French website Jeux-Vidéos.com has had the opportunity to interview Genki Yokota and Toshiyuki Kasukihara at Japan Expo 2019, and ask them several questions about the upcoming Fire Emblem: Three Houses. This allows us to learn quite a bit about the game, how it came to be, the various choices made during development, and more.
Fire Emblem – Three Houses: Focus on management and Koei-Tecmo collaboration
First, the pair explain why there’s so much focus on management this time around (which includes the love relationships of your students, apparently). It’s now been over 10 years since the last entry on home consoles, and the developers really felt the need to come up with new features. That’s how they came up with the squad system, as well as the student teaching one, and it all came pretty naturally.
But according to Genki Yokota, there’s another reason the game puts so much emphasis on management: the game was developed by 3 companies… Nintendo, Intelligent Systems, and Koei-Tecmo. Since Koei-Tecmo have a lot of experience when it comes to simulation games (via the Nobunaga’s Ambition series, for example), the developers were able to take advantage of that.
As for what each company did:
- Nintendo was in charge of production
- Intelligent Systems was in charge of art and game design
- Koei-Tecmo did the grunt work and tackled programming and the actual development of the game
Genki Yokota explains that Koei-Tecmo only picked up developers that were fans of the Fire Emblem series, in order to make sure they were motivated.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Characters, Monastery
As for characters, Toshiyuki Kasukihara revealed that there are about 30 of them in the game (aka: students, not just story characters).
In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the My Castle feature is replaced by the Garreg Mach Monastery. The developers didn’t go with something the players could build because they had much grander ambitions this time around, and what they wanted to do would have been hard to achieve with a system like My Castle.
They really wanted to convey the impression that the Monastery is a place where all the students have been living for years, which gives off a much different atmosphere than something built from scratch.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Online features
The game offers the following online features:
- Rankings: the game allows you to see which choices the other players made during the game, such as choices related to teaching for example. That way, you can see which choices were the most popular, in case you’re really lost and don’t know what to do;
- Exchange students: you can send one of your students to other players as an exchange student. You can give them a gift to deliver to the other player. As for exchange students you end up with in your game, you can add them as support units, though it seems there’s restrictions about their use in battle;
- Lost Souls: in battles, there’s cases known as “Lost Souls”, which are places where many other players struggled. If you managed to survive on those cases, you will get some bonuses.
Unfortunately, the game does not offer any sort of PvP (or even co-op).
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Weapon Triangle
While the weapon triangle system is not nearly as prevalent as in previous games, it’s still present in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. As for whether or not it will become more important again in future entries, Genki Yokota could not answer because when making a game, they start by coming up with themes and gameplay systems before they decide what to bring from past games.
In this game, they really wanted to offer players a lot of freedom when it comes to teaching students, so that they could freely give whichever weapons and skills they want. It’s a way to make sure players really get close to the different characters they tutor.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Technical details
Since the Nintendo Switch is infinitely more powerful than the Nintendo 3DS, and offers a much higher screen resolution, the developers were able to add lots of elements to the game. That includes visual elements such as squads who take part in battles, which was not possible on previous hardware.
Quite interestingly, moving to the Nintendo Switch allowed the developers to display more text on screen, such as the name of fighters. And with more space for text, they also added pages that provide historical background for the various characters, deepening the lore of the game.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Playtime
Wondering how much time you will need to play through the game? According to Toshiyuki Kasukihara, beating the game following the “route” of just one of the 3 houses can take up to 80 hours (he did play with all the cutscenes and voiced lines). In other words, if you go and try to beat the game with all 3 houses, you can end up playing for over 200 hours!
By the way, you get to choose which house to teach after about 1 hour.
Speaking of Fire Emblem: Three Houses at the Japan Expo 2019, make sure to check out our post about the new elements revealed during the presentation!
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (Switch) comes out on July 26th worldwide.