Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes devs on monsters, Expeditions, base camp, character inclusions, more
Posted on November 5, 2022 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in News, Switch
A second Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes developer interview was published in a recent issue of Japanese magazine Nintendo Dream. This follows a previous discussion that came out around the game’s release and we translated it here.
As for the latest interview, we again get to hear from development producer Hideo Suzuki, producer Yosuke Hayashi, and director Hayato Iwata. The three of them addressed a bunch of different topics, including monsters, the Expedition system, base camp, more talk about characters that were included, and more.
You can read our full translation below.
The adjutants’ participation in action & dialogue
As for the “adjutant” system where you can make characters act together, I got the impression that adding an adjutant makes the character quite strong.
Iwata: Since the adjutants are part of the action in the adjutant role already, we wanted to have them participate in a way fitting of an action game. We also wanted to reflect the relationships and bonds between the characters in battle, not just conversation. The pre-existing adjutant system served as a good base to bring that into reality. We didn’t want the adjutants to just be supporters; we wanted to give them effects that have a real sense of presence, which is how we got to this point. Though the main unit’s abilities are strengthened according to the support level between the main unit and the adjutant, this is more than their stats going up. We designed it so you could really feel how the adjutant is supporting the main unit through the visuals.
It was really powerful and exhilarating to use a special attack with an adjutant.
Iwata: The dialogue when the main unit and adjutant change places during the special attack sometimes changes depending on their relationship. That’s one of the elements we put in for the fans to enjoy, so feel free to try all kinds of different combinations.
Suzuki: There was a similar system called Pair Up in the previous FE Warriors, but we felt that one of the highlights of the characters in FE is the interactions between them in the support conversations, so we wanted to put similar interactions in the battle itself. I’m proud of the work we did on showing the interactions between the characters and adjutants during special attacks as an extension of support conversations.
Individualized additions to each class
In the original FE, each weapon type has its own attack range and pros and cons, such as a bow not being able to attack units adjacent to it. How did you approach differentiating the different weapons and classes in action?
Iwata: Needless to say, we differentiated the classes with their abilities such as the attack range you mentioned, as well as visual differences, like their movements. We also added Class Actions, which are class-specific special moves that can be triggered with the X button, so players can feel the difference in how it feels to play each class. For example, the Class Action for Archers is that you can aim while holding down the X button and attack from a long distance. Armored Knights can protect their allies by creating an area around them where damage to allies is cut, and Cavaliers can use the momentum from their horse to attack while moving. We designed the distinctions between classes by creating Class Actions that let you experience the special traits of each class.
I see. Regardless, it’s possible to take an Archer or a Mage into the front lines and take down enemies one by one. I enjoyed being able to mow down the enemy with any class without having to worry about it much.
Iwata: That’s what makes it a Warriors game. (laughs) We made distinctions between the classes, but to make it enjoyable as an action game, we didn’t want to make it especially difficult to fight with a particular class or take away the exhilaration. We leaned heavily toward adding positives to the classes to distinguish them as opposed to adding drawbacks.
The idea to add monsters came from a member of the original staff?
Just as in the original FE: Three Houses, there are giant enemies called monsters in this game. What made you decide to implement monsters?
Hayashi: The truth is, at first we didn’t plan to add monsters, because we agreed it would be difficult to put monsters into a Warriors title. That was when someone at our company who worked on Three Houses had a talk with us…
Suzuki: They said, “if it’s in the setting of Three Houses, it can’t not have monsters!” (laughs) We reconsidered and decided that we had made a judgment error if that was what an original staff member thought, so we decided to implement monsters after all.
Hayashi: The gameplay in Three Houses consisted of everyone attacking one giant monster at once and whittling down its HP. To apply that to a Warriors game, we decided to make it so that allies who are fighting in various parts of the battlefield will gather in one place and cooperate to take down the monster, and we converted it into a form that would have barriers for multiple weapon types and attributes. We arrived at its current form by investigating what play style would feel similar to Three Houses, but also feel like it belongs in a Warriors game.
Iwata: I wanted it to add variety to the game between battles against humans and monsters, but more than that, I was hoping it would be an element to disrupt the game board when instructing allies to take action. Whether a monster is there or not actually changes the type of orders given drastically, so I think it also deepened the simulation-like thought process.
It’s true that when a monster appears, it makes me feel like I have to delay putting pressure on the fortress and take everyone to defeat it immediately. Also, while it does take a lot of military force, the return is worth it in that you can earn powerful weapons.
Iwata: That’s right. It would be too much suffering if you had to fight a strong enemy and get nothing for your efforts. (laughs)
“Expeditions,” the interaction system with extra care put into the scenery
The systems in this game build upon the ones in Three Houses, and out of them, I was impressed by the Expedition system that builds upon the Tea Time system. Tell me about what led to the decision to add Expeditions to what is originally an action series.
Suzuki: It wouldn’t be far off to say that I came here today just so I could talk about this… (laughs) We thought the Tea Time system in Three Houses was really enjoyable, so we talked about wanting to do something like it.
Since Intelligent Systems produced and sold real tea leaves and tea sets based on Tea Time, Tea Time left a strong impression on me as a player.
Hayashi: Yes, there was even a scene taken from Tea Time in the Three Houses-themed minigame in WarioWare: Get It Together! (laughs)
Suzuki: But since you’re fighting on the battlefield in this game, we didn’t think it was a good time to sit around drinking tea…
Hayashi: We agreed that we couldn’t keep Tea Time as-is in this title.
Suzuki: Nevertheless, we thought it was an indispensable element during the development process. We tried to figure out what a good form that fits the wartime setting and plot would be, and someone mentioned that horse riding was a sport-like pastime in the Middle Ages in Europe, which led us to the idea that riding on a horse together to go out and explore might be an opportunity for conversation. Tea Time in Three Houses is held in the Abbey, but since the premise this time was that you’re setting off from an outpost, we wanted to create an activity with a more open feel, which ultimately led to the Expedition format.
So that was your reason for switching the situation.
Suzuki: Expeditions are a part that I created after much trial and error and deliberation. As a result, I think it became the part of the game where you can interact the most intimately with the characters. The production team also put a lot of effort into it.
Hayashi: Suzuki was very passionate about presenting it at meetings. He even said to Nintendo and IS, “Expeditions are awesome!” (laughs) It can be taken as either setting off from an outpost to do recon or as going on a picnic, so it’s a very nice compromise.
I did laugh when the words “Perfect Picnic Time” came up when the conversation was going well. I was like, “Oh, this was a picnic the whole time?” (laughs)
Suzuki: At first, the development staff did call it Picnics and not Expeditions, but at some point we had the thought that it didn’t make sense to be going out and having picnics in the middle of a war, so we renamed it to Expeditions. Since that last part is written in the alphabet (as opposed to Japanese text), though, we figured Picnic was fine.
Hayashi: As for the meeting with Suzuki I mentioned before, I pointed out that it might be a lot of work to create a whole new scene of riding out on a horse just for Expeditions, but he just said “I’ll make it work.” (laughs)
Suzuki: If they’re going on an expedition, they have to ride a horse. There’s even an image of them riding horses on the loading screen.
Oh, that pixel art! I thought that was really cute.
Suzuki: That was one of our staff member’s ideas. They heard that I wanted to do this kind of system and brainstormed a bunch of ideas, which came together nicely. I wanted to add some pixel art like there is in the first FE Warriors, so I’m glad we could add some to the Expeditions system.
It also takes away the time limit when making a decision, and it gives you more angles to look at the characters from.
Suzuki: If we were going to do it, we wanted to really power it up. (laughs) We wanted players to enjoy the atmosphere deeply and for a long time.
Iwata: We wanted it to feel like a two-sided conversation, so we let the player bring up conversation topics and answer questions from the character. As for body movements, they not only drink tea, but do things like pour some for you or move a bit closer, which we added with the goal of making it feel like they were conscious of the player.
Suzuki: Also, you can choose between multiple destinations for Expeditions, and parts of the conversations are different depending on the location. Since we had multiple places you could go, we wanted slightly different conversations for each one, and we also thought it would be fun to have different backgrounds behind the characters, so we put variation between the destinations.
Iwata: We put a lot of effort into the backgrounds. We actually redid them once.
Suzuki: We weren’t completely satisfied with them. (laughs) We had a lot of back and forth like, “Is this background fun?” “Maybe it would be more fun to talk in front of this background.”
On what basis did you choose the four different destinations?
Suzuki: We looked for pictures of locations that looked like they would be nice to have a conversation in and had locations created to be similar to those.
Somehow, during expeditions, the world seems to shine more, both the characters and the atmosphere.
Suzuki: Yes, we took care to give Expeditions that sparkle. The atmosphere is so different that it almost feels like a completely different game, so make sure to take it all in and enjoy it.
Hayashi: You can tell that you sponsored the system by how passionately you’re talking about it. (laughs)