Fire Emblem Fates released in Japan last year, and Americans received the title back in February, but fans in PAL regions won’t get it until late May. Australia and New Zealand are included in that region, but Nintendo is giving fans in the land down under a special gift. Preorders for the game’s special edition, which comes with all three paths—Birthright, Conquest, and early access to the otherwise DLC-only Revelation—have already sold out, but Nintendo has now promised a second round of preorders for them. No word was given on when these preorders will open, and there’s no telling if the PAL regions in Europe will see a restock, but we’ll keep you informed if we learn more.
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Following a strong response to the announcement of the Fire Emblem Fates Special Edition which launches May 21, the…
Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Conquest finally reached North America last month, and with the third branching story path in Revelation coming to the eShop on March 10th and new weekly DLC maps lasting until late April, there is enough Fates goodness to whet players’ appetites for a while. Meanwhile, Japanese fans hit a dry spell of additional Fates content, as they have had access to the entirety of Map Pack 1 — split into two separate DLC waves on their end — since last October. That, however, is set to change in the immediate future.
Nintendo has announced via the Japanese Direct that a third wave of Fire Emblem Fates Xenologue Chapters is rolling out this month, which includes a whopping ten new maps for players to test their tactical prowess.
The list of new chapters is as follows, but be warned for spoilers pertaining to the game’s story:
A Gift from Anna 2 — Available Now
Rewards players with either the Paragon Book or Boots;
The Paragon Book grants an assigned unit the Paragon Skill, which doubles the amount of earned EXP. in battle;
Boots is a stat booster that increases a unit’s Movement;
Hoshidan Festival of Bonding — Available March 16
Taking place in an alternate kingdom of Hoshido beyond the Dragon’s Gate, bandits raid a festival that prays for the healthy growth of children;
Features unique conversations between S-Support characters and their children;
Rewards players with special illustrations and the Exalt’s Brand on every visit, which reclasses female units into the Great Lord class;
Great Lord is a class otherwise exclusive to Amiibo-locked Lucina;
Difficulty: 1 Star;
Price: 250 Yen.
Nohrian Festival of Bonding — Available March 23
Taking place in an alternate kingdom of Nohr beyond the Dragon’s Gate, bandits raid a festival that celebrates the bonds of friendship;
Features unique conversations between units who cannot support in regular gameplay, citing Azura and Camilla, Ryoma and Scarlet, and Elise and Izana;
Rewards players with special illustrations and the Hero’s Brand on every visit, which reclasses male units into the Lodestar class;
Lodestar is a class otherwise exclusive to Amiibo-locked Marth;
Difficulty: 1 Star;
Price: 250 Yen.
Short-Lived Memories — Available March 16
A six-map pack that features a brand new story, in a similar vein to the somber “Future Past” Xenologues from Fire Emblem: Awakening;
Takes place in an alternate timeline where the parents are gone, and it is up to the younger cast to take up the charge;
Azura’s spirit lingers as a ghost in this timeline;
One particular line from a conversation between Shiro and Siegbert reads: “So you’re saying that until everything ends… until Shigure’s death, we can do nothing but wait here…?“
One of the maps rewards players with the Point Blank Book, but only if no unit falls in battle;
The Point Blank Skill, otherwise exclusive to Takumi as a boss character in the Conquest route, allows archer units to attack foes at 1 Range/melee distance with any equipped bow;
Difficulty: 3 Stars;
Price: 1500 Yen.
A Western release for this new wave of Fire Emblem Fates DLC has yet to be announced. On the other side of the pond, Nintendo of Europe confirmed via their recent Direct that Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Conquestwill launch on May 20th across the continent, and a Special Edition which contains all three routes will be released that same day.
The prospects of farmable Lodestars and Great Lords certainly sounds appealing, and I’m already a sucker for additional story DLC as it is, but what about you? Are you also looking forward to purchasing the very likely Map Pack 2 once it has formally been revealed via Nintendo’s Western branches? Or are you satisfied with what you have now in Fire Emblem Fates? Give us your thoughts below!
There’s been a bit of a controversy going around with the release of the latest Fire Emblem, and I’m not talking about that weird “petting” minigame. Basically, Fire Emblem Fates has three unique, full-length campaigns: one easier and tooled for newcomers, one more difficult for veterans, and a third which is something of a mixture. The controversial part, though, is that Nintendo split them into three different, full-priced games: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. Whichever you buy first costs you $40, and then if you choose to buy either or both of the other two, they’re bumped down to $20. The argument is over whether Fates‘ individual campaigns ought to have been split up like this, essentially doubling their price.
The whole thing’s stirred some fun back-and-forth, even here on our own site. Some say the individual titles each having campaigns of unique content roughly the size of the previous Fire Emblem Awakening justifies their full prices, others say Fates is all one game and should be released as such, and neither has particularly solid grounding. To actually figure this out requires a lot more thought and a little bit of delving. It’s inspired me to think about exactly what it means to pay for a video game and how the price and value of these products actually works.
See, there’s something really interesting about the common argument approving of Fire Emblem Fates‘ split. “The games are worth their individual prices because each of the three campaigns are about as long as the one of Fire Emblem Awakening,” is the generic version, but the true argument therein is that a sizable part of a game’s worth can be determined by its amount of content. Unpacking that statement is where things really start to get interesting.
Games Aren’t Standardized Like Other Media
The whole idea of content equating to value comes from one of the oddities of video games as a medium, namely that the media form of “games,” at least the physical copies, have a universal price but not a universal amount of content. In that respect, they are unique.
Every movie you see is going to have roughly the same runtime: 90 minutes to three hours, generally circling the two-hour mark pretty closely. Likewise, the price of movie tickets, blu-rays, DVDs, and VHS tapes, respectively, have always been fairly standardized. New blu-rays of any feature film cost somewhere around $20 to $25. Similarly, music albums of a given physical medium and time period have an approximately universal length and track number. CDs always release at $10 – $15, and basically any Amazon MP3 album is going to cost you $9.
So, assuming you’ve already decided to spend money on a movie or album, your considerations between which new album to buy or which new movie to go see are based simply on the strength of your desire for a given album or movie relative to the others. It’s unaffected by the price or amount of content therein because those last two metrics always basically match up.
Not so with video games. Like movies and albums, video games — at least physical ones — do have a universal price (though it is platform dependent), but they do not have a universal amount of content — not even roughly. Both Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim came out in the same year (2011) at the same price ($60), but the former lasts about ten hours while the latter boasts having more than fifteen times that amount of content, over 150 hours worth. So, when buying new video games, our desire is based not only on the particular game but also on the length of that game, on the amount of content contained within.
Because there’s no standard for games, length and content become an attribute of the purchase — the more the better. They’re all the same price, so we like them to be longer. As consumers of video games, we assign a higher relative value not only to the games that we want to play more, but also to the games with more content. So, with Fire Emblem Fates, we’re willing to spend more money than normal because we already really want to play Fire Emblem, and this one — Fates seen all as one entity — has way more content than the last.
That makes a fair amount of sense, right? More value to the consumer, higher price. Well, no… not really. There’s actually a huge economic dissonance with that idea. The thing is, video games only cost money to buy because they cost money to make.
Games Have no Objective Economic Value
Companies invest money — the budget — in making a game, and they need to recoup that money, and then some, to make a profit. To them, the question of a game’s worth isn’t determined by the amount of content therein or the quality of the game, but by its potential sales — the more units it moves, the more profit it will generate. So, the metric a company goes by in determining a game’s value looks something like this: the game’s budget subtracted from the number of copies it will sell.
That need to make money is completely arbitrary to what is actually in the game. Those consumer metrics of content and quality still matter, but only in so far as the company must manipulate them to generate more sales and thereby recoup and profit off of the budget they originally invested. Companies don’t price based on quality and content; they price based on wanting a profit. That is the reason games cost money.
To understand cost, you have to understand conflicting interests. We like to imagine that there are these ethereal, objective factors determining consistent “worths” for things, that you can convert quality or content into dollars, but the reality is not so graceful. The truth is, there are two entities — consumers and companies — with two very different ideas of what makes a mutual product — in this case a video game — valuable: amount of content and quality versus number of sales relative to a budget.
And of course it is not always that cut and dry. The executives and even moreso the employees at a given company are still individuals; I’m sure most of them care about the quality of the games they produce. As well, there’s all sorts of new territory to be covered on this topic now that digital sales and indie games are screwing with any standard even close to a content-budget-price correlation (see: No Man’s Sky, an indie game, is going to cost $60, and I have no idea how to feel about that). But what stays true across the board is that game companies need to worry about profits if they want to stay afloat, and that’s going to give them a fundamentally different perspective than the consumer on price.
And, with that, finally we arrive at Nintendo, Fire Emblem Fates, and you.
We’ve established that after developing a game, companies need to sell individual copies of it to make a profit, but what if there were a way to generate a higher number of sales of the same game without needing to sell copies to a higher number of people? What if a company could just take advantage of the consumers’ connection between content and value to sell them the same product in multiple pieces without spending too much more on those pieces? Make a lot more content for only a little extra budget, and sell that content in portions as separate, full products? Since anyone who wants to can still buy just one of the individual pieces, you won’t be losing any standard consumers, and consumers who really want to play your game are suddenly worth multiple sales instead of just one.
That is the thinking behind the split of Fire Emblem Fates into three separate games. Nintendo did not need to split this game; they just wanted to make more money.
Fire Emblem’s Split is Purely for Profit
Fire Emblem Fates‘ enormous amount of content was almost certainly not made on a similarly enormous budget. Yes, Fire Emblem Fates probably did take a larger investment than Fire Emblem Awakening, but I sincerely doubt the increase in budget was so much that, had all three parts of Fates been released on one cartridge for $40 (and we already know they would have fit), Nintendo would have been selling the game at anything close to a loss.
With the success of Fire Emblem Awakening, everyone knew Fates was going to sell terrifically, so for selling the whole package as one $40 cartridge to be selling at a loss, Fates‘ budget would have to have been astronomically high, much higher than Awakening‘s or that of the average big 3DS game. And, frankly, I find that idea pretty absurd. Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation share an identical engine and core development team, meaning their creation can’t really be compared to that of three — or even two — entirely separate games. Further reducing labor and costs, the engine they all share is almost definitely an updated version of Awakening‘s; the three parts of Fatesshare a lot of assets; and, from what I hear, playing one of Fates‘ campaigns doesn’t even really take as long to finish as the one of Awakening, despite the identical number of chapters.
And all that tells me that the development of the grand, three-part Fire Emblem Fates was not some incredibly ambitious and herculean undertaking. I don’t have the exact stats or anything, but, hell, if it did come to light that this game actually had the ludicrous budget required to justify the split and an eventual price of $80… why!? Where did that money even go? Developing a bunch of new content in certain styles of high-fidelity cinematic games like Uncharted might be somewhere near that expensive, but for Fire Emblem on the 3DS? Just making more levels, adding a few more unit types, writing more dialogue, and whatever else just isn’t that hard for this kind of game with an already-built engine.
What all that means is this: Nintendo did not split Fire Emblem Fates‘ and effectively double its full price because the title’s budget made it “worth” that much, or because that increase was necessary to recover a decent profit margin. No, this is not an objectively confirmed fact, but based on the evidence available — everything above plus testimony from friends — I feel confident claiming that all three campaigns could have been released on the same $40 cartridge and still made the company a solid profit.
Instead, what’s more likely happened here is that Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation were split up because Nintendo saw a rather exploitative opportunity. They knew that people saw Fire Emblem Awakening as being “worth” its $40 price; they knew that people saw a large part of a game’s value as relative to its amount of unique content; and, with those two facts in mind, they knew people would be willing to buy Fire Emblem Fates‘ campaigns separately, provided each of them had about as much new content as Fire Emblem Awakening did — regardless of whether they really needed to. So, they did it. They split the game into three parts and marketed each of them as being unique, fully-fledged Fire Emblem games, even making it almost seem like a bargain. I mean, if you buy one for the standard $40, you can get two whole other games at half price.
So, is Fire Emblem Fates “worth” its price? Does the amount of content in the game make it worth paying extra money for? Well, there is no objective answer to that. This is Sociology, Conflict Theory: there are two entities working toward different ends, the consumers and the sellers. All I can tell you is that Fates is probably not some special, phenomenally expensive piece of software. It seems fairly certain Nintendo would have made out just fine on this game without the split; they just knew people would be willing to buy it anyway. Then again, who am I to judge your game purchases? I never had plans to buy Fire Emblem Fates anyway, but if, say, Sony decided to be a bunch of stupid jerks and up the price of The Last Guardian to $100? Anyone who knows me knows I’d still buy it. I want it that badly, and if your desire to play the entirety of Fire Emblem Fates is “equivalent to” or higher than the price, go ahead; by all means, get all three.
But make no mistake: Nintendo did not split Fire Emblem Fates up because they needed to. They did it because they saw an opportunity to make some extra money off you.
While Fire Emblem Fates has been out in North America for a few weeks, the European version has yet to be released. Until yesterday, we weren’t sure when it was coming—however, the European Nintendo Direct changed that. Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright and Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest will be releasing on May 20th. A special edition containing all three versions of Fire Emblem Fates as well as an art book, poster, and other goodies will be available for purchase as well. Much like the North American release, this special edition is the only way to get access to Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation before its full release on June 9th.
Fire Emblem Fates is coming out this Friday, but we’ve already scrounged up a few reviews for you to check out that say both Birthright and Conquest are just as good as any Fire Emblem game, if not better. However, some reviewers have pointed out that even though Birthright and Conquest are fine games on their own, playing both of them and then Revelation as DLC is the way to go. But, at an $80 price tag, is it worth it?
For those who don’t know, Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation each tell the story of Corrin and his choices in the war between the Hoshido and Nohr nations. Respectively, Corrin either joins the Hoshido, Nohr, or chooses no side at all. Your choice of game actually has a massive impact on not only the story, but the types of troops and missions you’ll encounter. Essentially, if you want the full experience, you have to play (and pay for) all three games. Considering recent standalone choice-driven RPGs like Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3, which feature many alternate story paths and multiple endings on just one disc, do you feel it’s fair that Fire Emblem Fates is split into three separate games? More so, do you think that it’s worth it to buy all three? As always, this question is for you, the reader! So, please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
With mere days to go before Fire Emblem Fates is released, reviews have finally begun to crop up across the internet. Fates has seen a fair amount of controversy around localization censorship, but that does not seem to have detracted from the overall experience presented. Both Birthright and Conquest sit at a cool 87 and 89 respectively on Metacritic. Compared to Fire Emblem Awakening‘s current score of 92, the difference is minimal enough to make the claim that Fates is officially just as good as Awakening, if not better according to some of these reviews.
Both Birthright and Conquest will be available for purchase this Friday, February 19th. If you are not picking up the Special Edition, which includes Revelations, the third part of the trilogy will be available next month as DLC.
Without further ado, here are some of the current reviews:
Fire Emblem Fates is a Smash hit in Japan, and on February 19th, the tactical RPG will be launching in North America. The game is available in two different versions — Birthright and Conquest — and a third version called Revelation will be available as DLC on March 10th. Our friends at GameXplain got their hands on both Fire Emblem Fates and the Revelation DLC early, and they’ve released half an hour of footage from the game. Because Revelation is meant to be played after the other two versions, the contents of this video will definitely be considered spoiler territory by many. That said, if you want to see what Revelation is all about, you can do so by clicking above!
Much like Fire Emblem Awakening, the Fire Emblem Fates games will be receiving DLC for fans who can’t get enough to sink their SRPG-loving teeth into. Upon release, the first of multiple downloadable Maps will be available. Players can either purchase these maps individually or buy them in bulk with the “Map Pack 1” DLC for $17.99. In addition, Nintendo confirmed that Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, the third chapter to the Fire Emblem Fates mythos that was previously announced as part of the special edition, will also release in DLC form in the West. It will release with the special edition on February 19th, and others can download this massive expansion on March 10th for $19.99.
Will you be purchasing the Map packs for Fire Emblem Fates? How do you feel about the Fire Emblem Fates story being split into three separate games? Let us know in the comments below!
Fire Emblem Fates is launching in two versions, Birthright and Conquest, with a third campaign called Revelation being added later as DLC. However, a special edition bundle lets you purchase all three together for $80. As an added bonus, GameStop is reporting that buying the special edition lets you play the downloadable Revelation three weeks before it will become available on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. The special edition (which is currently out of stock) is also the only way to play all three campaigns on one cartridge.
Today’s Nintendo Direct revealed that North America is getting a Fire Emblem Fates bundle. The $80 bundle will include all three versions of the game: Birthright, Conquest, and Revelation. Nintendo also revealed that more DLC will be coming to the game. Included in this will be seven maps; one of these will be free, and the other six will be paid for.
Fire Emblem Fates already came out in Japan earlier this summer, and it is set to release in the US next year. Unlike previous games in the series, this title is releasing as two distinct versions (in most territories, at least), each set to appeal to a different method of play. While we still have a while to wait until we experience the differences ourselves, Kotaku has provided a thorough list of the changes beyond story elements between the Birthright and Conquest.
Among these differences are character and job class exclusivity. There are 26 characters who can only be utilized in Conquest, and 27 only available in Birthright. Some of these individuals have job classes unique to their character and are therefore unattainable in the opposite version of the game. Of the exclusive characters, there is a bisexual male who can marry a male avatar in Conquest, and a bisexual female who can marry a female avatar in Birthright.
The My Castle feature of the game looks different in each version and supplies your army with different resources depending on your game. You can, however, obtain materials rare to your game by visiting a castle in the opposite title via Streetpass.
Levels are approached very differently in the two versions, as Birthright allows for unlimited replayability of past stages in order to gain experience and resources, whereas Conquest limits the player. In Conquest, players are only able to play through 28 story missions, castle defense missions, and unlocked paralogues, severely reducing the amount of experience and materials available in a single playthrough.
The way in which players complete stages are very different between the two titles as well. In Birthright, most missions can be completed by defeating all the opposing forces or their general. Conquest, on the other hand, features a wide variety of mission objectives in addition to these basic ones, including catching an enemy, winning within a time limit, breaking through enemy lines, and even defending a specific part of the map.
The third version of the Fire Emblem Fates story, the Invisible Kingdom DLC, takes from both titles. It features 67 of Conquest and Birthright‘s 68 characters—as well as one who is exclusive to the DLC—a variety of mission objectives similar to those in Conquest, and the ability to replay old levels for experience and materials.
Do any of these differences help you determine which version you’ll be getting? Why do you prefer one over the other? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
In Nintendo and Intelligent Systems’ effort to provide Fire Emblem Fates with a stronger, more complex story, they used the talent of Yukinori Kitajima to help in building the third storyline, Invisible Kingdom.
On top of writing Invisible Kingdom, Kitajima also worked on Fire Emblem Fates with his scriptwriting team, Synthese. Synthese has worked on well-known games such as Senran Kagura and the more recent Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Intelligent Systems hired Synthese to write the support conversations between characters, essentially the life-blood for Fire Emblem games, for all three branches of the story.
Fire Emblem Fates released in Japan as Fire Emblem If on June 25th with Birthright/Conquest, and Invisible Kingdom was released in Japan on July 9th as DLC. The release date for other audiences is still up in the air, though the tentative date is sometime in 2016.
Who else is excited to play Fire Emblem Fates? What do you think about them having separate groups write each story? Sound off below!
Fire Emblem Fates is selling like hotcakes in Japan right now, and the experience just got bigger and better. The game launched in two versions, Birthright and Conquest, and now a third campaign, Invisible Kingdom, is available for download. Nintendo has released a trailer for Invisible Kingdom, and you can check it out by clicking above!
Fire Emblem Fates (or Fire Emblem If in Japan) features two separate versions that feature two different story paths; however, there are also plans to distribute a third story path as DLC. Now, we have a better idea of when this DLC will be available in Japan.
According to the Japanese website for the game, this third story path will be made available for purchase sometime in July, so players will have some time to finish the base versions of the game, which will release on June 25th.