Nintendo conducted a poll for Fire Emblem Heroes urging fans to pick a favorite character of theirs that they would love to see featured. Each fan could vote once a day for 13 days for almost any character from any of the main Fire Emblem series of games.
This is part of a miniseries I am doing on analyzing the vast amount of poll data available to us and what it means for the fandom and their favorites regarding characters.
Thanks to the tireless work of Elieson over on serenesforest.net, we can take a look at the break downs by game!
Today we will focus on FE9 (Path of Radiance) and FE10 (Radiant Dawn) which together form the Tellius saga/games.
There are some general things to keep in mind before we get started, however.
- This was a worldwide contest from all territories on all the games. All votes were included to one ballot. This is useful to know when it comes to character popularity.
- The “overall place” is out of 791 characters that could be voted for. Any number you see in the “overall place” category is ##/791.
- This was just one game out of the entire series that was available to be voted on. While Nintendo recorded 1.2 million votes (actually calculated to be 1,279,158), that is across all games. For the purposes of this analysis, we will only base it on the votes that went toward the game being analyzed. Even then, it is a limited format as there are plenty of factors that come to play.
- For instance, if this was purely a poll on Shadow Dragon, then votes would have been better distributed to what characters people actually favor, as it would be characters versus each other, rather than against characters from the entire series.
- The assumption I am running on is simply this: If the voter picked their favorite from this game against the rest of the Fire Emblem games’ casts, then surely they would pick these characters if they were only up against other characters from their own game.
- However, the issue with this assumption is that it ignores the 13 votes each member had, who may have distributed it across other characters from other games rather than multiple favorites they may have had in one single game. (For example: A voter votes Marth and Tiki, and though they would have cast a vote to Ogma if it was just Shadow Dragon, they instead cast their votes for Hector in Blazing Blade, thus skewing the results Ogma would have had in this game alone had it been isolated) Please be aware of these limitations when seeing the data.
- Some characters were split if they appeared in multiple games (i.e. Marth in FE11 and 12 are two different votes. This is a point worth noting, as we will see.
- Male characters and female characters were polled from the same limited set of 13. This means if someone voted for a favorite male character one day, they did not get to vote a female character the same day. This is worth noting because male/female characters are not in competition with each other. So, their voter base could only vote for a character in one gender or the other, meaning there may have been more votes for female characters overall than male, even if the voter had a male they would have preferred too. There is potential to skew the results here, as would have been solved with two polls (one for each gender).
- For the purposes of game-by-game analysis, the gender split does not matter too much as it is purely to gauge potential popularity. However, when we address the overall gender vote later on, this will be more important –much like how it was when analyzing the top 20.
- Each individual was able to vote multiple times. One person could vote 13 times over the event period (and this assumes from one device)! As such, do not treat the total amount of votes as total amount of people who voted. Those are two very different things!
- Nintendo had released midterm results on current poll standings. I consider this an important aspect in determining the final outcome to overall popularity, as I will address if relevant to the game.
- I may also reference the Famitsu Fire Emblem popularity poll now and then, as seen here.
Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (FE9)
|In-Game Placing||Overall Place||Character||Total Votes|
- A total of 88,400 votes were cast across all the characters of this game.
- That is about 6.9% of the overall vote.
- Ike is in first with 33,871 He is the highest scoring male character of the game, and highest male character overall.
- His votes alone contribute to 38.3% of the votes cast for this entire game.
- He had appeared in first place for overall male character votes during the midterm results. He remained there for the rest of the poll.
- The developers mentioned that Ike had more votes from the USA than he did in Japan or elsewhere.
- Nephenee is in second with 7916 She is the highest scoring female character of the game.
- The gap between Ike and Nephenee is 25,955. This is the largest gap between first and second place across all the games, beating even the gap between Roy and Lillina in FE6.
- The Black Knight places fourth, notable or a high placing antagonist.
- Not counting the Fates siblings (who are antagonists depending on the path), the Black Knight would place highest antagonist on the overall poll.
- However, he would be second if the “Masked Marth” is considered an antagonist.
- Lethe is the highest placing female laguz (and overall laguz) in eighth on this chart, and 154th
- Ranulf is the highest placing male laguz for this game.
- The top five characters of this game had 65% of the votes despite only making up just 8% of the cast. The top 10 characters had 76% of the vote for just 16% the cast, meaning it has top-heavy voter distribution, with Ike alone skewing it.
- Five characters made it to the top 100.
- The game’s characters place across the entire range of 100-791.
- Nealuchi is the lowest ranked male character in last at 63rd place (744/791 overall) and the lowest scoring female character is Calill in 50th (591/791).
- Nealuchi is an NPC in this game, however, as are Dheginsea, Renning, Gareth, and Sephiran above him. Therefore, Bastian is actually the lowest scoring male playable character.
- Note that many characters appear in the sequel Radiant Dawn which may factor into characters suffering from split vote. We will look at that in the next section.
One can clearly see how Ike carried this game, making up a whopping 38% of the game’s votes alone. The vote gap between Ike and the next in place, Nephenee, is the most significant across the charts, showing that Ike alone has more representation than other characters in this game –likely due to Smash Bros fame much like Roy.
Path of Radiance was a Gamecube (and hence console) Fire Emblem game that did not really sell too much (relative to other games in the series) which may factor into relatively little amount of people playing the game (indeed, as it had the least sales out of Fire Emblem games that came west). It is also notoriously hard to find, and quite expensive on second hand sites. There are no virtual console options unlike FE7 and FE8 that have seen GBA VC releases. As such, this game and its sequel are still rather illusive, and the numbers for Ike versus the rest of the cast certainly shows!
Not counting Shadow Dragon, FE9 was also the least voted for western-released Fire Emblem game, which may reflect those low sales numbers.
Looking at second place, Nephenee is often cited as a favorite in design and character by fans, but it was surprising she beat Soren. Soren is a main character (and tactician of the game, meaning one could argue he is technically a extension of the player), and was often the assumed second place contender for the game. This loss can possibly attribute to, again, how despite a split gender votes, only one vote could be cast either way (see general notes at the top for issues in this way of polling). It is interesting she placed higher than Elincia, the female protagonist with a greater role in the story, though in this case it may have to do purely with design.
When it comes to just male characters, he indeed placed second on the in-game chart, which would line up with initial assumptions.
The Black Knight places very high for a central antagonist of the game, beating out the rest of them (if you account for exceptions in Fates of course, see notes above). It may have to do with his constant presence and clashes with Ike. Considering his memorable theme song made it into Smash Bros. as well may be a contributing factor. Consider the other main antagonist, Ashnard, placed somewhere in the middle at 33.
Mia, a female Myrmidon, continues the trend of the high ranking characters of her class. However, unlike Joshua and Marisa in FE8 or Rutger and Fir in FE6, her male counterpart Zihark placed much farther down in 23rd place, right next to the other Swordmaster of the game, Stefan. It seems perhaps the male Myrmidon/Swordmasters didn’t place that well (compared to the female) this time around, breaking another trend.
Titania, like Seth, is a pre-promoted paladin from the start of the game who continues to have a presence in the story. For this reason she likely placed higher than most pre-promotes (or Jagen characters) do.
Lethe placed highest laguz this time, with Ranulf following up slightly farther down the list, though Tibarn is close behind. Tibarn is interesting because he is only playable in the very late game, but his ongoing story presence likely made him memorable to players.
Greil placed on the top 20, rare for someone who is more of an early game presence and an otherwise non-playable character for the main story.
When we look toward the bottom of the list, we see the last five places are NPCs who only really exist in the story; some that are mention a few times offhand (like Renning in 61st). As such, Bastian is the lowest placing playable character, which may be attributed to him being pre-promoted and a late game entry.
Makalov, notable for not being the most favorite of many fans, placed rather low as expected –though still beat out Nasir and Ulki. Ena and Calill, the least voted female characters, still won out above him, but all lost to Devdan, who is a bit of a running joke among staff as well.
To fully understand the Tellius results though, we have to take a look at Radiant Dawn to see where some of these votes may have went (or, in Ike’s case, were taken from).
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn (FE10)
|In-Game Placing||Overall Place||Character||Total Votes|
- A total of 102,367 votes were cast across all the characters of this game.
- That is about 8% of the overall vote.
- Ike is once again in first, but with fewer votes at 17,684. He is still the highest scoring male character and overall character of the game, but by nowhere near as high of a margin.
- His votes only contribute 17% of the votes cast for this game this time, down from 38%.
- The Radiant Dawn Ike still appeared on the midterm results, and remained on the top 20 overall male and overall character list.
- Micaiah is in second with 13,491 She is the highest scoring female character of the game and Tellius saga, and placed 17th overall.
- Tibarn is the highest placing male laguz and overall laguz character for this game.
- Nailah beat Lethe as highest placing female laguz.
- The top five characters of this game had 50% of the votes despite only making up 6% of the cast. The game featured a massive cast of 90 characters (that were available to vote for), meaning the distribution is top heavy here, too.
- Seven characters made it to the top 100.
- The game is distributed across the 100-700 range, which few placing beyond 700.
- This game has the second largest cast, next to Genealogy of the Holy War.
- Daniel is the lowest ranked male character in last at 90th place (777/791 overall) and the lowest scoring female character is Almedha 78th (653/791).
- Daniel is an NPC.
- Almedha is an NPC.
- Nealuchi, lowest scorer from FE9, is playable in this game –and hence scored lowest playable character.
We see a different story here compared to Path of Radiance. For one, Ike did place first but by a much slimmer margin. Though his Smash Bros. fame is one potential reason for him still placing highest, it may be due to fan preference (taking Japan into account) for the slimmer FE9 appearance. He has gotten notably bigger in FE10, and while welcomed by some fans, others preferred his appearance (and characterization) in FE9. It is likely his split vote is why he has fewer numbers here than there.
Micaiah, the female protagonist and cover girl of this game, placed highest for female character. Though her character and actions in the story is divisive, her importance to the story is undeniable (to the extent it bothers fans), as well as pure exposure. Many who have not played the game are fond of her design, and she had appeared in Awakening as a DLC character (albeit with a significantly different design). She had no split vote affecting her, and so she placed rather high up.
Mia once again placed high, beating Nephenee for next highest female character. Mia’s design in FE10 looks much more different than her FE9 appearance compared to Nephenee between the games, which may be a factor. Mia was also featured in a CGI scene in the game (with a voice, too), that Nephenee did not, perhaps boosting her presence. Nephenee probably has more exposure story-wise, however, whereas Mia has just one base conversation. This means that ether her votes came from fans of her design, or perhaps from the FE9 fans who got to see more of her character in support conversations and then voted for her FE10 incarnation.
Note that Mia’s FE10 form appeared on the midterm results in 17th place for female characters, which may be another reason that those who may have voted for her FE9 appearance swung for the FE10 one instead.
The male myrmidon of the game, Edward, placed lower down the list and off from Mia by quite a margin (~7000 votes), once again breaking trends set by Rutger/Fir and Joshua/Marisa.
The Black Knight appears here in fifth place, continuing his trend as a popular antagonist, due to similar reasons as FE9. He even beat Soren, however, which is interesting. Soren’s FE10 appearance scored generally lower than his FE9 one, much like Ike’s case. His role in the story was still there as well as other revelations with his character, so it may purely be by design/personal preference.
Sothe, a main character of this game who was just another unit of the previous game, managed to place after Soren.
Tibarn comes in as highest ranked laguz of the game, whereas Lethe fell down to 27th place. Nailah beat Lethe for title of highest ranking female laguz –likely due to her sheer power, unique type, and ongoing story presence. Tibarn managed to outdo Ranulf, who has quite the story presence and character among fans too.
Shinon managed to keep around the same rank in both games, his sharp-tongue quite memorable for fans –but his status as a better unit in this game probably a contributing factor too.
Titania placed much lower on the scale compared to FE9. It may be due to only joining in part 3 of the game with a diminished role. With so many other characters to choose from and less speaking role, it may have contributed to this.
Sanaki on the other hand placed much higher relative to position in FE9, now entering the top 20. This is likely due to increased story role as well as being a playable character.
Zelgius placed higher here too, again likely due to increased story role, though he remains an NPC.
Oliver placed notably high at 24 for what is essentially a joke character (among the devs and the fans). One thing to note is that he did not have a split vote, as he had no option to vote for in FE9. It may mean his votes were all concentrated to one place which is what let him place so high.
As we look toward the bottom of the list, we see many of the Dawn Brigade members placing generally lower. They do have their fans, but perhaps they fell for being out-shined by other characters in the game –as like with Micaiah, their placement and role in the game can be controversial.
At the very bottom of the list is Daniel, in charge of one of the shops. Nealuchi, who placed lowest in FE9, is still here though, despite being playable. I suppose his design and character just did not appeal to many.
The infamous Makalov remains near the bottom too, though Calill placed relatively higher, bumping Ena down (where as their roles were reversed last time). Almedha still placed lower than Ena for lowest ranked overall female character however.
Bastian, the lowest ranked playable character of the last game, still placed low with Ulki (another who was near the bottom last time). A lot of these characters are late-game pre-promotes (Renning, Bastian, etc), but those like Ulki and Nealuchi may just be due to their unconventional designs that many fans may not be used to these days (or even in those days).
Kyza is notable for being forgettable (ironically), and his poll results reflect this.
Even with a strange change of name, Danved still placed low like Devdan did.
It is interesting that Valtome and Hetzel are included, but Lekain (who was a more significant antagonist) is missing.
All in all, it seems the games suffer the most from a split vote, much like the Archanea games did. As such, I decided to combine the votes to take a look at for informational purposes. See below!
Combined votes (Tellius saga):
- On combining: This is for informational purposes, and overall numbers are not presented due to all the complications that can come with it. All characters with same names have been combined regardless of their similarities and differences. Inevitably, characters exclusive to Radiant Dawn as a whole lose out more as they lack any boost.
- Danved and Devdan have been combined.
- The only exception is Zelgius (significant enough I’d say to keep separate from the other he can qualify as, and the fact his votes would not significantly impact his other form).
- A total of 190,767 votes were cast across all the characters of this game.
- That is about 14.9% of the overall vote.
- Ike remains in first with 51,555 This would make him the highest scoring character on the overall poll, as well as highest male.
- His votes make up 27% of the votes cast for the Tellius games.
- Micaiah would still be in second with 13,491votes –but only beating Nephenee by a mere 18 votes!
- Mia lost to Nephenee likewise by a slim margin of 119 votes!
- The top five characters of this game had 54% of the votes despite only making up 5% of the overall cast.
- The top five also have more votes than Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn did as individual games.
- When combined, the cast is the largest in the FE series.
- Amy, an NPC and very minor child character, placed somewhat high despite that. Perhaps the result of a joke vote?
- Daniel dropped to the lowest ranked male character in last at 95th place, and Almedha at 93rd for lowest female character.
- Both lowest scorers are NPCs.
- The lowest scoring playable character is thus Nealuchi, followed by Kyza.
Wow, what a difference the combined scores make. One important thing to get out of the way first is acknowledging why the games had a split vote. Some characters don’t change much between games, such as Nephenee. Someone like Ike, however, was quite different in his appearance as well as somewhat in his character. Appearance is the more notable one here, though, as the original goal of this poll was to gauge which characters fans would want to see in a new outfit, and hence, appearance. It would make a difference to vote for the slimmer FE9 Ike to the buff FE10 one.
So if they were to keep Ike split but Nephenee combined, there would likely be issues with who is an exception and who isn’t. As such, for simplicity, votes were split simply by game. While it is a questionable polling method that harmed some characters (as you can see on the poll), it is understandable why it was done this way.
Getting to the numbers though, if they had been combined, Ike would be top contender across the board. His Smash Bros fame must be the largest contribution considering the Tellis games sold least in the series (since it came west). Micaiah’s numbers are telling, the huge gap between Ike and Micaiah reflecting the stark difference of Smash Bros. representation versus not (such as, again, Roy and Lilina in FE6).
However, that is not to underestimate Micaiah’s popularity, considering she still beat a combined Nephenee and Mia (though, by not that much). Consider Micaiah’s role in the story versus these other two, and you will see those slim votes are really telling. Nephenee and Mia combined would have topped Nowi on the overall female poll for 10th and 11th places respectively.
Likewise, the Black Knight would remain highest scoring antagonist (with the usual exceptions) and place below Donnel and above Lon’qu for highest scoring males.
Soren, even when combined, still falls below the 10,000 mark. He would place higher on the male chart above Gaius in 15th, but not by much.
After Soren, there is a big drop off again, falling from 9000 to 3000 in a single placement. It starts to peter off from there.
At the bottom of the combined list we have NPCs, antagonists, pre-promotes, etc. The lowest scoring playable character is hence Kyza, in 85th place! He is the lowest ranking laguz too. He just doesn’t get a break.
It’s a little sad that Hetzel scored lower than Valtome… I suppose indecision was deemed a worse trait than being a despicable senator!
When it comes to the numbers, Smash Bros. makes a huge difference in votes. Ike’s presence in the Smash Bros. series since Brawl makes him recognizable to audiences beyond the Fire Emblem fanbase. The evidence lies in the fact that the Tellius games’ had lower sales than others that came west, yet Ike scored higher than many in those other games (beating Hector in FE7, Ephraim in FE8, Chrom in FE13, etc). Even when uncombined, his FE9 incarnation placed number one, and his FE10 self also placed on the top 20. It is quite telling.
Micaiah tells the story of Tellius games without much Smash Bros. representation, much farther down than Ike (though still out doing others in her game quite well). Even after combined results, she places highest for female character.
The Black Knight placed extremely high for a primary antagonist, though as I stated before, it depends on your definition of “antagonist” (considering the Fates siblings could be too depending on the path).
The ones who suffered the most from the split vote are hence those like Nephenee and Mia. They would have placed much higher overall had their votes not been split, especially Nephenee who’s changes are negligible between the games. Of course, keep in mind what I wrote in the notes regarding why votes were split, due to the exceptions probably only leading to complications.
The bottom of the lists usually are late game pre-promotes, NPCs, antagonists –or Makalov and Kyza, characters that were already unpopular within the fanbase.
The overall votes for Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn were split among many, many characters (especially in the latter game), making what seems like impressive numbers at first dwindle down when looked at as purely votes per character. The lack of VC options for these games makes them hardly accessible to those aiming to play them –another reason that Ike was the one who shot far above the other characters of this game.
That wraps up the Tellius saga! Tomorrow we journey to the “new” era of Fire Emblem games, looking at Awakening and what a difference the influx of fans made to the series and the poll as a whole.
As usual, feel free to leave any comments you may have or observations of your own below!