Today, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia came out in North America. (Recall the Fire Emblem Direct.) This game is a pretty faithful remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, also known as the second game in the Fire Emblem series that came out on the Famicom and was exclusive to Japan. Like many NES-era sequels, it was weird and really different from the first game (think Zelda II: The Adventure of Link), and it was less a sequel and more of literally a side-story. And then the third game in the Fire Emblem series included a remake of the whole first game in it, and it's weird how that whole thing turned out.
Anyway, I've been around many Fire Emblem discussions and message boards prior to the release of Fire Emblem: Awakening. I've come across lots of forum topics along the lines of, “Rank all the games in the Fire Emblem series from best to worst.” Now, random forum-goers can have lots of bad opinions, but Fire Emblem Gaiden tended to be in a lower-tier or some sort of question mark tier.
Many Western Fire Emblem fans, not having access to many of the Fire Emblem games through legal localised channels, played the “missing” games through unapproved methods. Favourites of these included Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (the one with Roy, and the closest to Fire Emblem 2003 which was in America), Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and for the really hardcore, Fire Emblem: Thracia 776.
Not many people sought out Fire Emblem Gaiden. But now, with faithful remake Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia? There's revisionist expectations.
I guarantee there was no concept of an “Other” gender in 1992.
There are lots of people out there, like me, that view Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates as representing the destruction of a once-great Fire Emblem franchise. (It actually started with Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, but that doesn't fit the narrative.) By saving the series from its own nicheness, it ultimately killed what made the series great and replaced it with many undesirable elements.
These lots of people, unlike me, see Nintendo's decision to make and heavily promote Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia as a very good thing. They want it to sell well and send a market message that Fire Emblem can have a game WITHOUT custom avatars or “waifus” or bad storylines, and still be appreciated by the modern world and actually be profitable. To them, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia represents a potential return to Fire Emblem form. The good ol’ days. Why, if this succeeds, then we can have the real Fire Emblem back!
...But... as I said in the opening, this is based off of Fire Emblem Gaiden, the weird black sheep of the franchise that no one liked.
|Hey... If Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia has Ace Attorney mechanics now and it's taking a lot of cues from visual novels, maybe I would actually like it...?|
Just because it's different than Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates doesn't make it Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance... or your choice of representative Fire Emblem there. Remember its roots. No one liked Fire Emblem Gaiden before it was remade. Why is it being treated so well after its remake, even though it's a faithful reproduction of the same game? Same odd gameplay quirks. Same non-traditional Fire Emblem action. Same grinding.
If you want to make Fire Emblem great again, then Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia isn't the way to redemption. We'll have to wait and see what Fire Emblem on the Nintendo Switch is.
Here's to hoping it's the third game in the Tellius saga!
Ludwig has declared himself done with the Fire Emblem series after playing through Fire Emblem Awakening, and considers KoopaTV's Game of THAT Year 2013 vote to be one of the worst decisions that KoopaTV has ever made. (Voting Fire Emblem Awakening for Game of THAT Year 2013 was the last thing that KoopaTV staff traitor Chrom contributed to KoopaTV before ultimately being fired.) Ludwig really did adore Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, however!