The newly announced Fire Emblem Engage looks to bring back a number of classic elements of the Fire Emblem tactical strategy series. Combat will be grid-based, players will have a large roster of recruitable units to select from, and at least one playable character will be able to turn into a dragon in battle. However, Fire Emblem Engage will also be trying something brand new for the main series Fire Emblem games: the ability to summon in battles characters from past Fire Emblem titles. Fans have been quick to make comparisons with the mobile game Fire Emblem Heroes, which features a similar summoning-based plot and combat system.
Fire Emblem Engage will introduce a new world, Elyos, and a new roster of characters to recruit. However, these characters will be able to team up with past Fire Emblem heroes by summoning them via the Engage system. Heroes also centers around a summoner who, when the land they fight for is put in danger, partners with characters from Fire Emblem titles past. Fans wonder if the similarities between the two games are coincidental or if Engage might borrow significantly from Heroes with the two games sharing a much deeper connection.
Heroes Also Focuses on Summoning
Fire Emblem Heroes stars the player character as a “Summoner” who travels from the modern world to the kingdom of Askr. The Summoner uses the mysterious gun Breidablik to summon Heroes from Fire Emblem worlds. These Heroes join Askr’s army and fight against the realm of Embla, another country with a Summoning system that desires to conquer Askr. Throughout the six years the game has been in service, characters from all main series Fire Emblem games and several spinoffs have become available to summon. In addition, a number of original characters have been created for Fire Emblem Heroes, many drawing inspirations from Norse mythology.
Like Heroes, Fire Emblem Engage will feature an original setting that is forced to rely on summoning heroes from other realms to combat a looming threat. Protagonist Alear, a Divine Dragon, and their allies are able to use a series of rings to summon heroes of legend. These Fire Emblem characters can grant their wielders new skills and attacks in battle; Engage characters can also draw on their summons’ powers and take on a new physical appearance. The reveal trailer for Fire Emblem Engaged confirmed that summonable characters will include Marth from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, Sigurd from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, and Celica from Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.
Engage Should Prioritize Character Interaction More Than Heroes
In the early years following its release, Fire Emblem Heroes received criticism for not doing enough with the concept of summoned heroes. Although characters from different games could fight together on the battlefield, the mobile game’s various modes featured minimal interaction between them. Later, Fire Emblem Heroes addressed the issue by adding gameplay elements and modes events such as Forging Bonds and Harmonic Heroes, which allowed characters from different games to converse with one another. Some heroes from different games even became summonable paired together, such as Edelgard from Fire Emblem: Three Houses paired with Altina from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
Engage should not make hero summoning gameplay only, and should also include social elements that allow the Engage characters to interact with their summoned Emblems and the summoned characters to interact with each other. Supports, a mechanic that has appeared in a number of Fire Emblem games, could feature conversations between the summoned characters from different games should they return in Fire Emblem Engage. Alternately, a hub location similar to Garreg Mach Monastery from Fire Emblem: Three Houses could serve as a spot for characters to meet up and talk.
Heroes Isn’t The Only Game Causing Comparisons
In addition to Fire Emblem Heroes, fans have noticed similarities between Fire Emblem Engage’s gameplay mechanics and those of other Fire Emblem spinoffs. The concept of Fire Emblem protagonists being summoned to another world and fighting to protect it appeared in Fire Emblem Warriors, a musou-style spinoff. The protagonists of Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE, a collaboration with Atlus, featured original characters pairing up with heroes from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem Awakening. The characters used these summons, called Mirages, to defeat enemies in battle.
The depth of similarity between Fire Emblem Engage and Fire Emblem Heroes will likely not be revealed until the former game’s release in early 2023. Fans are also speculating that the cast of Fire Emblem Engage may appear as summonable characters in Fire Emblem Heroes, further strengthening the connection between the two games. As characters from the spinoff Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes were just added to Heroes, it is likely that Engage will be next.
Fire Emblem Engage will release on January 20, 2023, for the Nintendo Switch.
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