One of the coolest features in Fire Emblem Fates is the ability to choose which kingdom to side with. This choice translates into two different games, each with their own story, environment, and classes. But where did this idea originally come from? According to Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami in the most recent Iwata Asks, the concept for the separate campaigns stretches all the way back to the original Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, players had to make a choice between one of two allies. This only provided a mechanical change, however, as each character was of a different class. Ultimately, the character you picked had no influence on the story. Yamagami wanted to make this decision have a greater impact, but was unable to due to technical limitations:
“In the first Fire 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. When I said, ‘Aww, I wish it would change something,’ my senior told me, ‘We can’t, due to limited memory capacity.’”
— Hitoshi Yamagami
He then continued by saying that this inspired the decision to make your alliance choice in
Fire Emblem Fates have a significant impact, ultimately deciding on having two distinctly different games:
“I remembered how futile it seemed then, and I said, ‘Maeda-san, wouldn’t you want to play a game where you could see what would happen if you chose the other side? I want to try this!’
“And then I thought, if we packaged them separately, people could have the fun of choosing which one they wanted, and wondering ‘Which should I get?’ I was really enthusiastic when I talked to Maeda-san about it, like, ‘I really want to do that!’ and he said, ‘Hold on just a moment.’ A few days later, he came by, and said, ‘Yamagami-san, I completely agree that we should make two games – like do you ally with Kingdom A or Kingdom B? – but I also think that you could choose not to ally with either. So I want to do three.'” — Hitoshi Yamagami
From there, the game’s director, Kouhei Maeda, said the idea for the third storyline came from looking at it from the player’s perspective:
“Well, I thought that the ultimate decision of ‘do you ally with Country A or Country B’ was really interesting, but thinking about it from the point-of-view of the players, I thought that they would definitely want the choice not to ally with either. It’s really exciting to think about how the world would be if you didn’t rely on either country’s influence. For me, making three stories was a natural progression.”
— Kouhei Maeda
I know that personally, I’m going to play through all three campaigns. I’m excited to see just how different these campaigns really are! Is there a particular story you most want to play through?