RPGamer was able to participate in an interview with three of the developers of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon.
- Tohru Narihiro, Executive Managing Director for Intelligent Systems and Producer of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
- Masayuki Horikawa, Planning Div. Chief Game Designer for Intelligent Systems and co-Director of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
- Masaki Tawara of Nintendo Co., Ltd. Software Planning & Development Division Production Group No. 2 and co-Director of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon
Along with what is already known about the game's story, the team wanted to highlight a few aspects of the game.
- FE:SD features an enhanced tutorial system to help prime the game for those inexperienced with the system.
- The battle forecast system found in all North American versions of Fire Emblem, but absent from the original NES version, is now included.
- The game is more accessible with six difficulty options.
- FE:SD now offers mid-map save points for safer battling.
- Finally, FE:SD contains multiple Wi-Fi options such as multiplayer battles, unit rentals, and online shops (that use in-game money, not real money).
After discussing the game, the panel began the Q&A session. When asked about remaking more Fire Emblem games, the panel stated that they were currently undecided about this, but would keep their options open, especially if Shadow Dragon was a big hit.
When RPGamer asked what the team's personal thoughts were about what to do next, whether each member was interested in remaking another Fire Emblem or working on an original one, the team had a lot to say.
Tawara, who also worked on Brain Age, stated that he wanted to challenge himself with a new title in the series, one that would add something unique to make it more accessible to a wider range of gamers like Brain Age has. If he did get a chance to remake another game in the series, he would want to tackle the SNES's Seisen no Keifu, as it featured an interesting system where characters could get married and have kids that join the party.
Horikawa stated that he would love to make a new Fire Emblem, as starting fresh gives an open palette for innovation. If he were to remake an older FE, he would want to try Fuuin no Tsurugi as that is the game that features Roy (of Smash Bros. fame). North America is finally getting to experience Marth's story, so Roy should get a chance as well.
Finally, Narihiro spoke to Fire Emblem's twenty year history and how games have now lost their charm. He would like to create an original Fire Emblem that brings together the best from the series in an all-star setting.
Another question focused on unit rentals and character deaths. The team claims that online rentals would help players that have lost units, but the game will feature a re-classing option to help balance out unit availability. If the player loses his healer, he can make another unit a healer and continue without worry.
The panel detailed that the gaiden missions available in game would also be to help players balance out their parties. A powerful unit can be obtained from these missions and the final gaiden mission is designed to help defeat the final boss.
In regards to the plot, the developers stated that they believed that Shadow Dragon is a solid retelling of the original game's story. They did not want to change it and make it confusing by adding fluff.
RPGamer would like to thank all involved in coordinating this interview and the developers for their time. Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon is due out on Feb. 16 for the Nintendo DS. A hands-on impression can be found here.