-Awakening logos used a very "heavy" looking font, and often making the letters appear to be made of physical materials like metal or rock. The logos also often featured a strong border. The general logos went under a somewhat slight redesign with Path of Radiance, becoming flatter.
Japanese logos prominently feature "ファイアーエムブレム" as the primary aspect of the logo, though it is often accompanied by "FIRE EMBLEM" written in a small size near the Katakana. The logos of Thracia 776 and Path of Radiance are exceptions to this, as they feature "FIRE EMBLEM" in English as the primary logo.
Often, each game's logo is featured over important artifacts of the game in question, for instance, The Binding Blade's logo features the titular Binding Blade behind it, though sometimes the logos are used in marketing materials without these items, presumably to reduce clutter. Interestingly, Awakening's Japanese logo features an entire paragraph written under it, summarizing the story of the game, though this text is often too small to read and omitted.
Over the years, the primary colors of the logos have changed, initially, blue seemed to have been the feature color; with Genealogy of the Holy War and afterwards, the logo colors were generally warm colors like red, yellow, or orange.
In Mystery of the Emblem, the typeface was changed to one with serifs, although the typeface is similar.
With Awakening, the general style of the series logo underwent a redesign, now resembling a more simple and flat font. According to interviews, the logo was changed to fit the name of Awakening and to "be more stylish".
With the showing of Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the Japanese logo appears to now feature "FIRE EMBLEM" in English as the primary logo, with "ファイアーエムブレム" written above it in smaller text. It remains to be seen if the English name being the primary logo in Japan becomes a staple. Awakening, Fates, and Echoes: Shadows of Valentia's logos come in several colors in promotional materials so they can display on many backgrounds.
General English logos
General Japanese logos
Mystery of the Emblem's logo.
Genealogy of the Holy War's logo.
Thracia 776's logo.
The Binding Blade's logo.
New Mystery of the Emblem's logo.
Awakening's logo, as used in North America.
Awakening's logo, as used in the PAL region.
Fates: Birthright's logo.
Fates: Conquest's logo.
Fates: Revelation's logo.
- University of Japan Copyright Center, 日本ユニ著作権センター／判例全文・2002/11/14d 3, Translan, Published: 2002-11-14, Retrieved: 2015-03-30
- History of Fire Emblem, Fire Emblem (archived by Serenes Forest), Published: 2003, Retrieved: 2015-04-17
- Harris, Craig. (2002-03-15). "Fire Emblem Hits Japan Airwaves". IGN. Retrieved 2014-03-25
- Reggy, Genei Ibun Roku #FE Debuts with Poor Sales in Japan with 23k Copies Sold, Persona Central, Published: December 30th, 2015, Retrieved: March 5th, 2016
- Nintendo Direct (Nintendo of America), December 5th 2012
- Nintendo Direct (Nintendo Europe), February 14th 2012
- Iwata Asks : Fire Emblem Awakening : Syncing with "Awakening"