Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム Echoes もうひとりの英雄王 Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King) is a turn-based strategy role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS system. It is a remake of the NES title Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the Fire Emblem series.
As a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia recounts the general story of Gaiden. The remake expands the script and roles of characters significantly.
Like the original, it is set in Valentia in the centuries after the clash between the sibling gods, Mila and Duma. After swearing to go their separate ways, the gods created their own kingdoms: Duma's harsh and militaristic nation of Rigel in the north, and Mila's hedonistic kingdom of Zofia in the south. The game follows Alm and Celica, a pair of childhood friends, as they conduct separate campaigns during a time of crisis in Valentia.
While the game's engine is based off those of Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates, Shadows of Valentia is a departure from the gameplay of both games. Specific new mechanics are: free-roaming world map, dungeons, and flexible character progression though multiple class change options.
The magic stat is completely absent; in the original Gaiden, Magic was just a separate label for Strength, and was used for both physical and magical damage. Other new features include the world map now featuring the passage of time, represented as a date. This is similar to the original Gaiden's world map having a turn count. The new Mila's Turnwheel artifact allows players to undo mistakes by rewinding their actions. Units can also learn abilities from their equipped weapons by using that weapon often. The game also has amiibo compatibility similar to Fire Emblem Fates, though the allies summoned from amiibo in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia are not permanent members of the party and vanish after one turn.
The entire playable cast of Gaiden returns for the remake. Like Shadow Dragon some new playable characters have been added to the roster. The two new characters, Faye and Conrad, bring the total playable roster to 34 characters in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
A selection of new antagonists were also introduced to the game. Most bosses from the original game reprise their roles. One boss from the original game, Shizas, was entirely replaced by Berkut in Act 4, however.
Overall, the remake opts to greatly expand on existing characters, ally and enemy alike, instead of adding new ones. Many characters received new unique designs and more dialogue. In the original Gaiden several characters shared portraits and many bosses lacked dialogue entirely.
|New playable characters|
|The Creation||Fell Dragon||Act 6|
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia introduces an additional prologue and a postgame chapter to the original game's five chapters. Chapters in Shadows of Valentia are instead known as "Acts", presumably to differentiate them from more traditionally-structured chapters in other Fire Emblem games.
Support and Base Conversations
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia introduces both base and support conversations to the game, neither of which existed in Gaiden. These conversations expand on the existing cast. Additionally, Memory Prisms, when combined with Mila's Turnwheel, provide further character interactions, though these take place in the past rather than the present.
The game was pitched and began development in 2015 with an intended development time of one year and a release goal of September 2016. They decided to develop the game with the intent of having something to release in the interim until they could begin developing Fire Emblem: Three Houses; at the time it had been too early to begin developing a Fire Emblem series title on the Nintendo Switch. As is now evident, this goal was not met and the game was released worldwide in early 2017, overshooting their September 2016 goal by about five months.
The Echoes title was devised out of the developer's desire to avoid using the word "Gaiden" as to not confuse players with the numerous other entries now comprising the series. Echoes was also something that could be used in both Japanese and worldwide markets and is meant to evoke the idea of "older games could now “echo” to the modern players". Other pitched ideas were the use of a "Re:" prefix, or simply using a capital G.
Due to Genki Yokota, the director of Awakening and Fates, being busy Kenta Nakanishi became the director. His story about how he played Fire Emblem Gaiden with his late father is brought up in an interview to express his deep emotional attachment to the original game.
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was revealed in the Fire Emblem Direct alongside Fire Emblem Heroes on the 18th of January 2017 at 2PM PT/5PM ET. During the direct gameplay footage, animated cutscenes, and character artwork of Alm and Celica were shown. It received coverage in Nintendo's various social media outlets as well as Japanese magazines to release.
On April 3, 2017 the Japanese version of Echoes: Shadows of Valentia leaked on the internet, roughly seventeen days before its official Japanese release.
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At Japanese release it sold through 80% of its initial shipment, selling about 132,000 copies; this is a similar number to the previous remake released in Japan. By the end of 2017 Shadows of Valentia sold a total of 199,701 copies in Japan.
No concrete numbers have been given for the game's sales outside of Japan, though Nintendo commented on it as "a popular title" in their quarterly earnings release in 2017.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia holds scores of 83.34% and 81 on GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively. Common criticisms of Shadows of Valentia were it being too hard, and lacking elements from other games. The Mila's Turnwheel feature was praised.
When the Japanese version of the game leaked shortly before the game's official release a simple menu translation was released on April 3, 2017 by SciresM. It translates the menus, character, class, and item names, as well as some descriptions. The project was never planned to become a full translation and was only made for English speaking fans to play the game early more easily.
- Echoes: Shadows of Valentia had the shortest wait between Japanese and international release of a mainline Fire Emblem series title yet, with English-speaking fans having to wait a mere 29 days after the Japanese release. The most quickly localized game previously was Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, whose first international version to be released, the PAL localization, was released five months after the Japanese version.
- For April Fools' 2017, a new game called "Fire Emblem: Battle of Revolution" (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 維新大乱) was announced, for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS. It prominently features Valbar, Kamui, and Leon. It takes place in the Edo period of Japan. Some text on the website is in traditional vertical writing, and all character and location names were written in kanji with the katakana names as furigana. DLC featuring Marth in was also announced for "Battle of Revolution". There would also be scrolls as a limited bonus. It was stated to be released on April 20, 2017, the same date as Shadows of Valentia.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||Valentia is the name of the continent the game is set on. An echo is a repeated sound, possibly referring to its remake status.|
|Japanese||ファイアーエムブレム Echoes もうひとりの英雄王|| Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
The term "Hero-King" is used to refer to Marth in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem's secret ending timeline, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, and Fire Emblem Awakening; the title appears to be drawing parallels between Alm and Marth.
|Spanish||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|French||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|German||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Italian||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Dutch||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Korean||파이어 엠블렘 Echoes 또 하나의 영웅왕||Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
|Chinese||Fire Emblem Echoes 另一位英雄王||Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
- "In 1992, the second game in the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem Gaiden, launched exclusively in Japan. Now, for the first time, fans outside of Japan will get a taste of this classic game on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is inspired by the 1992 original, reimagined on a grander scale." — Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, nintendo.com(webpage), Published: January 18th 2017, Retrieved: January 19th 2017
- "Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia recreates classic Fire Emblem gameplay with a modern twist, mixing in exploration of dungeons crawling with enemies." — Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, nintendo.com(webpage), Published: January 18th 2017, Retrieved: January 19th 2017
- "Every aspect of the Fire Emblem Gaiden game's presentation has been updated, along with the game being fully voiced." — Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, nintendo.com(webpage), Published: January 18th 2017, Retrieved: January 19th 2017
- "Mr. Hitoshi Yamagami (from now on: Yamagami): After the completion of Fire Emblem: Fates (from now on, just Fates)’s development, I started thinking of a game for the Nintendo Switch. However, it was still too early to begin development of titles for that system. While thinking of what to do, several people from Intelligent Systems approached me saying: “There are many things we could not do in Fates [that we wish we could have]. We wish to implement them in a remake for Gaiden.” Gaiden had not been featured much up until now, and I figured if we got started on development at that time, we would be able to release the game before the new Nintendo Switch would come out. So, we began development.
Q: To be more specific, around when are we talking?
Mr. Masahiro Higuchi: This is back in 2015.
Yamagami: Back then, we thought: “Okay, let’s do this in a year and release it September 2016.”" — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Nakanishi: Well, when Gaiden came out, it was just Dark Dragon and the Blade of Light before it. Fast forward over ten releases later to modern day, and it can be confusing which Fire Emblem’s ”gaiden” this is! We wanted to emphasize its status as a spin off without using the word “gaiden”, so started to think hard about it…
Translator’s Note: Gaiden is a Japanese word that basically means “side story.” It is the word for “sidequests” in Blazing Blade and other FE games for instance. So you can see why this may cause confusion for the Japanese players.
Kusakihara: A lot of the recent Fire Emblem games all have extra maps called “gaiden chapters,” so we feared players being left very confused. So Mr. Nakanishi specifically told us to avoid calling it New Gaiden.
Yamagami: Avoiding calling it New Gaiden is something we had in mind from the start of development. At the same time, we wanted a title that the rest of the world would also use, so wanted to settle on an English word. Somewhere in that conversation, the word “echoes” surfaced. We imagined it was fitting as older games could now “echo” to the modern players. We were very pleased with the choice, and, if there were to be more remakes in the future, we figured we could use the Echoes title again." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Nakanishi: Well we wanted something that keeps the feeling of a “remake.” So one idea was attaching “Re:” to the title. It was pretty popular with the development team, but the foreign branches suggested “再度(saido)*” instead, and so it was out of the final short list.
TN: Lit: “Once again/2nd time”
Higuchi: There was also an idea to simply use a capitalized “G” (for Gaiden) as the title and leave it at that, but that idea didn’t get very far." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Mr. Toshiyuki Kusakihara (from now on, Kusakihara): For one, adding dungeons and allowing the character to roam around freely. In Fates, you can move around “My Castle” and see it over your shoulder view, but, the truth is by then we had already developed a fully functioning roaming function. However, it was not up to the standards we wanted, and so Fates was left with just being able to observe your surroundings [rather than move around in it]. Gaiden meanwhile was already built with free movement in mind, so we figured it was a perfect fit." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Yamagami: Once we decided upon Gaiden, we invited the director for Fates, Mr. Yokota*, to reprise his role for this game. However, he was caught up in another project at the time and so we were left with an opening. It was during that difficult time that Nakanishi came forward saying, “Hey, you know, I really like Gaiden. Let me tell you what that game means to me…” and then he went on to talk about his father…
*Genki Yokota, part of Nintendo. Director of Awakening and Fates. Outside of Fire Emblem, he directed Xenoblade.
Mr. Kenta Nakanishi (from now on, Nakanishi): Wait. Wait. You want me to recite that, Mr. Yamagami?
Yamagami: I’m sure you were just waiting to talk about it! You had that look on your face. (Laughs)
Nakanishi: My father died when I was really young. I remember, though, that he loved Fire Emblem. He is the one who got me interested in playing the series, and taught me how to play. When my father passed away, the latest game in the series was Mystery of the Emblem. I included a copy of it as part of other memorabilia with his coffin. After that, when sorting through the things he left behind, I came across his copy of Dark Dragon and the Blade of Light, as well as Gaiden. Needless to say, I reminisced about the times with my deceased father as I played through them. As such, I have an incredibly strong emotional attachment to these two games." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- ファイアーエムブレム 維新大乱 | 任天堂, Wayback Machine (archived from Nintendo.co.jp on 31 March), Retrieved: 2 April 2017
- Fire Emblem™ Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for Nintendo 3DS – Official Site official US English website
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for Nintendo 3DS - Nintendo Game Details official US English product page
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|Nintendo 3DS|Games|Nintendo official UK English website
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King official Japanese website
|Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|