"No, YOU Suck!"

A feature at Nightmare Mode in which two brave warriors are pitted against each other in a battle to the death: this is point/counterpoint! Today’s subject: the ability to toggle permadeath in the newest Fire Emblem game. Contestants: Graham and Fernando!


One of the most charming features of the long-running Fire Emblem series is that, when your guys die, they, uh, die. They’re done. There is no magical “life” spell to revive your fallen comrade, no mystical life potions and no auto-life rings or gizmos to help you ward death.

So when you finally build up your army to lay waste to villages and lowly peasants, you don’t want any of them to die. Keeping your guys alive is a very active part of your strategy. You can’t send your mage in to the front lines, for if he dies, he’s dead for good and forever. If someone does die, well, you don’t even blink before you hit that reset button.

Well then THIS should come at a surprise. Developer Intelligent Systems  went at each other pretty hard over the possible elimination of this FE staple.

What?! How COULD THEY?!

As per usual, the removal of a longtime feature or the introduction of a new feature to a very old franchise aaaaaaalways has something to do with making the game more accessible to new players, or making it easier so new players wouldn’t be put off. In the case of Fire Emblem, they thought, maybe, the idea that losing your character forever wouldn’t come across too well with a newcomer to the series.

Can we all “sigh” collectively as gamers, so to keep the “sigh”-ing to a minimum?

I suppose it never occured to them that the very first Fire Emblem had this feature, and gamers were, evidently by the success of the series, very open to it.

The good news is that they aren’t removing this completely, they’re compromising as per usual and giving us a Permadeath Toggle on/off. It shouldn’t come to a surprise to us anymore from Nintendo, this is their whole new MO. Now that it’s happened, it makes me wonder why it took this long for them to “casualize” more of their key franchises.

At the end of the day it isn’t a big deal, we can still toggle it on. But the question begs to be asked: does Nintendo really think that there is that big of a potential consumer base out there that is alienated to such a stalwart franchise like Fire Emblem? Who are they really going for here? I doubt that a strategy RPG like FE would be anyone’s first choice for an RPG game.

I’ll just nod my head and mutter an ‘mmmmmkay’ and cross my fingers hoping this attitude doesn’t spill over to every other franchise that gamers can still call their own upset Fern too too much, because he wields the “Graham is always wrong and he plays crappy games” stick, seemingly and impossibly instantaneously.

Oh, and I’m on a horse. A horse knighted by the Queen herself, with implicit instructions to steal the shitstick back from the Fernando Empire, who’s biggest weakness is the scent of Old Spice emanating from the Queen’s front lines. It makes them all cry in uncontrollable waves of inferiority.




So Mr. Graham, now you complain about optional features? When are you ever going to stop? You are wrong, by the way. You are so wrong you’ve just nuked Indiana’s fridge. In fact, you are so wrong, I can simply hold your elbows and make you hit yourself while repeating Why do you keep countering yourself? .

Nintendo is right for once. I stay behind them 100% when in their belief that if you spend money on a game, you should be able to finish it regardless of skill, just like you are able to finish a book or a movie. I’m not saying you that games should lose all challenges and become super duper easy, but that challenge should be optional (and rewarding) whenever it is possible. Complaining about the mere existence of an easy mode is petty and unnecessary. It’s like complaining about a band selling out. Learn to share your cookies, Timmy. You wondered about the existence potential consumer base to justify this move for a stalwart franchise like Fire Emblem? Well, Nintendo’s rather obvious assumption is that Fire Emblem is limited to its niche of fans for this very reason! Why do you keep countering yourself, Mr. Graham!?

Besides, how is that any different from what hardcore gamers do in Fire Emblem today whenever one of their characters dies? They simply reset the game and restart the chapter all over again. The only think hardcore about that is their willingness to spend more time to cheat the game’s structure. We already are in a situation where nobody in Fire Emblem can die depending on the player’s will to grind the level again – but at least the death switch is more honest about it. Or do you think grinding is challenging? Boy, you are as confused as an Amish person inside Gamestop!

What Intelligent Systems should also do, in addition the death switch, is to prevent people from resetting chapters if they lost someone. I mean, if you failed and allowed your character die, you should live with the consequences until the bitter end – even if the price is to restart a campaign simply because you have no more characters anymore. You were looking for a challenge after all, weren’t you?

Meanwhile, can we stop talking about this silly white elephant in the room and tackle the franchise’s actual problem? The Fire Emblem games have been the same game again for its past 3 iterations! This is a franchise that got NOTHING but a cosmetic makeover after jumping from 2D to 3D, and this new Fire Emblem will be the second iteration ignoring any kind of innovative feature on a console whose WHOLE PURPOSE was to revolutionize gaming. Right now, I can’t find a single reason to buy these new games rather than the GBA ones – and the existence of the death switch certainly isn’t he reason for that.

Now go back to your Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance! I know you liked it! My initial assumption is always that whatever you wrote must be a radiant path of wrongness – and that game is proof!