A user named Hardin on serenesforest.net passed a small interview found in an old guide for Fire Emblem: Gaiden to me to translate in celebration of the game’s 25th anniversary in March.
Specifically, it is from the Ape Encyclopedia Fire Emblem Gaiden, located on pages 131 and 132. It features an interview with Fire Emblem series creator Shouzou Kaga. This interview was conducted a long time ago, before the release of Mystery of the Emblem (FE3, which came out in 1994)
Since then, news of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia came to light, making this more relevant to readers who may be curious. This article was actually written January 19th, soon after the news of the game was released. (Posting was delayed because I wanted Hardin to post it first, as intended, in March).
A: Shouzou Kaga
Even more empathy toward the units!
Q: This game definitely has stronger RPG aspects to it compared to the previous game. Was this change in system intentional?
A: Well, first of all we wanted you to feel more empathy toward the units.
Next, we changed the system to address one of the biggest complaints of the previous game –making a less cumbersome map interface. But in doing so it probably lost some of the charm that made it a strategy game in the first place.
It probably feels more like a regular RPG as a result of these changes.
Q: It was quite a big change having a World Map this time. It would have been nice to have something like that in the previous game huh…?
A: It was to make the story easier to experience and reduce obstacles that may hinder players otherwise. In this new system, you can return to the map screen to try again, for instance.
Q: I was a little surprised by enemy units appearing on the World Map when I first saw it.
A: Frankly speaking, they are simply there as fodder to gain experience from. If you control easy-to-defend areas of the battle map, then it shouldn’t be difficult to deal with them at all.
Strategy and the World Map
Q: Speaking of maps, there are more Battle Maps [than the previous work] in this game. However, I feel the previous game was more difficult in terms of strategy involved.
A: It does seem that way. However, we intend to add strategic elements to how you move your party around on the World Map instead.
Also, though the game does feature nearly twice as many maps, due to space limitations, some are just maps that are recycled from before. I sort of regret that.
Q: When I tried playing, I feel like the enemies were more difficult than before. Was there a change in their algorithm?
A: Indeed. We considerably improved the algorithm. I won’t go into great detail, but there were quite a few issues in the previous game’s [algorithm] that we vastly improved upon. There were also plenty of cuts made here and there.
In any case, the computer is able to recognize thought patterns now, so strategists will find something in here to enjoy.
Enemies to watch out for: Witches and Bigl
Q: There are powerful enemies in this game known as “Witches” and “Bigl.” Were there any other units that gave your team trouble to implement during development?
A: The “Witch” was by far the most troublesome one. Making them able to warp in out of nowhere and attack proved to be quite difficult. It was often criticized for being overpowered, so we had to fine-tune it quite a bit.
Q: There are types of units that can summon others and increase their numbers. This can significantly influence the game balance, huh?
A: On the contrary, if you take advantage of such a unit as a trove of experience to raise your own units, then it probably balances itself out.
All the enemy units may be stronger than before, but they each have their distinctive traits and trade-offs that stick out like that.
Meeting and Parting on the Battlefield…
Q: I had a small question regarding the story. The aim seems to be having two main characters. Was this an idea you had from the start?
A: So, in the previous work, the story was relatively linear.
Originally I wanted to make something unique with multiplayer, which would have had strategy RPG elements. We wanted to eliminate the notion of being able to raise a lot of units but using only a select few, and to do that we figured a two episode format may work with the stories crossing over one another now and then. It would have made a more enticing story, too.
Q: What is the theme of this story anyway?
A: Hmm…that’s a difficult question…
Put simply, it is a war story from the perspective of a boy and a girl enduring hardships as they grow and reach a mutual understanding with one another and eventually reunite.
The Archanea saga’s conclusion will be on the Super Famicom!
Q: What is the story connection, if any, to the previous game?
A: The only clues are the three Pegasus sisters and Zeke. Let’s just say these events take place after the previous game. (Laughs).
Q: I’m sorry to bring this up so suddenly, but will there be a sequel of sorts on the Super Famicom?
A: Well, it’s certainly possible…
Q: If you were making a title, what can you tell us about it?
A: If we are making a title, it would likely be a conclusion to the Archanea saga featuring many beloved characters that would once again appear with the goal of unifying Archanea itself.
It would be definitely be more epic if it were to be on the Super Famicom.
Q: Looking forward to it! Is there anything else you would like to create with this Strategy RPG system after this?
A: I would love to make an epic space sci-fi fantasy with romantic themes. However, I have so many varied ideas for that it’s hard to give a brief summary. Hopefully I can make an announcement sometime down the line though.
Enjoy raising the units you want to use!
Q: Lastly, as the creator of this work, what is the single biggest selling point to this game? What do you want to say to the readers about this game’s greatest appeal?
A: There are many hidden elements in the game that I hope will make you play through the game several times. We made raising your units even more fun this time around. It may seem like a difficult game, but you will find great joy in overcoming these hardships. Please strive to fight until the end, don’t give up, and do your best.
Q: Thank you so much for your time. We look forward to your future success!