A new trailer has been revealed for the upcoming tactical RPG Fire Emblem Engage, teasing the main story of the game.
Fire Emblem Engage will be released for Nintendo Switch on January 20th and is the latest installment in the long-running series of tactical fantasy RPGs. While not a story sequel to Fire Emblem Three Houses, Engage follows in the footsteps of its acclaimed predecessor. As with other titles in the Fire Emblem series, you can expect a compelling high-stakes plot, turn-based combat, and immersive character relationships.
However, judging by the trailer, it looks like Engage will take a more traditional path in line with previous games in the series. It clearly tries to tell a more old-school fantasy story by having the protagonist, Alea, travel across four lands on a quest to slay an evil dragon – classic stuff.
This is in stark contrast to the plot of Three Houses, whose main character took root and became a professor at an officers’ academy. Though epic and high stakes, the story of Three Houses was based on the story of the academy, its students and their experiences.
Going back to basics is certainly a bold move, and we’re yet to see if it’s the right choice for the series.
Safe as houses?
Fire Emblem Three Houses added something magical to the series’ formula. In your role as a professor at the officers’ academy, you not only lead your students into battle, but also teach and befriend them outside of battle. Three Houses also introduced a time management mechanism, where you could only socialize or teach with a certain number of students per month.
While this was a new direction for the series, this Persona 5-esque restriction on how you could spend your time made every moment feel all the more precious. Plus, it gave you a chance to get to know the ensemble cast beyond the usual unlockable dialogue (known as “support talks”), traditionally only triggered by fighting near a certain ally in battle.
While support conversations have always added a welcome sense of depth to the relationships in Fire Emblem games, the officers’ academy added a rich and compelling backdrop to the story, offering something truly distinctive.
Something borrowed, something new
Engage sees a return to some beloved, long-lost game mechanics. The rock-paper-scissors-inspired set of strengths and weaknesses that formed the weapon triangle of the previous games will return. Plus, judging by the first trailer (opens in new tab)it looks like the battalions of soldiers who supported characters in Three Houses won’t be making a comeback either.
I’ve been a fan of Fire Emblem for an embarrassingly long time, and I count myself among those happy to see some of these older features return. However, it would be a shame to omit positive, newer features as part of this effort to return the series to its roots.
That said, there is hope. The first trailer showed Alear walking through an area that resembled the officers’ academy at Three Houses, and while we don’t have any concrete details about this “Somniel” area yet, it’s possible that Intelligent Systems could follow the path they took in Three houses. Time will tell.