Fire Emblem Echoes devs – realistic proportions will carry over into the Switch game, why Alm is left-handed, more
The July 2017 issue of Nintendo Dream had a massive interview about Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia. Producer Hitoshi Yamagami (Nintendo), director Kenta Nakanishi (Nintendo), director Toshiyuki Kusakihara (Intelligent Systems), and producer Masahiro Higuchi (Intelligent Systems) participated in the discussion.
Among the topics discussed were the use of realistic proportions (which will be carried over into the upcoming Switch title), why Alm is left-handed, and a whole lot more. We’ve picked out some of the notable excerpts below. You can read the full interview on Kantopia.
On how the game came to be…
Yamagami: Based on the results I achieved, I’m able to reprise my role for the next work too. We thought the previous entry would be the last one on the 3DS, but then early summer two years ago, there were some ramblings around the office. Things like, “There is still something left to do” and “We can make a remake in a short time!” Even though we had to start thinking about the new game for the Nintendo Switch, we had until September, so I gave the go ahead. But, in the end, development had to be delayed by half a year. There were various projects going on at the time, so this was done to give more time to oversee them before release. I was happy the decision paid off, and was once again like “Phew! That’s great.”
Higuchi: The delay came about partially due to Mr. Yamagami’s request to include both simplified and traditional Chinese characters in hopes of reaching a broader audience. Despite implementing those, we still made it with the original Gaiden’s “90s feeling” in mind, and looked forward to its release.
Yamagami: Many decisions were made, and some good things came about as a result. There are many things that did not make it in the end either. I know Mr. Kusakihara also knows the pain of making things that get cut from the final product, but we are content if we can deliver things that make fans happy, leading to that sense of “Phew! That’s great” once again.
On what Yamagami thought was left out from Fates…
Yamagami: Basically, if you repeatedly make games for the same hardware, methodologies and technology progress and you are able to do things that you weren’t able to before. So, things we had to abandon for Awakening were able to make it into Fates. So, as technology advanced during Fates‘ development, there were things we wanted to implement but couldn’t fit by the time we got near the last stages of making the game. As such, it came down to “There’s still something we want to make.”
Kusakihara: Things like dungeons. You could walk around “My Castle” in Fates in full 3D, for instance, but it was very rough and difficult to implement at the time. Things like that eventually led to being able to walk around the dungeons in this game.
On how the whole world was made into 3D…
Nakanishi: Yes. You could actually walk around that whole world in a style true to an RPG. However, if the areas were too large, it becomes troublesome, as players may hopelessly wander around in wonder. So we purposefully made dungeons rather straightforward.
On realistic proportions…
Kusakihara: Other than that, we were able to make character proportions look slightly more natural this time around, thanks to the Motion Design crew. With the experience and “know-how” gained from Awakening and Fates, we attempted to make [the people] in both this game and the next one on Switch closer to realistic proportions and movements.
On Mila’s Turnwheel…
Kusakihara: We thought Mila’s Turnwheel would add a fun new dimension to the strategy aspect. In Fates, there was Phoenix Mode, where you could proceed without any worry. However, that meant when someone made a blunder, they would not have time to reflect on how to improve upon that mistake. Using Mila’s Turnwheel, you can adjust your tactics to find a solution for a situation through trial and error, allowing you to enjoy strategy in a way not possible before.
Nakanishi: It’s sort of like a simplified version of resetting and trying again. After all, when you lose a unit and reset, you have to do it all again from the start. But with this method, you can trace the mistake step by step.
On why Alm is left-handed…
Kusakihara: There are various reasons. One reason is that there were little variations in poses characters could have. That’s when we got a proposal from the motion team that we can make plenty of new poses and patterns if the character was simply left handed. Another reason was to make Alm better resemble a hero with the strength to overcome any enemy. Alexander the Great was said to be left handed, so we wanted an image along those lines.
Nakanishi: Alm being left-handed also helped give better contrast to Celica’s brand, so it worked out nicely.
Kusakihara: Well yes there was that benefit too.