It's a good thing that Fire Emblem: Awakening was the best-selling Fire Emblem game outside of Japan, because its surprising figures may have saved the series. In a recent Iwata Asks column, the team behind Awakening revealed that the game was intended to be the final chapter of the series. Ironically, this is what led to the implementation of many features that earned the game critical praise and solid sales.
"[Shinji Hatano], who was working as the head of the sales department, he said 'The Emblem series isn't making the numbers, so this is going to be the last one,'" producer Hitoshi Yamagami said. He went on to explain that, since the development team thought Awakening would be the final Fire Emblem, they focused on incorporating their dream features, so as not to have any regrets. The game sold well, and Hatano came back, asking when the next game would be.
Unfortunately, since the team had focused on making sure Fire Emblem: Awakening had everything they wanted, they felt burnt out and lacking ideas. However, Yamagami remembered one more idea he'd wanted to try, one he'd had since the days of Fire Emblem on NES. "In the first Emblem game, depending on which village you went to, you could only choose either Arran or Samson. But no matter which character you chose, the story didn't change," Yamagami said, lamenting that players couldn't experience multiple sides of the story.
Lifting this restriction and allowing players to ally with different kingdoms to see the world through unique perspectives became the goal of development for the next Fire Emblem game. The result is the upcoming Fire Emblem Fates, also known as Fire Emblem If. We'll have to wait and see if there's anything left to regret when the new game makes the journey overseas in 2016.
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