Roy (ロイ, Roy) is the protagonist of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, the sixth game in the Fire Emblem series of tactical role-playing games. His debut in Super Smash Bros. Melee along with Marth increased global interest in the series, prompting future titles to be released internationally from the seventh installment onwards.
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was nearing the end of its development during the development of Super Smash Bros. Melee, the first Smash game to include Fire Emblem content. The Binding Blade was originally scheduled to be released prior to Melee itself, although it was delayed into 2002. The inclusion of Roy in Melee - a decision made with no knowledge of release dates - was a successful ploy to Japanese audiences for both Melee and The Binding Blade; however, since this involved a game franchise never distributed outside of Japan beforehand, Nintendo was wary of keeping the unfamiliar fantasy swordsmen in Melee in its overseas releases. The decision was made to keep them in based on the approval of western gamers and him being "fun", and Marth and Roy's popularity in Melee is generally considered to be a factor in the Fire Emblem franchise gaining international interest from gaming audiences, leading to it receiving regular international releases.
Roy hails from Lycia, one of six nations of the land of Elibe, and is the son of Eliwood, ruler of the Lycian noble house of Pherae. The game begins with Roy called back home from his studies in the province of Ostia in response to the militant nation of Bern launching invasions of Elibe's other realms. As Eliwood has fallen ill, Roy is entrusted with leading Pherae's army alongside the other armies of the Lycian League against Bern and its ruler, Zephiel, who displays a mysterious thirst for the destruction of human rule. Zephiel's errant younger sister, Princess Guinivere, escapes Bern and comes to Roy in defiance of her brother's motives, hoping to negotiating a treaty with Lycian nobility. Roy quickly agrees to her proposal to search for a peaceful means to end Bern’s aggression.
The war, and their quest to end it, takes Roy and Guinivere across Elibe. They fight the forces of Bern and opportunistic traitors within other countries, unite other lands behind their cause, and learn of Zephiel's ambition to return Elibe to dragon rule to right what he views as a wrong: The Scouring, an ancient war in which humans drove dragons out of Elibe. To achieve their mission, Guinivere entrusts Roy with the Fire Emblem, an important gemstone in the culture of Bern which Roy uses to unlock the Binding Blade, a powerful weapon from the age of the Scouring once wielded by the forefather of Bern, Hartmut. Once he has the Binding Blade, Roy invades Bern and defeats Zephiel in his own castle, then - in the game's good ending - embarks on a quest to find Zephiel's ally Idunn, a soulless Demon Dragon created by ancient dragons to fight back against humanity, seeking to undo the damage that the dragons did to her. Regardless of the ending the player achieves, the game ends with Roy returning to Pherae and helping rebuild, eventually succeeding his father as its marquess.
Roy is an upstanding and thoughtful fifteen year-old young man with a natural proclivity to help and support others. While he would prefer to avoid bloodshed and works to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict, he maintains a strong resolve to see peace return to Elibe. He is a talented tactician in his own right, and unusually is perceptive and cunning for his age: he is able to trick a traitorous vassal in his group into exposing himself, and he reacts calmly and tactically to surprises and disturbing news. His childhood friend Lilina describes him as somewhat socially awkward, and he is quite oblivious to the obvious feelings that some of the women in his army develop for him. Roy is similar to Marth with respect to both characterization and gameplay role, and is the only character in The Binding Blade to be of the Lord character class. As the commander of his army, it is necessary for Roy to seize castles and thrones held by enemy armies to complete chapters and progress in his quest, but if he is defeated in battle, the game is over and the player must restart from their last save point.
Intelligent Systems followed up The Binding Blade with a prequel set twenty years prior to Roy's adventures in Elibe: Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (originally released outside Japan as just "Fire Emblem"), the franchise's seventh installment and the first internationally-released one. The game stars Roy's father Eliwood, whose somewhat older resemblance to Roy was meant to appeal to players of Melee; Roy himself appears as a five-year-old child in the game's epilogue. The game's story is laid out with ten introductory chapters starring one of Eliwood's allies, Lyn, meant to introduce players to the Fire Emblem style of tactical play, with the other 20+ chapters containing the main story. Though it is a prequel, The Blazing Blade is structured so that no knowledge of The Binding Blade is required to understand its story.
Although he did not appear in a new game for nine years after The Blazing Blade, Roy started making regular appearances with Marth and Ike in various Fire Emblem crossovers and spinoffs in 2012 when he appeared as a bonus SpotPass and DLC Einherjar in Fire Emblem Awakening. In 2017, Fire Emblem Heroes featured him as a summonable legendary hero, debuting Ray Chase as his English voice actor, and Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia allows players to summon an illusory phantom of Roy using his Smash Bros. amiibo. Roy has also made frequent appearances in the Fire Emblem Cipher trading card game since 2016.
As a playable character
Main article: Roy (SSBM)
Roy makes his Smash-series debut (and by extension, his debut in any game) as an unlockable character in Melee. He can be battled to be unlocked one of two ways: beating either Classic or Adventure as Marth on any difficulty, or playing 900 Vs. mode matches.
Roy fights with his sword, the Binding Blade (referred to as the "Sword of Seals" in Melee), which is used in most of his attacks, excluding grabs and throws, with his special moves all involving the sword's fiery powers. In contrast to Marth's Falchion, the Binding Blade is most powerful near the hilt of the blade rather than the tip, and has a multitude of fire-based attacks. His neutral special move, the Flare Blade, is a chargeable sword strike like Marth's Shield Breaker, but it can be charged for up to five full seconds, after which it will unleash an explosive attack so powerful that many opponents would be instantly KO'd, and Roy receives 10% damage as a side effect. His side special move, the Double-Edge Dance (DED), is a series of up to four sword slashes determined by the number of times B is pressed and which direction the control stick is pressed during each swipe, like Marth's Dancing Blade. Roy's up special move, Blazer, is a slower, more damaging, fire-based version of Marth's Dolphin Slash, and his down special, Counter, operates similarly to Marth's Counter, being a bit harder to time while having potentially higher or lower damage and knockback; the retaliatory sword swipe's power and knockback is based on those of the opponent's attack, multiplied by 1.5, making it very quick at KOing a character like Ganondorf using his Warlock Punch.
Roy is a clone of Marth in that they feature pretty much the same movement and attack style, but their specifications are different. Roy seems at first to be a slower and stronger version of Marth, but he is actually almost the opposite; he has a relatively fast dash, a fast and long dash-dance, and a fast fall speed that gives speed to his short hop aerials almost as well as Marth, and his Double-Edge Dance is very useful in battle, but his moves actually do rather low damage, and it is hard to land his primary KO move, his forward smash. It has been determined that Marth can KO better with his swordplay, which has a sweet spot on the tip of the sword, while Roy's sweet spot is more on the hilt. Roy's forward smash and Flare Blade are decent at edgeguarding, and Roy has a great grab range like Marth and has a potentially effective move in his Counter, but it is his lack of a projectile, short recovery, and easiness to be juggled and combo'd, added with his low general damage and notably bad hitbox placements on his sword-based attacks, that ultimately make Marth the better fighter.
Roy and Marth were a primary subject of the "tier wars" at GameFAQs that lasted between 2003 and 2004, determining which among these two very similar fighters were the better character, and in the end Marth won out over Roy by a very large margin as demonstrated by the current tier list. Today Roy is considered an inferior clone of Marth in Melee, but he has a loyal fanbase nonetheless.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (Fire Emblem series)
In line with the other playable characters, Roy as a playable character is featured on three trophies - a normal trophy acquired by beating the Classic mode with Roy on any difficulty, and Smash Red and Smash Blue trophies are won beating the Adventure and All-Star modes, respectively. His classic mode trophy reads as follows:
Roy is one of the five playable characters in Melee who did not return as a playable character in Brawl. His only appearance in the game is as a sticker of his official artwork from Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. Roy is also referenced in the title of Winning Road - Roy's Hope, an included theme from his game that can play on the Castle Siege stage.
Main article: Beta elements (SSBB)#Scrapped characters
While Roy does not appear as a playable character in Brawl, data of what appears to be the character has been uncovered through hacking, as ef_roy.pac. alongside Dr. Mario and Mewtwo The exact reason why the data is included is unknown, though it is commonly believed that Roy was planned to be included as a playable character, before being cut for unknown reasons. Of particular note is that the data for Roy includes his own unused fanfare, as "snd_bgm_Z39_FROY", further indicating that he was intended to be playable in Brawl.
As a playable character
Main article: Roy (SSB4)
Roy again did not return as a playable character in the base version of Super Smash Bros. 4. In mid-April 2015, Roy's presence as downloadable content was leaked in datamining of the 1.0.6 update. He was ultimately released as DLC on June 14th, 2015. He received a brand-new redesign with added elements from his artwork as an Einherjar from Fire Emblem Awakening. His moveset underwent drastic changes in his transition from Melee, having been buffed and partially reworked as a semi-clone of Marth.
Roy's inverse-tipper mechanic means he is less reliant on spacing compared to Marth, yet also means he must get dangerously close to opponents to strike with his sword's sweetspot. He received some noteworthy buffs from Melee to SSB4, with improved mobility being the best example, with increased running speed and among the fastest air speed in the game. The introduction of rage also benefits Roy's already heavy-hitting moves. However, he also received direct and indirect nerfs, due to the removal of wavedashing and L-cancelling weakening his approach, as well as decreased hitbox range on his attacks. Roy currently places 42nd out of 55 on the SSB4 tier list, earning average tournament results.
As a playable character
Main article: Roy (SSBU)
Roy, alongside the entire playable cast of the series, returns as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate after being DLC in the last installment. Like in Melee, he is an unlockable fighter. For the first time in the series, he is fully voiced in English in the non-Japanese versions with the lines provided by Ray Chase, reprising his role from Fire Emblem Heroes.
Transitioning from SSB4, Roy has received significant buffs, particularly with his range, speed, and frame data. These improvements have considerably helped him with closing distance and attacking with the base of the Binding Blade.
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