In North America gamers are familiar with the video game series Fire Emblem, but to what extent? About half of the titles in the long running series have never received English translations, yet some fanatics have fallen in love with the series and enjoyed it despite language barriers. One such individual named Chris Houser was willing to share some of his experiences and thoughts in an interview with Guardian Liberty Voice.
Let’s begin with some back story. What some may not know is that the Fire Emblem series began back in 1990, it wasn’t until 2001 when Super Smash Bros. Melee came out that American fans were introduced to characters of the series. Two years later, Fire Emblem (actually Fire Emblem 7) was released on the Game Boy Advance and those in North America got to experience what the series was really about. Since then, Fire Emblem has continued to release their games in the U.S. Along with the remake of the first game, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (which features Marth as the protagonist).
The team working on the Fire Emblem series is an internal team at Nintendo known as Intelligent Systems. They have worked on every installment of the series as well as the Paper Mario and Advance Wars games.
23 year-old Chris Houser found a game series that he could love above all others; Fire Emblem.
“Who would you recommend this game series to?”
“I would recommend this series to those that are into strategy games, also for those that enjoy in-depth characters and story. You are always learning about the characters in each game (some can have anywhere from 40-80). You can encounter some of the same strategies in different games, but the road getting you to the end is always fun. Rarely are two playthroughs the same.”
“What title would you recommend to those new to the series start with?”
“All of them offer tutorials that teach the mechanics. Fire Emblem 7 or Awakening both have an in-depth way of showing off their world to the player while getting them involved. Fire Emblem 7 probably has the most solid gameplay for a starting point.”
“What was your first Fire Emblem game?”
“I got Fire Emblem 7 (Blazing Sword) in the 7th grade. After playing Melee and seeing Nintendo Power featuring Fire Emblem characters I found myself at a Toys “R” Us with my parents. My mom offered to buy something for a trip we were about to take and my curiosity led me to pick Fire Emblem.”
“How did you manage to play the Japanese exclusive Fire Emblem Games without knowing Japanese?”
“Someone from the FE community explained that the menu layout was the same and generally it was true that all menus were in the same spots. Eventually, you learn the symbols anyways, which makes it easy to plow through the game.
“How many hours do you think you’ve put into the series?”
“Since I’ve been playing since I was about 12, I’ve done probably ten playthroughs of Fire Emblem 7 as well as about ten playthroughs of Path of Radiance. I have beaten every game in the series and have over 1000 hours of total gameplay.”
“What would you like to see next from the series?”
“Not counting Awakening, Intelligent Systems has been rebooting older games. I would like to see new stuff story wise, but also a remake of Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War (FE 4) would be great.”
“What do you think is preventing the other games in the series from coming to North America?”
“They don’t have consoles to go to. In the past, the FE community had a petition to get Fire Emblem Sword of Seals (GBA title) but it still didn’t make it over. Due to market speculation and mature themes, the older games didn’t make it over either. It is possible now they don’t want to spend the time to translate for Nintendo’s virtual console (eShop). The older games are on the eShop but not in NA. Unfortunately, Fire Emblem 12 (DS title) didn’t make it here even though it was originally talked about in Nintendo Power.”
“What console do you think is most suited for the next FE game”
“Not the Wii U; obviously the 3DS. The 3DS offers the player the ability to stop or start playing at any time. It works perfect for the series. It is an interesting experience on the handheld. It doesn’t mean I don’t want a FE game on a console, but I don’t think the Wii U is the best choice right now.”
“Fire Emblem is a repetitive game in nature. Why do you put so much time into it?”
“The depth of the game comes through the strategies. What’s going on in your mind puts you in the flow of battle. I can put so many hours in due to the different characters that each have their own stories. You can’t always learn about everyone in one playthrough. Finding out more about characters in the heat of battle is one of the cool things about playing. I could watch the battle animations over and over because they are so interesting. If I do get tired of them, I turn off the animations but I still find myself being submersed in the world.”
“How would people go about playing the old games?”
“Serenes Forest has translation patches for all the older games but you will need the correct rom and emulator. Without the help of Serenes Forest it would not be as easy for others to enjoy the old Fire Emblem games.”
“Do you think the next Super Smash Bros. Game will give any insight into the next Fire Emblem installment?”
“No, but I have no doubt Chrom will appear in the next Smash game. He is an immensely popular character in Japan and Nintendo wouldn’t miss such an opportunity.”
“What is the most reoccurring question you encounter in the FE community?”
“Are Marth and Roy in this game?”
A very special thanks to Fire Emblem fan Chris Houser for lending his knowledge on the series. If any readers have their own questions they would like answered please post them and they might get answered in a future interview.