Fire Emblem (universe)
The Fire Emblem universe (ファイアーエムブレム, Fire Emblem) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties hailing from Nintendo and Intelligent Systems' Fire Emblem series of fantasy tactical role-playing games. This long-running series had only seen releases in Japan, with Nintendo declining to localize abroad until two of the series' stars, Marth and Roy, appeared as playable characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Their appearance in the game sparked enough global interest for the series to begin international distribution. Since then, Fire Emblem as a franchise began to grow and expand beyond its foundations, with the protagonist of Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Ike, appearing in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In Super Smash Bros. 4, they were joined by Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem Awakening at launch and Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates as DLC. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, they were joined by Chrom from Fire Emblem Awakening.
During the early years of Nintendo as a game developer, a small team was assembled to develop games that were far different from the company's usual titles. This team became known as Intelligent Systems and they would almost immediately become a second-party developer for Nintendo. Their first game in their transition to simulation-based games was Famicom Wars, a turn-based strategy game set in modern military times. Following that title's success, Intelligent Systems sought to make a new game that was like Famicom Wars but with a medieval fantasy setting that was popularized by Dragon Quest at the time. The first title in what would become their long-running strategy RPG franchise was Fire Emblem: Ankoku Ryū to Hikari no Tsurugi (official translation "Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light"), released on the Famicom in Japan in 1990. It was both one of the earliest games in the turn-based strategy genre and one of the first such games to incorporate JRPG elements, but held flat initial sales. This, taken together with how the original Final Fantasy did not sell well in Western markets at the time, prompted Nintendo to decide not to release the game to Western markets. It took at least two months for Japanese sales to improve strictly from the spreading of word of mouth, leading Intelligent Systems to release what became a large number of follow-up installments under the Fire Emblem name, all of them consistently Japan-exclusive: Fire Emblem Gaiden for the Famicom in 1992; Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem for Super Famicom in 1994; Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War for Super Famicom in 1996; and Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 for Super Famicom in 1999.
While Super Smash Bros. Melee was under development for the GameCube, HAL Laboratory answered Japanese fan requests to include the main character from the first Fire Emblem continuity, the swordsman and hero-prince Marth, as a playable character. At the time, Intelligent Systems was developing the sixth Fire Emblem title, The Binding Blade, for the Game Boy Advance, and HAL Laboratory took the Fire Emblem representation a step further by including its main character, Roy, as another playable character in Melee to help promote the then-upcoming game. Nintendo of America was initially apprehensive about keeping these two then-unfamiliar fantasy swordsmen as playable combatants in the North American release, but enough Western players previewing the game during debug testing expressed interest in them that it was decided to keep them in, while only leaving their voices in Japanese.
The decision revolutionized the series's global presence. Marth and Roy were among the most popular characters in Melee worldwide, and this popularity, in tandem with the unprecedented western success of Advance Wars, were the driving forces behind Nintendo's decision to localize and release nearly every subsequent Fire Emblem title worldwide. This began with the 2003 Game Boy Advance prequel to The Binding Blade, simply entitled Fire Emblem outside of Japan (and given the subtitle Rekka no Ken in its Japanese version, officially translated as "The Blazing Blade"). Internationally released entries since then include Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones for Game Boy Advance in early 2005, Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance for GameCube in late 2005, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn for Wii in 2007, and Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon for Nintendo DS in 2009. The only Fire Emblem title not released internationally since The Binding Blade was New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Shadow for the DS in 2010.
After what amounted to a four-year hiatus from a Western perspective, a new entry was released worldwide as Fire Emblem Awakening on Nintendo 3DS in 2012 in Japan and 2013 overseas. Due to the waning interest and dwindling commercial sales of Fire Emblem titles, Awakening was intended to be the last game in the franchise if it did not perform well. In response, the developers sought to make this title a culmination of the series up to that point, incorporating elements and mechanics from throughout the series's history such as marriage and children, online battles, the Weapon Triangle, a player avatar, and Casual Mode. Contrary to expectations the game was released to widespread success, selling over 250,000 copies within its first week and over a million copies worldwide, subsequently revitalizing interest in the Fire Emblem franchise more than ever before. This resulted in subsequent titles riding the wave of success that Awakening started. Almost immediately, Nintendo requested a sequel to be developed for the 3DS due to Awakening's unprecedented success. Fire Emblem Fates was revealed for the Nintendo 3DS in January 2015 and released in Japan on June 25th of the same year, with the game receiving overseas releases the following year. Unlike any previous installment, the game was released in three versions — Birthright, Conquest and Revelation — with each version focusing on a different facet of the conflict between the royal families of Hoshido and Nohr. All three versions retain the same world and cast of characters, but had different recruitable units and approaches to difficulty: Birthright being the easiest, Conquest being the hardest, and Revelation serving as a middle ground between the two. Both this and the previous installment were also known for heavily incorporating downloadable content, which consisted of additional maps, story scenarios, and recruitable units to further replayability. Fates went on to see as much commercial success as its predecessor across all three versions, even going so far as for Nintendo to declare the series a "major IP" for the company.
In January 2017, four additional Fire Emblem games were announced: Fire Emblem Heroes, a mobile title bringing together characters from all corners of the series's history; Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden from the ground up for the Nintendo 3DS (and additionally the final mainline title for the system); Fire Emblem Warriors, a hack-and-slash spinoff in the vein of the Zelda spinoff Hyrule Warriors for the Nintendo Switch and New Nintendo 3DS systems; and a new core series installment due for release on the Nintendo Switch, later revealed to be Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which would release on July 26th, 2019. The last title marks the series's first return to home consoles since Radiant Dawn over a decade prior and would be the series's first appearance on an HD platform.
As a series of strategy RPGs set in pseudo-medieval, sword-and-sorcery fantasy settings, the many Fire Emblem games share a variety of distinctive series trademarks; there is less emphasis on complex field effects and unique class ability sets and more of an emphasis on effectively positioning stronger and weaker units relative to each other so that they have the best chances to survive waves of weaker enemy units thrown at them. Leveling up from experience points tends to award incremental statistical boosts based on chance, and units are often able to reliably kill certain types of enemy units one at a time depending on the types and properties of the multiple weapons they can equip (weapons that often interact in rock-paper-scissors relationships and have their own durability meters). Units that fight near each other are often granted the opportunity to deepen their emotional bonds, which sometimes bloom into romantic relationships and affect their personal endings at the end of the main story. And what is easily noted as the most oft-noted convention of the series is that when one of the player's units has fallen in battle, that character and unit is well and truly dead for the rest of the game, which can have potentially serious effects on the player's capacity to complete the rest of the game (and in some cases may affect the story itself). Starting with the twelfth entry, the series began to offer an alternative "Casual" mode that breaks away from this norm, so that characters do not permanently die from falling in battle and are allowed to fight again in future battles.
Fire Emblem narratives are often broad, sweeping epics, filled with particularly high amounts of character interaction in later games, that typically focus on a young warrior and noble finding his place in a self-contained continent where countries and nations engage in war and competitions of political intrigue. This main character, often assigned the "Lord" class in-game, gathers literally dozens of distinctive characters into a growing, personalized "army" that fights alongside him in skirmishes during his journeys across the continent. Over a dozen games have been released, and they take place within at least five separate timelines and continuities—"sub-universes" that have nothing to do with each other—typically defined by the main, isolated continent the game takes place on. And unless otherwise indicated, each subsequent installment introduces a new cast of characters to recruit to one’s party much like Pokémon. One of the common elements between these separate stories is how they often involve an important plot device named the "Fire Emblem", which differs in form and relevance between each continuity.
The different sub-universes explored thus far are explained below (excluding spin-off titles):
In Super Smash Bros.
While there wasn’t any Fire Emblem content in the first Smash game, according to an interview from Making of Fire Emblem: 25 Years of Development Secrets, Masahiro Sakurai wanted to include Marth as a playable character, but was unable to do so due to time constraints.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Fire Emblem is featured in Super Smash Bros. Melee by two playable characters, their respective game trophy sets, appropriate musical and sound selections in the sound test; this stands in contrast to other franchises which additionally have stages, items and more trophies as well. There is evidence that a Fire Emblem stage was planned, however; hidden in the game's debug menu is a stage entitled AKANEIA, named after the fictional continent where Marth's story takes place, but it was apparently never designed or removed completely, as attempting to access it from the debug menu will only crash the game. Additionally, at the time of Melee's release, no Fire Emblem title had been released outside of Japan, making Marth and Roy the first Japan-only characters to appear in the Super Smash Bros. series, both coincidentally as secret characters.
Full Trophy List
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Perhaps in response to Fire Emblem garnering popularity worldwide, the series continues to be represented in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Marth returns, with newcomer Ike unofficially replacing Roy as the second playable Fire Emblem character, although Roy does cameo as a sticker. The Fire Emblem content has been greatly expanded from Melee, now featuring the first fully playable Fire Emblem stage and many new music tracks and collectables that span from the very first game up to the then-most recent installment, Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the Fire Emblem characters occupy the eighth column alongside the EarthBound characters (both of these series were originally Japan-only RPG franchises that later saw at least one entry released in the West).
Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem is a Japan-exclusive playable masterpiece. It stars Marth and was the first Fire Emblem game released for the Virtual Console in Japan.
In Super Smash Bros. 4
The Fire Emblem series had undergone a heavier boost in representation than ever before in the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games. In total, there are the Brawl veterans with visual updates, a lost veteran returning as downloadable content, and the addition of three newcomers (the most newcomers any universe has in the game), all of them being relatively modern in the franchise's history and one of them being DLC as well. All past Smash Bros. stages from this series, the majority of soundtracks and other collectables have remained largely intact and were further expanded in the new games.
Smash Tour item
for Nintendo 3DS
for Wii U
Main article: List of SSB4 Music (Fire Emblem series)
Arrangements and remixes unique to SSB4.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash titles.
Compositions and arrangements directly sourced from the Fire Emblem series with no alterations.
"Omen / Main Theme" from Fire Emblem Awakening was used in "By Book, Blade, and Crest of Flame", the reveal trailer for Robin and Lucina. It is not in either of the final games.
Main article: List of SSB4 trophies (Fire Emblem series)
Collectible trophies that appear in both the 3DS version and the Wii U version.
for Nintendo 3DS
A trophy of Tharja was planned and was seen in-game during the ESRB review period, but was scrapped for the final release.
for Wii U
Only one Trophy Box appears in the Wii U version. It is titled "Heroes of the Emblem".
Main article: Masterpieces
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light is a Japan-exclusive masterpiece.
In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The series has seen a slight boost in representation, incorporating elements from the post-Fire Emblem Fates titles. This is the first title since Melee where all Fire Emblem characters must be unlocked. For the first time, the series has an item represented in the game in the form of the Killing Edge. All past stages and music tracks return plus a deluge of remixes, as well as the introduction of one new Echo Fighter, two new Assist Trophies, and Spirits from across the series. Lastly, all of the fighters now speak English in overseas versions.
Every Fire Emblem stage from past titles return.
Main article: List of SSBU Music (Fire Emblem series)
Fire Emblem received 10 new tracks for Ultimate.
Arrangements and remixes from previous Smash games.
Tracks taken directly from their home games.
Main article: List of spirits (Fire Emblem series)
The kanji aruji "主" denotes a Master Spirit.
Games with elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
Main article: Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light
Marth was included as an unlockable playable character in Melee and Brawl and later became a starter character in Smash 4. His inclusion, along with Roy's, gave the series the worldwide exposure that led to the decision to release future Fire Emblem installments globally.
A stage based on the continent of the game was originally intended to appear in Melee. It was, however, unfinished and cannot be properly accessed even with a hacking device.
Two songs from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light can be heard on Castle Siege:
A third song, "The Chosen Ones", was intended to be included in Brawl, but was removed. The "Fire Emblem" track heard in all games since Melee is a medley of the original game's character recruitment music, "Come, Join Us", and the series's overall main theme. Another arrangement of "Come, Join Us" can be heard in the Wii U version as part of the "Meeting Theme Series Medley", a My Music option for the Coliseum stage.
From Brawl onward, Marth's Final Smash is the "Critical Hit", based on a random percentage algorithm mechanic from the game that, if triggered, deals triple the usual damage inflicted.
The Falchion, Marth's primary weapon, debuted in this game, and its design in the Super Smash Bros. series matches its appearance in this game and in Mystery of the Emblem.
The track "With Mila's Divine Protection (Celica Map 1)" is a music choice for Castle Siege in Brawl and in the Wii U version. The Wii U version also features a remix of the battle theme from this game on the Coliseum stage. Said theme is also featured in "Lords-Showdown", a remix taken from Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. that is used in Ultimate.
Main article: Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem
Marth's design in Melee and Brawl is based on his design in this game.
The track "Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem Medley" remixes various tracks from this game and plays on the Coliseum stage. Ultimate includes two more remixes originating from this game, "Under This Banner" and "Advance".
"Edge of Adversity", the song played during the end of Chapter 5 of this game, is remixed in Ultimate.
In all of his appearances, Marth has had a white color swap based on the outfit of Leif, the main character of Thracia 776. Also, Robin's yellow color swap is based on a playable character in Thracia 776, Eyvel. As the game is set in the same world as Genealogy of the Holy War, it shares the same character recruitment theme heard in SSB4's "Meeting Theme Series Medley".
The main hero, Roy, was included as an unlockable playable character in Melee to promote the game's then-upcoming release in Japan. His inclusion, along with Marth's, gave the series the global exposure that led to the decision to release future Fire Emblem installments worldwide.
The song "Winning Road - Roy's Hope" is one of the songs that can be heard on Castle Siege. In The Binding Blade, this song was the player phase map theme played when three or less enemies remain in a chapter. A slightly modified version of this song also appears in Fire Emblem (The Blazing Blade) with a near-identical function. Ultimate adds in a remix of "Beyond Distant Skies - Roy's Departure", the first map theme from the game.
Appearing stickers from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade are:
Lyn, one of the main characters of the game, appears in Brawl, Smash 4 and Ultimate as an Assist Trophy. She charges her sword the Mani Katti, then disappears and reappears near an enemy, slashing them (resembling her critical hit animation from the original game). This attack is devastatingly accurate and powerful, even against a moving or airborne foe. It can also hit someone as they are holding onto the ledge. There is no known outside range for her to hit in and she can KO at percents as low as 32%. This attack can only be avoided with a well-timed airdodge or roll.
Appearing stickers from Fire Emblem (The Blazing Blade) are:
Brawl contains a remix of "Preparing to Advance" on the Castle Siege stage. This music originally played during the combat preparation screens in The Sacred Stones, when the player would set up their army, items, map placements, and options before each battle. In the Wii U version, the "Meeting Theme Series Medley" incorporates the character recruitment theme from this game, "Comrades".
This game's main character, Ike, was included in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. In addition, the characters King Ashnard and the Black Knight are trophies and stickers, with the latter also eventually appearing as a Mii Swordfighter costume in SSB4, then an Assist Trophy in Ultimate. Mist and Greil, Ike's sister and father respectively, also appear as stickers. Furthermore, four music tracks that are used in the Castle Siege stage are taken directly from Path of Radiance; "Crimean Army Sortie", "Power-Hungry Fool", "Against the Dark Knight" and "Victory is Near".
As with Path of Radiance, Ike is one of the main characters in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. His design in SSB4 was updated to match his Radiant Dawn appearance. Sothe, The Black Knight, Micaiah, and Queen Elincia are major characters in the game and appear as trophies. Ike in his Radiant Dawn attire, Micaiah, and Sothe are all featured as stickers in Brawl. "Ike's Theme" appears as a My Music choice in Brawl and in the Wii U version, with "The Devoted" and "Time of Action" joining in the latter game. All three tracks appear in their original arrangements, taken directly from Radiant Dawn.
Marth's design in SSB4 and Ultimate is based on his design from this remake.
Fire Emblem Awakening is strongly represented in the Wii U and 3DS games. It introduced the Arena Ferox stage,which appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS. One of Awakening's several DLC map packs is entitled "Smash Bretheren" as an allusion to Fire Emblem's presence in the Super Smash Bros. series. The maps' story revolves around Chrom's encounter with the wandering Einherjar armies of Roy and Ike, both sporting their original respective designs. One of the rewards upon completion is the Einherjar card for Lyn, who sports a completely new design from her original appearance. Lucina and Robin from Fire Emblem Awakening were revealed to be playable fighters in Super Smash Bros. 4. Chrom makes an appearance in Robin's Final Smash and Palutena's Guidance conversation, has a Mii Fighter costume based on him and finally becomes playable in Ultimate. Roy's design as a downloadable fighter is partially inspired from the DLC artwork for his appearance as a downloadable Einherjar from this game.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS uses "Id (Purpose)", Awakening's final map theme, as a track in Arena Ferox. The Wii U version adds "Conquest (Ablaze)" and "Duty (Ablaze)", two battle themes from the game, on the Coliseum stage. Ultimate also adds a remix of "Id (Purpose)", as well as remixes of "Prelude (Ablaze)" and "Destiny (Ablaze)", two other battle themes from the game.
Tiki, as she appears in Awakening, appears in Ultimate as an Assist Trophy.
Corrin is the default player Avatar and main protagonist of this installment. Amiibo characters of Marth, Ike, Robin, and Lucina appear as recruitable units. As the Avatar converses with them, they will subtly allude to their appearances in Super Smash Bros. 4. In Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, "Lost in Thoughts All Alone" and its rearrangement play on the Castle Siege and Coliseum stages if Corrin is been downloaded. Downloading Corrin on the 3DS version also comes with bonus trophies of Ryoma and Xander, in addition to the rearrangement of "Lost in Thoughts All Alone". A new remix of the song would later be featured in Ultimate.
Two songs from this game are remixed for Ultimate: "Gear Up For ...", the main menu background song, and "Fire Emblem Theme (Heroic Origins)", which plays on the game's title screen. The Assist Trophy characters Tiki and the Black Knight reuse their voice clips from this game. This is also the first game where Roy speaks in English; thus, it marks the first time Ray Chase voiced him, a role which he would reprise in Ultimate. Notably, it is the first mobile game to be represented in any way in Super Smash Bros.
In Ultimate, four music tracks from this game appear: "March to Deliverance", "Those Who Challenge Gods", "Lord of a Dead Empire", and "The Scions' Dance in Purgatory". Two Spirits of Alm and Celica as pairs both young and mature. Finally, the Spirit artwork for Palla, Catria, and Est, collectively known as the Pegasus Sisters, uses art from this game.