Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム Echoes もうひとりの英雄王 Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King) is a turn-based strategy role-playing game for the Nintendo 3DS system. It is a remake of the NES title Fire Emblem Gaiden, the second game in the Fire Emblem series.
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As a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia recounts the general story of Gaiden. The remake expands the script and roles of characters significantly.
Like the original, it is set in Valentia in the centuries after the clash between the sibling gods, Mila and Duma. After swearing to go their separate ways, the gods created their own kingdoms: Duma's harsh and militaristic nation of Rigel in the north, and Mila's hedonistic kingdom of Zofia in the south. The game follows Alm and Celica, a pair of childhood friends, as they conduct separate campaigns during a time of crisis in Valentia.
Setting the stage
War of Deliverance
Land of Sorrow
Together to the End
At the behest of a merchant in Zofia port, Alm and Celica escort him by boat to Furia Harbor, a port on the northwest coast of Archanea. After arriving they explore the town and eventually end up hearing of Thabes Labyrinth.
Unsure of why they feel the need to enter the labyrinth, Alm and Celica eventually make their way to its deepest reaches, reading notes left behind by its previous inhabitants, and find corpses donning strange masks and a strange powerful beast. After the beast's defeat the pair notes that the horrific presence doesn't seem entirely gone, and they depart through a warp bearing the Mark of Naga, presumably to resume their overseeing of Valentia's restoration.
Changes and additions to the original
The most obvious change to the game is that every dialogue scene is expanded compared to the original, with many scenes being expanded to the point of almost being unrecognizable by comparison; Gaiden's story had a minimal story presence at best with many of the game's battles featuring no dialogue and few cutscenes. The original game had one, out of place, narration segment for the battle against Nuibaba, while the remake adds new narration and cutscenes at the start of every act. The game also adds many instances of new artwork and pre-rendered cutscenes to enhance story presentation.
Memory Prisms further increase the number of entirely new scenes by adding events that happened in the past. Some of the scenes featured in the prisms, such as Rudolf's relinquishing of Alm, and Duma's and Mila's forging of the Divine Accord, were mentioned in Gaiden but only in passing. Several of the prism scenes, like Berkut and Rinea meeting for the first time and Jesse rescuing Silque are entirely new.
Playable characters in the original had as little as one line of dialogue to express their motivations before joining. Playable characters received much more dialogue both in the main story and through the addition of support conversations and base conversations. The situation was similar for bosses; in the original Gaiden many bosses had no dialogue whatsoever, with some even lacking portraits. The remake remedies this by, at the bare minimum, giving every boss a portrait. While the handful of unique bosses in Act 5: Together to the End remain without dialogue, every other boss in the game received a battle quote and death quote.
The game begins with a new Prologue: Alm and Celica. Technically speaking, the story content of this prologue was present in the original Gaiden's instruction manual but it was added to the game due to modern games no longer including printed instruction manuals.
For Alm's side of the game, Tobin and Gray are elevated to prominent supporting characters. Three new antagonists, Berkut, Rinea, and Fernand were added and feature prominently. Nearly every scene featuring one of the three new antagonists is an addition added by the remake. Slayde, a minor one-off boss in the original game, is also given an expanded role. Additionally, Nuibaba's design was overhauled completely, becoming extremely feminine compared to her ambiguous and somewhat monstrous Gaiden appearance. She was also given more story presence and dialogue which mostly manifests as her interactions with Berkut.
Similarly to Alm's side, Celica's side of the story elevates Boey, Mae, and Saber to prominent supporting characters. The new character Conrad is also a prominent supporting character for Celica's tale. By contrast, Celica did not receive any new antagonists, though Jedah's story presence was greatly expanded and he was given much more dialogue; in the original game he is only introduced in-person late into Act 4: Land of Sorrow, while in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia he appears in cutscenes as early as Act 1: Zofia's Call. Grieth was also given some more dialogue before his actually fought.
The larger story alterations, instead of just additions, take place nearer to the end of the game. Alm's entrapment at the Dragon's Maw was made less prominent compared to the original game; in the original Jedah uses the situation with Alm there to convince Celica to offer herself to Duma, and blatantly disregards Celica's questioning about Mila entirely when she asks him. The remake instead has him convince Celica that Mila is still alive and will speak with Celica, and that becoming Duma's sacrifice will result in the release of Mila. Upon Celica's arrival at the peak of the tower she sees Mila's self-petrified body and is confused as to why Mila would seal herself and Falchion, to Jedah's amusement. She goes through with the sacrifice anyway, despite Mila's state, in false hopes of restoring Duma and Mila.
In Gaiden Celica's offering of herself to Duma originally entailed her and her party engaging Duma and his minions in a hopeless battle to the death at Duma Temple, while Alm, elsewhere, obtains Falchion from Rigel's vaults and defeats the otherwise impervious Duma with it. In the remake Celica's sacrifice changes from a battle to the death to becoming a witch directly under Duma's control, she is then forced to fight Alm in the vault before he can obtain Falchion. Related to these scenes, Mila's ultimate fate is not clearly explained in Gaiden. In the remake her petrified corpse, with Falchion plunged into her brow, is shown again when Alm enters Duma Altar and in the vault; Mila herself appears and speaks to the two after she frees Celica from Duma's control, encouraging them to use Falchion to free Duma from his madness before fading away.
After concluding Act 5 an entirely new Act becomes available where Alm and Celica can travel to Archanea, something that never happens in the original game at all.
While the game's engine is based off those of Fire Emblem Awakening and Fates, Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is a departure from the gameplay of both due to being a remake of a Fire Emblem series game that has always been a bit different.
- Main article: World map
As Gaiden was the first Fire Emblem game to introduce a traversable world map, it is no surprise that Echoes: Shadows of Valentia also features the very same map with virtually no alterations. As in the original, the player returns to the world map after every battle and can move Alm or Celica around freely, giving the choice to either move straight to their next destination or backtrack to visit a prior location for earning experience or other purposes.
In the original Gaiden the world map had turn count; the remake changes this to a date system that is essentially identical in function. The new date system progresses in a manner virtually identical to the original, in which a day elapses every time either Alm or Celica move, or at command by selecting the Rest menu option. On top of the new days measurement each act takes place during a season. Generally nothing happens due to the passage of days, but later in the game enemy armies will move towards Alm or Celica after they move. If an enemy moves onto a location currently occupied by Alm or Celica, a battle commences and the enemy units get to move first. If one of the lords attacks first the battle proceeds as normal.
Dungeons and villages
- Main article: Dungeon
Certain locations on the world map, such as dungeons, villages, or allied castles, can be visited. Unlike the original game, Alm and Celica can no longer move around freely in non-dungeon locations. The game instead uses a system similar to "point and click" games for non-dungeon exploration segments. Villages still serve their purpose of allowing the player to speak with recruitable characters and NPCs to glean information and items. In addition to the dungeons retaining their standard RPG-like movement all of them received greatly expanded layouts, with many not resembling the original game's overly simplistic layouts at all. Encounters in dungeons were also changed from being preset rooms to being triggered by touching roaming enemies.
A fatigue system was introduced as a new mechanic applying to dungeons. As the party progresses through battles in dungeons characters will become fatigued, eventually resulting in a sharp reduction of their maximum HP. Mila shrines can be used to remedy this.
- Main article: Mila Shrine
Mila shrines are unique fixtures found in certain dungeons and other areas, which perform several functions. In the remake their primary purpose is as a save point for the player, which is important in the later longer dungeons in the game. The springs present in the shrines in the original Gaiden were moved to their own rooms in most cases and became separate from the Mila shrines themselves. The statue of Mila is still required to promote units. The remake enhances the class change process by providing a proper menu for the player to manage their unit's enhancements; in the original game promoting villagers resulted in a random possible class that the player had to decline until the desirable upgraded class was randomly selected.
The Mila shrines also have the new feature of accepting offerings of provisions in exchange for alleviating the party's fatigue. Alcoholic provisions may also be offered to restore charges of Mila's Turnwheel.
- Main article: Auto-Battle
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia expands on Gaiden's primitive version of the auto-battle command system. The player may use four commands on all allied units who have not moved yet. The "Charge" command causes all player units to move to attack any nearby enemies, the "Gather" command has them move near Alm or Celica, the "Fall Back" command has units retreat from enemy range, and the "Improvise" command has characters act of their own accord.
The bonus experience system, also formerly called "group experience" in fan materials, allows extra experience to be collected by the entire army, returns from Gaiden.
During a battle, every time a unit fights an opponent, does damage and would normally gain experience, a small amount of experience (usually 1 or 2 points) is added to a group pool. At the end of the battle all accumulated group experience is applied to all units, ensuring all the player's units get at least some experience per battle. For example, if 10 experience was accumulated, all recruited units present will gain 10 experience. However, this experience cannot level units up, capping at 99 experience, so the unit has to gain the last experience the normal way.
In Gaiden this feature was mostly applied invisibly, though Echoes: Shadows of Valentia adds a screen at the end of every battle tallying the bonus experience given to the party.
New features compared to the original
While most of the original game's unique features remain or were enhanced in the remake, several new features were added in addition to them.
With the expansion of villages and dungeons the game includes several new sidequests. Technically speaking, the original game did have some sidequests, such as rescuing a lost child from the Sylvan Shrine, but this game formalizes it into its own system and populates it with several new quests involving new NPCs added to many villages.
Most quests simply involve delivering a desired item or set of items in exchange for a useful weapon or rarer item. Locations with NPCs that have requested an active sidequests are indicated on the bottom screen of the world map with an icon that can be tapped for more information.
Weapons and items overhaul
While the original game's single inventory slot per character remains, numerous new items and weapons were added to the game for the player to use.
The original game features approximately enough weapons and accessories for each character in the cast to hold something with little surplus. The remakes does away with this limited approach by adding currency, Silver Marks and Gold Marks, which was not in the original, allowing the player to purchase or Forge new weapons.
Numerous Provisions, healing foodstuffs, were added to the game and can be used by player characters. The original Gaiden featured no consumable items at all, not even the otherwise series-standard Vulnerary.
- Main article: Combat art
Combat arts, are a type of skill linked to the new weapons and items added to the game, allows units to learn abilities from their equipped weapons and shields by using that weapon often. Skills, in their modern form, were absent from Gaiden, though some weapon and class attributes appearing in the original are re-presented as skills, such as the Recovery skill, featuring in the original as a passive HP regeneration attribute on several weapons and items.
- Main article: Mila's Turnwheel
The new Mila's Turnwheel artifact allows players access to several new features. Its most famous and prominent is to undo player mistakes by rewinding their actions, a first for the Fire Emblem series. The game also has amiibo compatibility, accessed by the turnwheel, similar to Fire Emblem Fates, though the allies summoned from amiibo in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia are not permanent members of the party and vanish after one turn.
The game is fully voiced, outside of certain minor NPCs in villages, which marks this game as the first mainline Fire Emblem series title to have full voice acting. In addition to voicing the standard dialogue scenes, this also allowed the game to use 3D models in cutscenes without needing to use the text box and 2D portraits.
The entire playable cast of Gaiden returns for the remake. Like Shadow Dragon some new playable characters have been added to the roster. The two new characters, Faye and Conrad, bring the total playable roster to 34 characters in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
A selection of new antagonists were also introduced to the game. Most bosses from the original game reprise their roles. One boss from the original game, Shizas, was entirely replaced by Berkut in Act 4, however.
Overall, the remake opts to greatly expand on existing characters, ally and enemy alike, instead of adding new ones. Many characters received new unique designs and more dialogue. In the original Gaiden several characters shared portraits and many bosses lacked dialogue entirely.
|New playable characters|
|The Creation||Fell Dragon||Act 6|
- Main article: List of Acts in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia introduces an additional prologue and a postgame chapter to the original game's five chapters. Chapters in Shadows of Valentia are instead known as "Acts", presumably to differentiate them from more traditionally-structured chapters in other Fire Emblem games.
Support and Base Conversations
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia introduces both base and support conversations to the game, neither of which existed in Gaiden. These conversations expand on the existing cast. Additionally, Memory Prisms, when combined with Mila's Turnwheel, provide further character interactions, though these take place in the past rather than the present.
The game was pitched and began development in 2015 with an intended development time of one year and a release goal of September 2016. They decided to develop the game with the intent of having something to release in the interim until they could begin developing Fire Emblem: Three Houses; at the time it had been too early to begin developing a Fire Emblem series title on the Nintendo Switch. As is now evident, this goal was not met and the game was released worldwide in early 2017, overshooting their September 2016 goal by about five months. According to the developers, this delay was partially caused by wanting to implement both traditional and simplified Chinese localizations.
The Echoes title was devised out of the developer's desire to avoid using the word "Gaiden" as to not confuse players with the numerous other entries now comprising the series. Echoes was also something that could be used in both Japanese and worldwide markets and is meant to evoke the idea of "older games could now “echo” to the modern players". Other pitched ideas were the use of a "Re:" prefix, or simply using a capital G.
The 3D exploration engine used in Echoes: Shadows of Valentia's dungeons was originally developed for use in Fire Emblem Fates. The developers were unable to get said system running adequately for full use in Fates, though a simplified version, where the player walks around as a character sprite and can zoom in for an over-the-shoulder 3D view but is rendered motionless, is used for My Castle in the final release of Fates.
Due to Genki Yokota, the director of Awakening and Fates, being busy Kenta Nakanishi became the director. His story about how he played Fire Emblem Gaiden with his late father is brought up in an interview to express his deep emotional attachment to the original game.
Echoes: Shadows of Valentia was revealed in the Fire Emblem Direct alongside Fire Emblem Heroes on the 18th of January 2017 at 2PM PT/5PM ET. During the direct gameplay footage, animated cutscenes, and character artwork of Alm and Celica were shown. It received coverage in Nintendo's various social media outlets as well as Japanese magazines to release.
On April 3, 2017 the Japanese version of Echoes: Shadows of Valentia leaked on the internet, roughly seventeen days before its official Japanese release.
At Japanese release it sold through 80% of its initial shipment, selling about 132,000 copies; this is a similar number to the previous remake released in Japan. By the end of 2017 Shadows of Valentia sold a total of 199,701 copies in Japan.
No concrete numbers have been given for the game's sales outside of Japan, though Nintendo commented on it as "a popular title" in their quarterly earnings release in 2017.
Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia holds scores of 83.34% and 81 on GameRankings and Metacritic, respectively. Common criticisms of Shadows of Valentia were it being too hard, and lacking elements from other games. The Mila's Turnwheel feature was praised.
- Main article: Fan translation#Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
When the Japanese version of the game leaked shortly before the game's official release a simple menu translation was released on April 3, 2017 by SciresM. It translates the menus, character, class, and item names, as well as some descriptions. The project was never planned to become a full translation and was only made for English-speaking fans to play the game early more easily.
- Echoes: Shadows of Valentia had the shortest wait between Japanese and international release of a mainline Fire Emblem series title yet, with English-speaking fans having to wait a mere 29 days after the Japanese release. The most quickly localized game previously was Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, whose first international version to be released, the PAL localization, was released five months after the Japanese version.
- For April Fools' 2017, a new game called "Fire Emblem: Battle of Revolution" (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 維新大乱) was announced, for the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS. It prominently features Valbar, Kamui, and Leon. It takes place in the Edo period of Japan. Some text on the website is in traditional vertical writing, and all character and location names were written in kanji with the katakana names as furigana. DLC featuring Marth in was also announced for "Battle of Revolution". There would also be scrolls as a limited bonus. It was stated to be released on April 20, 2017, the same date as Shadows of Valentia.
Etymology and other languages
|Names, etymology and in other regions|
|Language||Name||Definition, etymology and notes|
|English||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||Valentia is the name of the continent the game is set on. An echo is a repeated sound, referring to its remake status.|
|Japanese||ファイアーエムブレム Echoes もうひとりの英雄王||Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
The term "Hero-King" is used to refer to Marth in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem's secret ending timeline, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, and Fire Emblem Awakening; the title appears to be drawing parallels between Alm and Marth.
|Spanish||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|French||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|German||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Italian||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Dutch||Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia||As above.|
|Korean||파이어 엠블렘 Echoes 또 하나의 영웅왕||Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
|Chinese||Fire Emblem Echoes 另一位英雄王||Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King|
- "In 1992, the second game in the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem Gaiden, launched exclusively in Japan. Now, for the first time, fans outside of Japan will get a taste of this classic game on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia is inspired by the 1992 original, reimagined on a grander scale." — Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, nintendo.com(webpage), Published: January 18th 2017, Retrieved: January 19th 2017
- "Hehehe... Celica. Alm's trapped in Dragon Mountain. You must want to save him. If that's so, then follow after me. If you offer yourselves as sacrifices to Lord Duma, Alm's path shall also open up once more!" — Jedah to Celica, Fire Emblem Gaiden
- "Celica: Mila, I don't understand. Why would you do this? Have you truly forsaken us?
Jedah: Heh heh heh, Your lamentations are wasted, child. If you truly wish for her release, you know what must be done. You must offer up your soul to Lord Duma!" — Jedah to Celica, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
- "Every aspect of the Fire Emblem Gaiden game's presentation has been updated, along with the game being fully voiced." — Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, nintendo.com(webpage), Published: January 18th 2017, Retrieved: January 19th 2017
- "Mr. Hitoshi Yamagami (from now on: Yamagami): After the completion of Fire Emblem: Fates (from now on, just Fates)’s development, I started thinking of a game for the Nintendo Switch. However, it was still too early to begin development of titles for that system. While thinking of what to do, several people from Intelligent Systems approached me saying: “There are many things we could not do in Fates [that we wish we could have]. We wish to implement them in a remake for Gaiden.” Gaiden had not been featured much up until now, and I figured if we got started on development at that time, we would be able to release the game before the new Nintendo Switch would come out. So, we began development.
Q: To be more specific, around when are we talking?
Mr. Masahiro Higuchi: This is back in 2015.
Yamagami: Back then, we thought: “Okay, let’s do this in a year and release it September 2016.”" — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Higuchi: The delay came about partially due to Mr. Yamagami’s request to include both simplified and traditional Chinese characters in hopes of reaching a broader audience." — Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Nintendo Dream Interview (July 2017) [Complete], kantopia.wordpress.com, Published: August 16, 2017, Retrieved: October 19, 2018
- "Nakanishi: Well, when Gaiden came out, it was just Dark Dragon and the Blade of Light before it. Fast forward over ten releases later to modern day, and it can be confusing which Fire Emblem’s ”gaiden” this is! We wanted to emphasize its status as a spin off without using the word “gaiden”, so started to think hard about it…
Translator’s Note: Gaiden is a Japanese word that basically means “side story.” It is the word for “sidequests” in Blazing Blade and other FE games for instance. So you can see why this may cause confusion for the Japanese players.
Kusakihara: A lot of the recent Fire Emblem games all have extra maps called “gaiden chapters,” so we feared players being left very confused. So Mr. Nakanishi specifically told us to avoid calling it New Gaiden.
Yamagami: Avoiding calling it New Gaiden is something we had in mind from the start of development. At the same time, we wanted a title that the rest of the world would also use, so wanted to settle on an English word. Somewhere in that conversation, the word “echoes” surfaced. We imagined it was fitting as older games could now “echo” to the modern players. We were very pleased with the choice, and, if there were to be more remakes in the future, we figured we could use the Echoes title again." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Nakanishi: Well we wanted something that keeps the feeling of a “remake.” So one idea was attaching “Re:” to the title. It was pretty popular with the development team, but the foreign branches suggested “再度(saido)*” instead, and so it was out of the final short list.
TN: Lit: “Once again/2nd time”
Higuchi: There was also an idea to simply use a capitalized “G” (for Gaiden) as the title and leave it at that, but that idea didn’t get very far." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Mr. Toshiyuki Kusakihara (from now on, Kusakihara): For one, adding dungeons and allowing the character to roam around freely. In Fates, you can move around “My Castle” and see it over your shoulder view, but, the truth is by then we had already developed a fully functioning roaming function. However, it was not up to the standards we wanted, and so Fates was left with just being able to observe your surroundings [rather than move around in it]. Gaiden meanwhile was already built with free movement in mind, so we figured it was a perfect fit." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- "Yamagami: Once we decided upon Gaiden, we invited the director for Fates, Mr. Yokota*, to reprise his role for this game. However, he was caught up in another project at the time and so we were left with an opening. It was during that difficult time that Nakanishi came forward saying, “Hey, you know, I really like Gaiden. Let me tell you what that game means to me…” and then he went on to talk about his father…
*Genki Yokota, part of Nintendo. Director of Awakening and Fates. Outside of Fire Emblem, he directed Xenoblade.
Mr. Kenta Nakanishi (from now on, Nakanishi): Wait. Wait. You want me to recite that, Mr. Yamagami?
Yamagami: I’m sure you were just waiting to talk about it! You had that look on your face. (Laughs)
Nakanishi: My father died when I was really young. I remember, though, that he loved Fire Emblem. He is the one who got me interested in playing the series, and taught me how to play. When my father passed away, the latest game in the series was Mystery of the Emblem. I included a copy of it as part of other memorabilia with his coffin. After that, when sorting through the things he left behind, I came across his copy of Dark Dragon and the Blade of Light, as well as Gaiden. Needless to say, I reminisced about the times with my deceased father as I played through them. As such, I have an incredibly strong emotional attachment to these two games." — Dengeki Staff Interview, Serenesforest.net, Published: June 2017, Retrieved: September 22, 2018
- ファイアーエムブレム 維新大乱 | 任天堂, Wayback Machine (archived from Nintendo.co.jp on 31 March), Retrieved: 2 April 2017
- Fire Emblem™ Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for Nintendo 3DS – Official Site official US English website
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia for Nintendo 3DS - Nintendo Game Details official US English product page
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|Nintendo 3DS|Games|Nintendo official UK English website
- Fire Emblem Echoes: Another Hero-King official Japanese website
|Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia|