Fire Emblem Warriors devs on the game’s reception, first DLC characters, Armor Strike, more
Posted on March 3, 2018 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in New Nintendo 3DS, News, Switch
Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream started interviewing the Fire Emblem Warriors developers following the release of the game’s DLC packs. For the first discussion, producer Yosuke Hayashi and director Hiroya Usuda were brought in. The two discussed how the game was received, the additions of Azura, Niles, and Oboro, how the inclusion of the Armor Strike system came to be, and more.
You can read our full translation of the interview below. Stay tuned, as we’ll have the next interview focusing on the Shadow Dragon DLC Pack soon.
User requests applied in numerous updates
ND: The two of you had appeared multiple times in this magazine, but this marks the first post-release interview. How are the impressions for Fire Emblem Warriors after release?
Hayashi: We’re really glad it has been received well. I’m relieved (laughs).
Usuda: It feels delightful indeed that we got told it’s ‘interesting’.
Hayashi: We’re glad that everyone who actually played the game has been able to enjoy features exclusive to Fire Emblem. We were always making the appeal of inserting Fire Emblem’s strategic elements into Warriors, but there were also points that couldn’t be conveyed well with just pre-release information… so we reflected on that.
Usuda: I was confident that “Fire Emblem’s strategy features definitely fit with Warriors’ tactical action system!”, but I was always troubled on how to convey that. When we had a playable demo at the Tokyo Game Show, I thought just a 15-minute gameplay session wouldn’t be enough.
Hayashi: I think there were also difficult parts in having players understanding all systems including the Weapon Triangle with the [demo] gameplay.
ND: This interview will be focused on the first DLC pack if/Fates, but you have also produced free update patches a number of times after release.
Usuda: In the update patch for Ver.1.2.0, we added Hero Colosseum to History Mode, where you can easily farm materials; for example, there’s a map where only Manaketes show up. In the update patch released with the DLC (1.3.0), we also did things like allowing to heal base captains from the order screen, and reviewing the evaluation basis for S rank in the New 3DS version.
ND: You also released an English voice pack as DLC, but were there any requests for this?
Usuda: It originally came from overseas where we had requests like “We want to listen to Japanese voices”.
Hayashi: The Japanese version was released earlier, so we released each voice pack as the game was released overseas. We also had a problem with storage with Switch and New 3DS, so we released them not as an update but as DLC.
ND: I see. So you’re adding many kinds of features.
Usuda: I’ve always wanted to apply requests from users through update patches. I personally also think that half of them should be applied for creating DLC.
ND: In the interview in the guide book, you also said “We’ll do what we can to apply requests that have been received by the development team.” Nowadays you can directly receive opinions from the likes of Twitter, but is there any basis on selecting which ones to adopt or reject?
Hayashi: We didn’t really have moments where we had split opinions on whether to include them or not. These [all] need to be included!
Usuda: Our decision basis is on whether to omit things that are difficult technology-wise or period-wise.
ND: We think there were a lot of requests regarding appearing characters and titles, but are there any other requests you received a lot?
Hayashi: We received a [fan request] to make a mainline game with the Fire Emblem Warriors system. For example, “I want to play the whole story of Genealogy of the Holy War from the beginning to end with the Warriors system!”
Usuda: If we were to start making that, it wouldn’t even become Fire Emblem Warriors 2 though (laughs).
Hayashi: However, being told that much exceeded our expectations, so they must have really taken a liking to Fire Emblem Warriors.
Usuda: I’ve been having a feeling ever since releasing DLC for the Wii U version of Hyrule Warriors –where I worked as director– but being able to apply user opinions in console games post-release like this is a pleasant thing to me. If you have any requests right now, please kindly visit our official Twitter account!
How to reproduce the Dancer Aqua / Azura in Warriors?
ND: Well then, let’s hear about the content in the if/Fates Pack. We think one of the main highlights here is the brand-new character Aqua/Azura, but it wouldn’t have been a strange thing if this character appeared in the main story.
Hayashi: She’s a core character in if/Fates, we can visualize her looks, her class is special, and we did want to include her. But no matter what she was omitted from the initial lineup, so we made a request to Nintendo from the early development phases to “let us do Aqua/Azura as DLC.” In the phase where we decided the playable character lineup, she stuck there until the very end though.
ND: Why was she omitted from the lineup?
Usuda: The big factor was that because we already had a lot of Fates characters confirmed to appear.
Hayashi: We could’ve even make the two younger sisters (Sakura and Elise) as DLC…
Usuda: In the end, rather than recklessly putting her in, we decided to properly make her (Aqua/Azura) as DLC.
ND: Actually, Aqua/Azura does have a very unique trait when compared to other characters indeed.
Usuda: Dancer and Songstress have a trait of “enabling an ally to move again” and we needed to properly make that. On how to present that in an action game, we made it so that it recovers ally Musou and Awakening gauges, allowing them to use Musou/Warrior Special and Awakening Mode again.
ND: It sounds very useful!
Usuda: When people hear “Just using the Strong 1 attack will recover everyone’s Awakening gauges,” they might think “Is that alright [balance-wise]!?” (laughs). That’s why we’re balancing it with things like the recovery amount.
Are DLC characters strong after all!?
ND: Did you really set DLC characters to be a bit stronger after all?
Usuda: Of course they’re not breaking the game balance, but we do consider that. The new skills are also powerful; we even had to continue adjusting Zero/Niles’ Lethality until the very end. Oboro’s Counter is also very useful since it can trigger enemy’s stun gauge just by guarding.
ND: I see. So you can strengthen your army further with various ways. You’re also finally able to use non-Pegasus Knight lance characters which have been long anticipated.
Hayashi: We also received opinions from all our users after release. When we were actually playing it we also often thought “We want lance footsoldiers!” So we’re glad to be able to release this if/Fates pack at an early phase.
ND: Until now the only usable lance characters were Pegasus Knights, so there was an impression that it was strategically unbalanced.
Hayashi: At the point where we first decided the character lineup, we had a concern of “What to do if there are no lances other than Pegasus Knights.” However, if we look at the whole lineup instead of each character one by one…
Usuda: For example, if we put in Oboro instead of Tiamo/Cordelia, I felt like something would be off. There were a lot of reasons like “What would happen to Zero/Niles?” “Are we going to add even more characters from if/Fates?” or “Did we really give up on Aqua/Azura?”
Hayashi: As the development progressed on, the Weapon Triangle also turned out to be a system that’s even more important than what we assumed before. Although it was very difficult… Even if we were to run a check on the character lineup one more time, I think we would have ended up with the same judgement.
ND: Even though Aqua/Azura and Oboro are both lance footsoldiers, their abilities and moves are totally different, aren’t they?
Usuda: Yes. We referred to the original if/Fates game for the actions, so that’s where we reproduced Aqua/Azura’s dancing and singing movements. The song is the big point; there were places where we used Renka’s song, and some other places also have Lynn’s humming voices.
ND: Aqua/Azura’s song is perfectly reproduced in her Musou/Warrior Special, but you can watch both versions of Byakuya/Hoshido and Anya/Nohr.
Usuda: While we do have costumes from both Byakuya/Hoshido and Anya/Nohr, the staff in charge of action hoped that no matter which costume you pick, her Musou/Warrior Special should let you see both costume versions interchangeably.
Oboro and Zero / Niles’ intense traits
ND: Oboro and Zero/Niles showed up as NPCs from the beginning, but how did you get these two to appear?
Hayashi: The deciding factors were that they are popular non-royal characters and that they have strong traits.
Usuda: They appeared as NPCs in the base game, so there’s no way we wouldn’t make them into playable characters! We also wanted to listen to their support conversations.
ND: What kind of pairings did you have this time?
Usuda: In ‘Zero/Niles and Frederick,’ the reaction of the straight-laced Frederick is worth seeing. In ‘Zero/Niles and Leon/Leo,’ you can see Zero/Niles’ deep loyalty towards Leon/Leo. ‘Oboro and Tiamo/Cordelia’ turns out to be a good girls talk, and I personally like ‘Oboro and Leon/Leo’ where Oboro sees how ‘Leon/Leo could wear his clothes reversed’ with her own viewpoint. By the way, we’ve also prepared support conversations for Aqua/Azura with both Ryoma and Marks/Xander, so I hope you can see what kind of conversations they have between a younger sister and an elder brother.
ND: In the base game they only had one-sentenced conversations, but if you listen to more of their quotes there’s a different appeal coming out from them.
Usuda: Oboro also shows her Demon Face in support conversations, but her voice tone also changes with that face. So in the script we also placed [Demon] on such parts (laughs)
ND: So other than the various emotions of joy, anger, sadness, and humor, there is even one for the demon (laughs). Oboro also had a big change with her moves compared to when she was an NPC.
Usuda: She had almost no exclusive actions when she was an NPC, so this time we included basic lance footsoldier actions for her, which are different from Aqua/Azura.
ND: Zero/Niles has his speech and conduct as his appeal after all, but are there any points you’re taking notes of when putting him on the story?
Usuda: His quotes have a lot of suggestive references, but we took specific care so that they don’t sound plainly vulgar. We aimed for him to be a cool and sexy character when seen by both female and male [players].
They wanted to put in the Armor Strike system from the beginning
ND: While this particular system was added through uploading [an update patch], we would like to ask about Armor Strike (laughs). In past interviews we have had heated talks about character modeling, but wouldn’t it be a waste to have the hard-created models be stripped away with Armor Strike…?
Usuda: No, no! We also designed the Broken Armor models from scratch. We considered everything when creating them, from their original looks to their under-armors.
ND: That means you would have double the work on creating them.
Usuda: In this DLC there are some characters who have new costumes added, but each of the new costumes also have their own Broken Armor. As a director I thought it would be fine if everyone had the same looks after Armor Strike, but the CG staff also had the opinion of “Design-wise, if they were all the same it would look weird after all!”
Hayashi: All of the staff were very enthusiastic in making them (laughs).
ND: So everybody is putting so much effort in creating them (laughs). How were the details on the Armor Strike system getting added in the first place?
Hayashi: This system existed in the original if/Fates game, and in the development workplace, people wanted to put this in from the beginning. However, someone also said “We shouldn’t have someone’s armor broken until the story’s ending.”
ND: Indeed, there may be a slight mismatch if that were to happen during the story.
Hayashi: While the idea came from if/Fates, Fire Emblem Heroes which came out during this game’s development also has damaged illustrations, and that’s what made it exciting. Then we should also include these as DLC. If it weren’t for the fact that it is received by people in Fire Emblem Heroes, it wouldn’t have been realized here either. We decided on the specs in real-time to match with the various expansions of the whole Fire Emblem series.
ND: Strategy-wise, it would be very useful if you Armor Strike strong enemies.
Usuda: While there are some merits it also has huge demerits, as we wanted to put in a rather niche adjustment aimed for veterans.
ND: If we take a look at them again, in addition to the new systems and new characters, you also added History Maps for 3 characters in History Mode, so this DLC really has a lot of content indeed.
Usuda: Volume-wise, we ought to put in about the same amount as Hyrule Warriors’ DLC. Rather than putting all three characters in a map, having separate episodes for each of them would be better for drawing their traits and appeals.
ND: The additional item Bond Charm also looks so useful.
Usuda: In one battle there is a limit on how far bonds can increase, but the Bond Charm removes that limit so it’s very powerful. While we do think that it might make raising bonds a bit too easy… we admit that it would take a really long path to complete all support conversations.
Messages toward the DLC release
ND: And finally please leave a message regarding this DLC, as well as the content in the second batch and beyond.
Hayashi: Thankfully [this game] has been received well, and I think we could answer character-related requests with the DLC. Although we have already decided on the future appearing characters, this lineup should live up to everyone’s expectations, so please kindly look forward to them. Our topic for future DLC is to add new features and broaden the gameplay breadth, so look forward to them!
Usuda: By adding various kinds of features, characters, and skills, the strategy breadth has also broadened, so please kindly buy them and try out many kinds of strategies. We are going to add as many things as we can in update patches, so please kindly send your requests to us.
Massive thanks to BlackKite for helping with this translation!
Thanks for making it to the end of this post! If you use any of this translation, please be sure to source Nintendo Everything. Do not copy its full contents.