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Fire Emblem 64
(Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム６４ Fire Emblem 64), later known as Fire Emblem: The Shaman of Darkness (Japanese: ファイアーエンブレム 暗黒の巫女), is a canceled and unreleased Fire Emblem series project which was intended to be released for the Nintendo 64, and was most likely planned for the Nintendo 64DD, an expansion device to the base 64 console allowing the use of disc storage media. Little is known about this project; it has only been mentioned in a few interviews. Very few details were released, most being overall concepts rather than specific details about the game's plot or mechanics.
However, in late 2015 the book The Making of Fire Emblem – 25th Anniversary Development Secrets, Awakening and Fates was released. This anniversary book contains some development information on most games in the series, primarily Fire Emblem Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates. Interestingly, and relevantly, it also contains concept artworks and some dialogue samples from the fabled Fire Emblem 64.
Originally mentioned in the Genealogy of the Holy War guidebook by Shouzou Kaga, he wanted to explore the time before the events of Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, also developing the stories of enemies such as Camus and Michalis. Two months later, it was stated that the game would be for the Super Famicom, the Japanese version of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System., and a mini game that did focus on Camus and Minerva eventuated on the BS-X Satellaview as BS Fire Emblem: Archanea War Chronicles.
In the Japanese gaming magazine Dengeki on July 29, 1997, Shigeru Miyamoto stated that work had started on Fire Emblem 64, though it would probably come out after Super Mario RPG 2, the latter half of the year. He also stated that the game is steadily progressing, though the program team was working on completing a playable demo for Super Mario RPG 2. Fire Emblem 64 was officially announced in the September issue of Japanese magazine 64 Dream.
Fire Emblem 64 first showed signs of being postponed when Shouzou Kaga said in a magazine in January 1999 that the game was too ambitious for the current hardware, and that the next game to be developed was to be Thracia 776.
It was then confirmed canceled two years later in the November issue of 64 Dream due to difficulties with the hardware specs' compatibility with the game system. Development then moved to Ankoku no Miko, which was later renamed The Binding Blade and released in 2002.
Relation to games released afterwards
Two popular theories are that the game was either developed into The Binding Blade or Path of Radiance. However, with the release of The Making of Fire Emblem – 25th Anniversary Development Secrets, Awakening and Fates, the book confirms that Fire Emblem 64 was a very early version of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, however, the game was rewritten from the ground up, with the only character surviving being Karel.
Aside from characters, there are also several named that would go on to be reused later in the series. The main Lord, Roy was originally known by the name Ike in concept art. A character named Idenn also appears, but has no resemblance to the one that appears in The Binding Blade. There is also a character named Ephraim, who is the son of a character named Eliwood, sharing the names with the characters that would later appear in Fire Emblem and Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones. The names Lleu, Bors and Owain also appear in dialogue.
Several characters appear in the development materials released in The Making of Fire Emblem – 25th Anniversary Development Secrets, Awakening and Fates.
As mentioned above, Karel, and several characters sharing names of characters that appear later in the Fire Emblem series are mentioned. The names mentioned in the materials are below. If a character shares their name with a character appearing in a later game they are linked to their page. A translation of the script some of these characters appear in can be viewed here.
- Ike, renamed Roy for The Binding Blade.
- Karel, notably, is mentioned as the only character to have not been rewritten for The Binding Blade.
- Idenn, appears to be a different character entirely from the character that appears in The Binding Blade.
- Taki, the name and character don't seem to have reappeared in any games.
- Helen, the queen of Bern in Fire Emblem, Hellene has a similar name, otherwise the two characters seem unrelated.
- Lynette, the name and character don't seem to have reappeared in any games.
- (Japanese: レイ Lleu/Rei/Ray), the name appears in a text sample, any relation to the Binding Blade character aside from name is unknown. The orange haired girl in the below screenshot appears to be this character. According to dialogue, this character would have been a bow-using unit, possibly an archer. Her appearance also has a slight resemblance to the Binding Blade character, Cath.
- (Japanese: ボールズ Bors), the name appears in a text sample, any relation to the Binding Blade character aside from name is unknown.
- (Japanese: エリウッド Eliwood), shares names with Roy's father and appears as the protagonist of Fire Emblem. In Fire Emblem 64 he is the father of a character named Ephraim, and has a leadership role of some sort.
- (Japanese: エフラム Ephraim), shares names with one of the protagonists of Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones presumably no other relation. In Fire Emblem 64, they are the son of a character named Eliwood. The silver haired boy in the screenshot below appears to be this person.
- (Japanese: アロン Aron), the name and character don't seem to have reappeared in any games. Judging by the provided dialogue, he was to be a somewhat reckless person serving Ephraim.
- (Japanese: オワイン Owain), a character bears this name in the English, not Japanese, release of Fire Emblem Awakening, though them sharing names is most likely coincidental due to Awakening's localization. In the text documents this character is apparently somewhat elderly, based on how others address him and his mannerisms.
Concept artwork of Roy (known as Ike in the image) from Fire Emblem 64.
Concept artwork of a character named Idenn from Fire Emblem 64.
- Serenes Forest's article
- Fire Emblem Online's article
- Fire Emblem Shrine's article
- Unseen64's article
- "Originally, there was a Fire Emblem game planned for the Nintendo 64, known only as "Fire Emblem 64"." — Vincent, Fire Emblem 64, Serenes Forest, Published: August 27, 2009
- "Q) Is there a possibility of a new game? Assuming so, would it be on the Nintendo 64?
A) Although it's not been decided yet, if there is a next game, the level of strategy would be much higher and I would also return to something that's easier to play. I don't want to lose what makes Fire Emblem stand out from other games. As for the story, I'd like to explore Archanea world again, from before the start of Marth's adventures when he landed on Talys. Although enemies, I want to the develop the stories of interesting characters like Camus and Michalis." (Super Tactics Book)
- "Q) Will the next game be on the Nintendo 64?
A) I think being on the Super Famicom will be fine. If it were on the Nintendo 64, the battle scenes would use polygons and I'd have more to say." (Genealogy of the Holy War Fan Special)
- "Question: What about Fire Emblem 64?
Miyamoto: We're earnestly producing Fire Emblem 64 (laughs). Actually, it'll probably come out after Mario RPG 2, the latter half of next year." (Dengeki)
- "Question: What percent of it has been developed?
Miyamoto: The plans for Fire Emblem 64 are steadily progressing. The program team is completing Mario RPG 2, trying to come up with a playable demo... I wonder if I've said too much." (Dengeki)
- "Q) --Although I want to hear more about the new game... When were the new game's concepts first planned?
A) After Genealogy of the Holy War was completed, the theme of the next game was considered immediately. In fact, we had originally wanted to return to Archanea, the stage of Mystery of the Emblem. However, although we intended on this direction from the very beginning, during the preliminary preparations, we realised it was too ambitious and difficult to do with the Super Famicom hardware... If possible, we'd like to do it for new hardware." (Fire Emblem Treasure book)
- "While in the middle of production for the N64 version of Maiden of Darkness, due to various structural changes, game planning basically had to start over from the beginning. While the hero, Roy, remained the same, almost everything else about the game changed, including story and (almost) all other characters. [...] Karel was apparently the only character from Maiden of Darkness to get carried over into Blinding Blade." — Microwaveit, Designs from the Fire Emblem on the Nintendo 64 that never came to be, with information from the interviews in the comments (Making-Of book), Reddit.com(webpage), Published: December 9th, 2015, Retrieved: December 9th, 2015
- "Finally, there’s a brief transcript featuring dialogue between Raigh, Ephraim, Eliwood (Ephraim’s father), Aron, Bors and Owain. Eliwood, Raigh and Bors are names of characters from Binding Blade, although it’s unclear if they’re the same characters. Meanwhile, Ephraim shares his name with one of the Lords of The Sacred Stones, while Owain was later used as Eudes’s English name in Awakening. As such, it’s likely they’re different characters, but their names were simply reused." — VincentASM, The Making of Fire Emblem 64, Serenesforest.net(webpage), Published: Decembr 9th, 2015, Retrieved: December 9th, 2015
- "The dialogue above reveals who they are, as the final line of the page is (in Japanese): “弓は得意なんです！いっつも山で狩りをしてましたから.” This is the exact same line presented in that screen shot. Who says it? Well, it is attributed to Rei. Who is that next to her? Well, it is Ephraim, as right before that he is the one speaking to her, and they are the only two who did not have a “disappear” unlike the rest" — XKAN, Fire Emblem 64: Rare Dialogue Document Translation + Analysis, kantopia.wordpress.com, Published: January 14th 2016, Retrieved: January 15th 2016
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