Fire Emblem Warriors devs on characters and handling of reveals, designs, story, systems, modes
Posted on October 21, 2017 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in New Nintendo 3DS, News, Switch
System I – The fright of weapon triangle and effective damage
ND: We’re talking about systems, but we spent a lot of time thinking on the order screen because the weapon triangle is well made.
Hayashi: The weapon triangle is well done because Usuda was fussed on the point of “Although it’s a Warriors game, I want people to feel the Fire Emblem likeliness.”
Usuda: I’m the type of person who forms strategies to play, so I wanted it to have deep replay value right there.
ND: There were places where you had to think hard on choosing characters to sortie, so it does indeed feel like strategy simulation. However, what really can’t be helped is that we had to think hard because there are too many sword characters as allies (laughs).
Usuda: We’ve also already prepared for the worst there, and since there are few characters who use lances and axes, we’ve made gameplay in which [players] must manage to order them around. We’ve also thought of enemy placement in the story prologue due to the lack of weapon variety.
ND: Although there are few lances and axes, you didn’t include magic tomes and bows in the weapon triangle.
Usuda: Yes. We removed those two to bring more breadth. In the weapon triangle the gameplay would end up just becoming to pick an advantageous type and hit them with Finishing Blows, so by including bows and magic tomes we’ve created a position where you don’t have to think or care about the weapon triangle. But actually those are weapon types aimed for veterans.
ND: If they’re not related to the weapon triangle, we heard it should’ve been in a position with a broad opening. But are they aimed for veterans?
Usuda: Yeah. If they fight normally, they’re balanced with other classes and won’t have advantages. But bows and magic tomes can have the golden stun gauge – which shows up on an advantage in weapon triangle – on anyone. However, they have big peculiarity, for example the bow must charge the shot for a very long time, and the magic tome also has a separate magic gauge and [players] must unleash the move when it’s maxed out. So they’re aimed at veterans.
ND: We only had the thought that the bow has its merits on flying opponents, and the magic tome is strong against those with low resistance.
Usuda: That’s okay for the basics. But we didn’t include them in the weapon triangle because we want to add a bit more depth to such action features.
ND: By the way, do you have any motifs for the way the bow has to charge for its attacks?
Usuda: It’s not really a motif, but it’s because when we want to make a long-ranged battle rather than short-ranged one in a Warriors game. The bow in Fire Emblem has a long-range attack and it cannot attack adjacent enemies, right? That’s why if you have to charge the bow for so long you can’t shoot if you’re not far away from the enemy, so this idea was born when we wanted to present a long-ranged battle.
ND: I see. And please let us say this. Isn’t effective damage too strong!?
Usuda: Yes! Effective damage is too strong!
Usuda: From the beginning of development we already made a concept with the people in charge of action to make [units] ‘die with 3 hits from effective damage’. We also sometimes got told ‘3 hits in an action game ought to be weird,’ but we pushed through this line to the very end.
ND: If you have effective advantage on your opponent you’d be very glad, and if it’s the contrary you’d be very afraid instead.
Usuda: There is also [the factor of] losing characters, and we need [players] to feel the same [fear] of death like in Fire Emblem (laughs). I do think having both ally and enemy characters die in such speed would be some improper balancing in an action game, but in the end I think effective damage needs to be such a thing. But we still can’t make them one-hit-kills like in Fire Emblem though (laughs).
System II – Awakening and Class Change
ND: The Awakening system is also important, isn’t it?
Usuda: Awakening is a system familiar to Warriors series until now, but this time it has a characteristic exclusive to this game.
ND: Tangibly speaking, you’d fill up the Awakening gauge, and you can optionally unleash it anytime to make the character stronger temporarily.
Usuda: Yes. However, if you perform Awakening in this game, there is a rule where you’ll always get a weapon triangle advantage without any requirements.
ND: And why did you do that?
Usuda: We included that because we think it should be used as a solution if you only see weapon triangle disadvantages everywhere. However, it was hectic to balance the rate speed of the Awakening gauge filling up. When we tried using Awakening, it was too powerful (laughs).
ND: To be honest, there are also stages where you can’t even fight [properly] if there was no Awakening.
Usuda: It’s because in the battle design we also created a map with the premise of having to use Awakening once. When you move to the latter half of the scenario, the usage of Awakening will become especially important.
ND: And you do have Class Change after all.
Usuda: Class Change is a feature that cannot be omitted when you’re constructing a Fire Emblem.
Hayashi: We were in the talks of adding a lot of playable characters, so having to create the same amount of promoted class models would make us choke ourselves.
Matsunaga: Because the workload would almost double. But we did plan to understand enough the joy of looking the appearance change on promotions, so we did our best in creating them.
Usuda: Especially Frederick appeared as Great Knight from the beginning; it’s already a promoted class, so there’s nothing else above it. For such things that didn’t exist in the [original] setting, we had to another promoted class for them, so this was fun.
Hayashi: But we struggled with Marth. In Shadow Dragon he looked very swift, but his promoted class looks rather clunky, so it was hectic for us to promote Marth [in Fire Emblem Warriors] while keeping his image intact. For quite a while, he looked like an anime robot (laughs).
Matsunaga: There are quite some occasions where if we simply packed them up, they would end up look like different people. In the end, rather than simply making it in modern style, we’d take the characteristics of the original design, while seeing how far we can pull the spare line from the packed design, which was important.
Hayashi: Class Change in Fire Emblem is not just about having the looks change a little, but we must also make them look much stronger. We searched for designs that make people think “The silhouettes change and they look much stronger!”
Matsunaga: I couldn’t really think about how to subtract the design. Because I can’t help but worry that users won’t be satisfied with the Class Change.
ND: Once you’re able to Class Change, is it okay to do it immediately?
Usuda: We’ve made it so that there is no penalty regardless of when you change classes. On the contrary, the gameplay is that we want you to think hard on who are you going to use the Master Seal on.
ND: The parameter stat raises are so big, so they feel good indeed!
Usuda: We want the joy of getting stronger with Class Change, so we balanced that part until the end phase [of development]. Even so, our testers had been suggesting, “Wouldn’t it be okay if there’s no Class Change either?” until then. That’s just not good (laughs).
Hayashi: There were also occasions where the testers wrote “This game has no Class Changes so it’s no good.” No no, we are going to include them! (laughs)
Usuda: At that time the assertion to do Class Changes was very weak, and they were in a condition where they even forgot they’re having Master Seals. It was in a state of balance where they still could rather progress even without Class Changing, so people who had Master Seals but didn’t use them had the impression of “There was no Class Change.”
Hayashi: We’ve done our utmost in creating the promoted classes, but please just don’t beat the game without experiencing them (laughs).
Usuda: As a result, we made it so that Class Change will make [characters] much stronger.
History Mode is also full of extras!
ND: So how about the History Mode, which is the mode with replay value?
Hayashi: There are two reasons why we implemented it here. First of all, the replay value in Hyrule Warriors that used pixel art [read: Adventure Mode] was very highly favored by our players. So, since Fire Emblem also had pixel characters, we decided to use them for replay value here.
Another reason is that while we were creating the story, we couldn’t include all famous scenes and the related quotes to the main story. You could also say there were no places to use them in the story. We’ve worked hard to fully voice everything, so we want users to hear these [quotes], and we want to reproduce those scenes, which comprises the second reason.
Usuda: With such collaborations like this, there will be definitely desires of wanting to see reproductions of the original games. That’s why in order to do that we created History Mode, and we’d like to put everything in there.
ND: You’re also using scenes from each game for the map where you move the pixel characters.
Usuda: Fire Emblem Awakening would have the Premonition stage map where you fought Validar.
ND: How did you get to decide on that map?
Usuda: We selected it when we were deciding what we should have as a gift to fans. For example in the Awakening map where Validar appears, if this is cleared then the reward will be the female Reflet/Robin, so a story revolving around Reflet/Robin would be good. In that case, we would think of… the place in Awakening that left the most impression.
ND: Lyn is also a character who is obtained from History Mode.
Hayashi: Yes. She will not appear in the Story Mode, but you can obtain her here.
Usuda: For Lyn’s map too, we’ve thought and chose which stage is good for a scenario where she joins the party, so please kindly look forward to that.
ND: So please tell us the highlights of History Mode.
Usuda: In [titles] like Shadow Dragon or Blazing Blade, although you shouldn’t expect certain quotes to appear, we want you to get immersed in nostalgia. Awakening and Fates are new titles so it may not seem so to those, but the quotes are fully voiced so there is another way of enjoying them.
ND: The Coliseum is also a feature that can be enjoyed in History Mode.
Usuda: Yes. It’s one of the numerous battles there, and it also feels like an extra, but by challenging the stage multiple times, you’d progress until the part where you still could feel winning and then choose to call it quits, so we’ve implemented it to feel a bit like in the original game. And we’ve also prepared some post-clear extras on each history map in History Mode. You can listen to famous or expected quotes, so you can enjoy those too. This time in the Story Mode only characters from three titles will show up, but just for the conversations we’re also filling them up with things from outside those series. We’ve also made them to be playable in a long term, so we hope you can still thoroughly play the game even after beating Story Mode.
Massive thanks to BlackKite for helping with this translation!
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