If the game hadn’t sold more than 250K copies, the series would have ended with the 3DS title.
Fire Emblem: Awakening was released for the Nintendo 3DS this year, and aside from garnering a decent amount of sales, was showered with critical praise. It also performed better than previous games in the series like Radiant Dawn.
However, the team at Intelligent Systems had a tough role ahead already. Due to previous games not performing up to expectations, Nintendo delivered the ultimatum that the series would exist if Awakening didn’t sell more than 250,000 units according to an interview with the developer in Spanish publication Hobby Consolas.
This lead to an influx of ideas, including setting the game in the real world, but eventually the decision was made to include past loved systems such as marriages and the ability to have children to appeal to series veterans.
To lure in new gamers though, the Casual Mode came into being. One of Fire Emblem’s hallmarks has been permanent character death – it gave battles a different kind of tension, and insured you stayed invested in your units all the way to the end.
However, according to Nintendo’s Hitoshi Yamagami, the Casual Mode offered a kind of security to gamers. “Considering how valuable time is to gamers, Casual Mode came about to avoid causing them to lose this time. If we made them waste two hours playing because one of the characters fell in the field of battle, it would not be received well nowadays.”
Lo and behold – Fire Emblem: Awakening sold more than 450,000 units in Japan, and more than 240,000 units in North America. Hopefully the series will continue to live on and appeal to both new and old fans in the process.