This post is one of my final posts for translations of the Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance Memorial Book: Tellius Recollection (Vol 1).
The final two pages of the book feature developer commentary from various developers. I put the commentary on the page, but also in text format below for easier reading and sharing.
There is some fun trivia to learn through it! So please give it a read.
You can find every translation I’ve done on this book so far on the compilation post here!
As you can imagine, the process of doing all this (scanning, editing, translating, etc) takes a lot of time, and I am unemployed…so if you like what I did, then…
Please consider donating! It helps fund future projects!
[A] Main role(s) in the creation of this game
[B] Both the fun and hard times of creating this game
[C] Characters that they have emotional attachments to / liked best
[D] A message to fans / on this document compilation
[A] Chief Designer
[D] I am glad we could release a design book more than ten years after Path of Radiance’s initial release. Being the first 3D FE game and on the Gamecube, there were of course many challenges during the design stages.
If those who picked up this book can get a sense of the world of Tellius through it, then that alone would make me very happy.
[A] Map Director, Background Designer
[B] The trial and error involved in making the map visuals was really enjoyable.
The most painful part of development was having to throw our original schedules out the window in order to perfect it.
[D] I feel this game was the greatest technological leap for the series.
I hope you have continued to love the series since then.
[A] Event Illustration, Class Design, Dialogue Scenes, Background Design, Opening Movie Design
[B] When designing the various denizens of Tellius, I had to keep in mind not to let the designs look too strange. At the same time, it was a little difficult to get the designs right for this game which revolved around the mercenary group (compared to previous entries where often characters were or related to royalty). The best part was tinkering around with designs for ragged clothes, silhouettes, and cool-looking items. The staff had a lot of fun day after day fiddling around with all sorts of things to help really build the world that is Tellius.
Also, I’ll never forget that wicked smile the design chief had on his face when giving me (a guy who has never made a movie) intense instructions during the creation of the opening movie. Ah, I’ll never forget that demonic face…
[C] Once we were in the early discussions regarding Ike’s rival. We had agreed that they would be the highest class in the line of armor knights, and, eventually we decided on the Black Knight. I was really happy with how he turned out. I shivered when I saw the way the talented Senri Kita breathed life into him.
[D] For me and the rest of the staff, this book brings back memories from the time when all of us had pooled together our ideas to form the world of Tellius. I hope both fans and those who may pick it up out of passing interest can enjoy this book!
[A] Scenario Writer, Story, Support, and Base Conversation Developer
[B] Writing the scenes where Ike is remembering his younger days with his father after he passes away, as well as when he decides to succeed Greil as chief of the mercenaries were very memorable to me. When the scene was finalized with things like graphics and music, I was incredibly moved –to the point where, right there at work, I was brought to tears.
It was a lot of fun and an incredible experience seeing the game put together in such a way.
The most difficult thing though, I would say, was naming the chapters. Chapter names like “Blood Runs Red,”* and “Solo”** would sometimes drive me crazy as I puzzled over what to name them. I remember it coming to a point that I would be agonizing over if the meaning was too complicated or too straightforward. It really was hard!
*lit: “The color of the blood that flows”
**lit: “Alone, Singing”
[C] Soren and Titania. I grew attached to them as I wrote their lines. They were the two who would give Ike advice while having completely opposite approaches and personalities, so left an impression on me.
During development, we considered changing the story depending on whose advice you decided to follow… but the plan was ultimately rejected. However, the idea bounced from one place to the next, and eventually was made use of in Fire Emblem Fates.
I also grew attached to writing dialogue for Sanaki, Mordecai, and Devdan, as they each had peculiar speech mannerisms. It was particularly a lot of fun writing the scene where Ike first encounters Sanaki. Ashnard, the Black Knight, and Naesala’s dialogue too… well since I’m running on and on, I’ll stop there!
[D] It is thanks to everybody who has loved this game even now, more than ten years on from its original release in 2005, that we could release this collection of design documents. Thank you very much. From the bottom of my heart –thank you.
[A] Character Design, In-Game Character Face/Portrait Art
[B] Having been involved in Binding Blade, Blazing Sword, and the subsequent Path of Radiance from the planning stages throughout development, I still remember being unable to accomplish anything on my own –no matter how hard I tried. I had to rely on various people for their wisdom and help in order to get things done. Since hardware had shifted from the Game Boy Advance to the Gamecube, all things we knew about FE (designs, setting, etc) would have to change to adapt, too. The whole process may have been difficult, but it was a lot of fun, too.
[C] Ike was the first character I helped build with the Scenario Writer and Art Director, before we went on to make the other characters and rulers of the other countries that he would interact with. So, Ike, definitely.
[D] Though I drew so many pieces of concept art, I never thought they would be collected and released in this way, so I was pretty surprised to hear that! It warms me to know that more than ten years on, fans can still enjoy reading the documents presented in this book over and over again. It’s thanks to all of the Fire Emblem fans that have supported us and made their voices heard that this book could even come to be. Thank you so much!
[A] Face Design, Hard Mode Map Adjustment, Etc.
[B] I went through all sorts of hell adjusting the maps for hard mode. Path of Radiance was my first time being in charge of map adjustment, so I didn’t really plan as well as I could have. Testing out the same maps over and over again while adjusting based on feedback was fun, though.
[C] It’s hard to pick one, since all the characters left some sort of impression on me.
There is a fun story behind one of the face designs though. When a “male character with a ponytail” was first proposed among other designs, the initial reaction was, “Seriously? A man with a ponytail?!” It was promptly waved off by the male staff. When the final design was complete, however, it was met with smiles and people saying “hey that actually works really well!” This is the story behind Shinon.
[D] It is my deepest pleasure that the documents I wanted to deliver to fans back during Path of Radiance‘s initial release can finally see the light of day.
I feel nothing but love and gratitude toward the fans who still continue to play and enjoy the game to this day.
[A] Map Design, Terrain Development
[B] Learning how to make things in 3D for the first time…it was difficult, but at the same time… (Laughs)
[C] Naesala (They were cut, but I made maps of Kilvas and everything…!) (Cries)
[D] It makes me really happy that the game that brought us so many smiles (and tears) during production could have its design documents released to the public.
And it is thanks solely to the fans that made it happen! Thank you all so much!
[A] 3DCG, Battle Animation Design, Opening Illustration Support
[B] It was my first 3DCG project as someone who had just joined the company. All the experiences throughout development made me grow considerably as a developer. This game holds a special place in my heart for that reason.
Quite a bit of these documents were created through repeated phases of trial and error. I feel the fact that even a small part of these unseen gems can see the light of day will make fans very pleased.
There were a lot of characters, and since 3D models are visible from a full 360 degrees with little room for errors or inconsistencies, they take a lot of space. A lot of the models were regrettably simplified as a result. These technical limitations are what I found most difficult to deal with. I think it was also a huge challenge to move on from 2D expressions and designs that the series was known for up to this point, too.
[C] My favorites were the Black Knight, Armored Knights, and pretty much any heavy unit. They were already my favorite classes from before, but also the easiest characters to express in motion. I remember being very particular about making them with the intent of being able to “express the sheer weight and sturdiness of their class through their movement.”
I was also in charge of enemy boss designs, so had to make unique faces for them too. Among my many directions was one I still clearly remember to this day: “Make them have faces you would strike down without hesitation!” (Laughs). My absolute favorite was Oliver’s by a long shot…
[D] Path of Radiance is a revolutionary game in the Fire Emblem franchise for all sorts of reasons –such as having a protagonist who is neither royalty nor an aristocrat, a game that uses 3D models, etc. I feel it had a different atmosphere to it that allowed many people to enjoy it. Even as the series goes forward, the fact people still remember and play this game brings me great joy.
[A] Battle Animation Weapon Design, Character Modeling and Motion
[B] As is usual with first projects, everything was basically a series of trial and error. We used motion capture for character movements, but trying to then match the cape and armor to the motion became a never-ending struggle…
Creating memorable characters was a lot of fun though. My most cherished memories revolved around working with the wonderful staff who all deeply loved Fire Emblem.
[C] Tauroneo. He’s a rather attractive middle-aged man. His conversation with Bryce in the final chapter is heartrending.
[D] Path of Radiance was the first game of the Fire Emblem franchise I got to work on, so I have plenty of nice memories associated with it.
It makes me very happy that there are plenty of others who felt the same feelings of joy when the design book was announced!
[A] Face Graphics, Map Unit Design, etc.
[B] This game holds plenty of memories for me as it was the first FE game I was involved in. When I think about the game, I feel a unique charm of it was the individuality the bosses had. I started with designing Zawana, then Ikanau, Havetti, Nedata… I remember when I got to Norris, I felt I was at my absolute limit. For whatever reason, I ended up temporarily pasting the handsome Zelgius’s face onto him to help calm me down. I still remember hearing people go “yikes!” in response to seeing that. Sorry guys.
[C] The staff had a memo desk to pass instructions to each other, but there would occasionally be drawings of the various Path of Radiance characters for the staff on there too. Even though I openly proclaimed Soren as my favorite character, for some reason, a lot of people ended up drawing Oliver and Dheginsea for me instead……
[A] Map Unit Models, User Interface
[B] Path of Radiance is a game that holds deep memories for me due to being my first project and FE game, as well as the fact I had just joined the company.
There were several issues that troubled me during development, and I had to learn several new things. I am really glad that there was plenty of senior staff who helped guide me, and that I got to work with people who were so passionate about the project.
I remember being really sleepy for some reason when working on the sprite icon of Ike. This was still the era of cathode-ray tube TV’s, so there was a cap [to the amount of time something should be on the screen]. My supervisor was lecturing me, and I had to make a lot of corrections [to the sprite]. And before I knew it, I fell asleep……
[C] Dheginsea. He is a king who embodies dignity and majesty with a strict personality. He also knows a lot of the continent’s secrets but says very little. I thought he was cool despite being difficult to deal with.
[D] A big thank you to everyone who is reading this book.
I myself was very pleased that a design book was being released. When I see this book, it brings me great pleasure reliving both the fun I had playing it and the memories I had [in designing it].
[B] This is a game I had played through plenty of times. I think there was a mixed response to whether or not the “FE Theme” should play on the title screen, but in reality, it was already something that was decided upon even before the Sound Designer’s own decision in the early stages of development. This was the first time in a long time that the series would be on a console, so everyone in the sound staff (including Tsujiyoko) felt the same way: “time to make a new FE soundtrack!” And so, everyone threw around plenty of ideas like, “let’s get rid of the enemy turn theme” or “let’s change this to an orchestral track to better fit the mood.” Really, this game came about thanks to the efforts of everyone involved giving it their fullest.
There were also a few limitations between balancing in-house and main staff between this and other projects, though we still made it despite the complaints. Also, we were judged by strict evaluation standards, so had various practice runs throughout the process to get it just right. We steadily made it over every hurdle that came by. The background music on maps gets a special mention for having especially difficult chords. I feel it led this game to have one of the best, but also most difficult, soundtracks in the series.
We managed to create something nice after plenty of twists and turns, and implemented what we learned in mind for the sequel, Radiant Dawn. Most important of all though was that it taught us valuable lessons in how creators should think.
[C] Oliver by far. Though it is not exactly due to his majestically large presence, but rather the fact that his theme song contrasts him so well and is one of the most beautiful pieces of music in the game.
It started as a simple request from the Director: “I want Oliver to have a theme song.” I thought that writing a solemn song would fit a senator more, but the Director wanted more. He wanted a beautiful and classy song –the exact opposite of Oliver’s appearance.
I clearly remember the first time the Director heard “Powerhungry Fool,” he burst out laughing.
[D] To both Path of Radiance and other Fire Emblem fans who picked up this design book –thank you very much. “Ahh! It’s this character again!” “I see! So this is how I do it!” “Argh why’d he have to come from a random house in the middle of the map?!” This collection reminds me of all the fun times I had and all the characters I met throughout the game. It makes me happy that others will be able to do the same, and can share in the joys and sorrows of this work through this design book.
The biggest take away in terms of trivia is probably what Kouhei Maeda said about a branching scenario depending on who you follow (Soren or Titania) which we eventually saw come in Fire Emblem Fates as stated.
Another one was cut maps in Kilvas, implying there may have been some chapters that take place there, or perhaps more scenery, at least!
Lastly, a user named Samias on serenesforest quickly threw together the“horror” that people saw based on what Chie Takaya described:
There is only one or two more posts left for FE9 before this project is complete. My full focus will then be given to FE10. Thank you all for reading my FE9 posts, I hope you learned something fun, or new! FE10 has an interview like this too that I will get to eventually, so please stay tuned!