With Fire Emblem If‘s implementation of two distinct stories featuring the two opposing Kingdoms in Nohr and Hoshido will not only be an in-game choice of which side to join, but also a decision made outside of the game completely.
For better or worse, If will come in two versions of the game, completely separate from one another – Fire Emblem If: White Kingdom and Fire Emblem If: Black Kingdom. And going even further, the two games will not just be different stories, but different experiences as well.
During an interview with 4Gamer, Intelligent Systems project manager Masahiro Higuchi and Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami gave more information about the differences in two games, as well as touching on a third separate storyline that will be available as DLC. The games will feature the same opening 5 chapters, and then branch off from there.
To begin, the White Kingdom version will feature a game experience similar to that of Fire Emblem Awakening and Sacred Stones, and is being aimed at those new to the series that started with Awakening. It will feature the same style of map traversal and allow players to gain easy access to shops and extra maps that can be used to train your units. In contrast, Black Kingdom appears to be more like Fire Emblem (Rekka no Ken) or Path of Radiance, where the player won’t have the option to extra shops and free maps, instead just having to play through the game with limited and finite resources.
Furthermore, Black Kingdom is being designed to be more difficult overall, featuring tougher and more complex map objectives. Of course, routing the enemy or defeating the enemy general are still common, but other objectives will also be featured like suppressing the enemy, breaking through the enemy defenses, or defending a base. Limited turn maps are also making a return.
Higuchi even said that they had a strange goal in building the games. They wanted to make each individual game complete in it’s own way while delivering different gameplay experiences for different fans. He also assured that each of the two games are roughly the length of Awakening on their own, and that even just playing one will feel complete. He does add, though, that if you want to play more, be sure to try out the other version.
As for purchasing, the game is operating like this in Japan:
One version of the game in a physical copy will cost 4,700 Yen (~40 USD). A digital copy of the game will run you 4,700 Yen as well. However, once you buy one of the two versions, the other version will available as DLC for 2,000 Yen (~16 USD). The digital version will operate a bit differently – rather than choosing a side at the time of purchase, you’ll get to play the game up until the split, and then choose which side to join. You’ll have to then download the DLC for the respective side, but it will be free; if you then go to purchase the other side as DLC, it will charge you the 2,000 Yen.
This brings up an interesting positive to the digital version – you won’t have to pick which side you’ll be playing first at purchase. It is a huge plus, but as many people who plan to get the game have already picked a side, it may not be as important as it sounds.
Following all of that, Higuchi touched on a third path as DLC.
The gameplay for the third path will fall somewhere between White and Black for its difficulty. It won’t be available right at release, but will be released sometime down the road. Though there wasn’t much else discussed in the way of the third route, there is already plenty of information about to theorize what it will be like.
For Japan, there was also a special edition announced, that will feature a two-in-one cartridge as well as including the third path DLC. It comes packaged with a limited edition art book and a limited edition Fire Emblem Cypher TCG card. The Special Edition will run 9,250 Yen (~77 USD). While there’s no info on a Western release for the special edition yet, let’s all pray it does come this way.
Higuchi also confirmed the continued use of the 3DS’ StreetPass function, though has not said anything about how it will work for this installation of the series.
As a quick note, Higuchi also said this: “Both factions have their own attractive characters, so that will be one of the charms to consider while making your choice.”
Is this aside a confirmation of a player avatar and romance system returning? What do you guys think?