Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 封印の剣 Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seal) is a Game Boy Advance game released in 2002. It is the sixth installment in the Fire Emblem series, the first for Game Boy Advance and on a handheld platform, and was the last title to be released only in Japan until New Mystery of the Emblem. It was this game which sparked international interest in the franchise, caused by the appearance of protagonist Roy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, paving the way for successive titles to be translated and exported to other countries. It was also the first installment to be made without the involvement of Shouzou Kaga, a prominent figure in the series' creation and the director of every installment through to Thracia 776, who had left Intelligent Systems after Thracia.
The game is set in a new and separate world from its predecessors, the continent of Elibe, a land once wracked by a fierce war between humans and dragons. One thousand years after that conflict, the misanthropic King Zephiel, of the militaristic nation of Bern, has freed the infamous Demon Dragon and engaged the rest of Elibe in a full-scale war with the intent of "freeing" the world from mankind and returning it to its "rightful" dragon owners. In response, Roy, the young heir of Pherae, leads the forces of Lycia in combatting Bern in lieu of his ill father, Marquess Eliwood.
The game was followed up by Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, a prequel set twenty years prior, dealing with Roy's father Eliwood in his youth. It helps flesh out Zephiel's history, and sets up and elaborates upon other aspects of the world of Elibe, some only barely touched upon in The Binding Blade.
1000 years before the events of this game, the land of Elibe was the scene of The Scouring, a brutal war between humans and dragons over the control of the land. Late in this war, mankind forged nine powerful dragon-slaying weapons, the Divine Weapons and the Binding Blade, and gave them to eight powerful fighters who became known as the Eight Legends to use to finish the war. However, the sheer power imbued in the weapons tore apart the world's balance and laws of physics when clashed with the dragon's own potent power, a phenomenon later called the Ending Winter. After the war, fearing the power of the weapons and the possibility of someone using them to cause a catastrophe, the Generals sealed the weapons away in hiding places across the continent, protected by a powerful seal established by one of their number, Bramimond, and once guarded by the lingering spirits of warriors from the war. Over the thousand years, the weapons remained (mostly) undisturbed, and their power - while still formidable - depleted over time.
The fall of the Lycian League
Oppression of The Western Isles
Coup d'etat in Etruria
On Bern's soil
After the Demon Dragon
The Binding Blade is today considered to be the game which codified the general structure and gameplay flow of almost all subsequent Fire Emblem games. Compared to its predecessor, Thracia 776, it is significantly simplified and has dropped numerous features, but also retains some of the stats, mechanics and general concepts introduced by Thracia.
The Binding Blade retains the constitution stat introduced in Thracia, but removes action and the follow-up critical coefficient. Resistance returns to its normal function following its absence in Thracia, and movement and constitution are no longer connected to growth rates. Strength and magic are no longer technically separate stats, but rather are the same value handled differently: physical units treat it as strength, while magical units treat it as magic.
While the support bonus mechanic had existed in a hidden form in prior games, The Binding Blade converted it into its present form, where supports between units are strengthened by their participation in battles alongside each other and are activated by having units talk to each other. It also introduces the affinity system, where each playable unit bears one of seven elemental affinities which dictates what stat boosts they provide to their support partner.
The Trinity of Magic is modified from Thracia 776: fire, thunder and wind magic are consolidated into a single magic type, anima magic. In turn, light and dark magic are integrated into the Trinity of Magic properly rather than their former position as being separate from it: anima beats light, light beats dark, and dark beats anima.
- Main article: List of chapters in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
In an average playthrough, the game is 25 chapters long, not counting any of the sidequests, of which there are six. At two points in the game, the story diverges into two separate alternate routes before later converging to rejoin a single story route, covering a span of six chapters and one sidequest per playthrough. The game features a total of 39 distinct map chapters, including sidequests and the branched routes. Furthermore, the maps of The Binding Blade are widely known for being significantly larger than those of the other Game Boy Advance installments, putting a greater emphasis on the ability to quickly cross the field.
- Main article: List of characters in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
The main story mode of The Binding Blade features 54 playable characters, the largest playable cast of the three Game Boy Advance games and one of the largest of the series as a whole, behind Radiant Dawn and New Mystery of the Emblem. However, on an average playthrough only 51 can be encountered and recruited, as the game's forked routes at two points in the game result in pairs of characters appearing only in one route or the other (Lalum/Elphin, Ekhidna/Bartre, Dayan/Juno). A further eight characters can be unlocked to be used exclusively in the game's Trial Map mode, bringing the total playable cast to 62.
- Main article: List of supports in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
The Binding Blade introduced the support conversation system, an extension of the more rudimentary, behind-the-scenes support systems present in Mystery of the Emblem and Thracia 776. With this system, support bonuses are now obtained by, after characters accumulate the required number of points, having the characters talk to each other, after which their support level increases. This system allowed for a greater level of insight and depth into army members of lesser importance and to their connections and relationships, compared to prior installments where they were by and large left flat and un-fleshed out.
- Main articles: Fire Emblem 64 and Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade pre-release information
The development of The Binding Blade originated with Fire Emblem: Priestess of Darkness (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 暗黒の巫女), an ill-fated title for the Nintendo 64 console which is better known as Fire Emblem 64. When developmental difficulties arose with this Nintendo 64 title, the project was cancelled and development was moved to a new title for the Game Boy Advance platform, which at first was still known as Priestess of Darkness. However, the planning for the game had to start from the beginning due to the difficulties which led to the initial cancellation, so few traces of the Nintendo 64 original remained in the Game Boy Advance product; the only elements which are confirmed to have carried over without major changes are the characters Roy and Karel.
The Game Boy Advance version of Priestess of Darkness was first announced in August 2000, when it appeared in a list of games to be showcased in the following year's Nintendo Space World press event. The first footage of the game was demonstrated at that year's Space World. By July 2001, the game had been renamed The Binding Blade, its title in the final release. During its development, protagonist Roy was introduced as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee at the request of Intelligent Systems, in order to promote the game's upcoming release.
As of mid-March 2002, weeks prior to the game's Japanese release, Nintendo of America had allegedly confirmed their intent to localize and release The Binding Blade internationally, but these plans never eventuated and instead its prequel, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, became the first internationally-released Fire Emblem game.
- Main article: Staff of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade
Unreleased Chinese localization
In late March 2019 an unreleased Chinese localization of The Binding Blade was released by a collector on the internet. Aside from being translated into Chinese, the game is not known to have undergone any major modifications aside from some new splash screens. The translation modifies the game copyright screen to extend to 2007, implying that the translation was done at around that point. Judging by the added iQue splash screen, the translation was done by iQue, a Chinese company involved with Nintendo that handled the localization of several Nintendo titles for the Chinese-speaking market.
As the Chinese translation's credits remain unmodified from the Japanese release, the individuals behind the game translation itself remain uncredited.
Had this version of the game released it would have made The Binding Blade the first Fire Emblem series title released officially in Chinese. Instead, Fire Emblem Heroes would take the title in 2017, with Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia being the first mainline game being released in Chinese, also in 2017.
- Main article: Fan translation#Fire Emblem: The Binding_Blade
The original fan translation of The Binding Blade was produced by the group DTN Translation Division and saw its first release in 2006; the last stable release was in 2006, in a playable yet unrefined state. In 2013-2014, a heavily updated and polished version of the patch was produced and released by gringe of the Serenes Forest forums. Among the patch's improvements is a total retranslation and rewrite of the game's script, updating the game's graphics and fixing untranslated/poorly translated remnants left by the old translation, and revising terminology to bring the game in line with the English releases of its prequel and Fire Emblem Awakening.
- Unused text in the English version of this game's prequel translates this game's title as Sword of Seals.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||Known by this name in official Nintendo sources from the Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade website onward.|
The title refers to the Binding Blade, a powerful weapon obtained by Roy late in the game; this weapon is part of the game's logo.
|• Fire Emblem: Sword of Seals
• Fire Emblem: Sealed Sword
|The Japanese phrase "封印の剣" is somewhat open to interpretation, resulting in several variations in translations of the name. The modern gringe fan translation, however, calls the game "The Binding Blade".|
|Japanese||ファイアーエムブレム 封印の剣||Officially romanized as Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seal.|
|Spanish||Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||As above.|
|French||Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||As above.|
|German||Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||As above.|
|Italian||Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade||As above.|
- NeoSeeker: Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seal (Import)
- VincentASM, The Making of Fire Emblem 64, Serenes Forest, Published: 2015-12-09, Retrieved: 2016-01-03
- IGN staff, Fire Emblem - Maiden of the Dark, IGN, Published: 2001-01-23, Retrieved: 2014-07-06
- VincentASM, Fire Emblem 64, Serenes Forest, Published: 2013-02-25, Retrieved: 2014-07-06
- Harris, Craig, Fire Emblem Hits Japan Airwaves, IGN, Published: 2002-03-15, Retrieved: 2014-03-25
- gringe. (2014-03-13). "FE6 Translation Patch Redux v0.95 - Seriously, we did something". Serenes Forest Forums. Retrieved 2014-03-25
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade official Japanese website
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade Wii U Virtual Console website (Japanese)
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade Fire Emblem Museum section (Japanese, archived by the Wayback Machine)
|Fire Emblem series|