I’ve been a fan of the Fire Emblem series for quite some time, starting with the release of Fire Emblem 7 (just called Fire Emblem in the US) and have played Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, Shadow Dragon, the Heroes of Light and Shadow (not released in the US), and Awakening more recently (though I haven’t finished Path of Radiance or Radiant Dawn yet). Fire Emblem: Awakening is debatebly my favorite 3DS game released so far, I’ve put in more hours than I’m proud to say, abusing the DLC and grinding in an attempt to get every support. I was interested in what they planned to do with the next installment of the franchise since Awakening was a large departure from previous entries in the series: would they go more character and story based like they did in Awakening since it sold so well or would they return to their roots by prioritizing the difficulty and gameplay of traditional Fire Emblem games? As it turned out, they decided to do both. A while back they announced that they would be releasing two versions of the new Fire Emblem game, titled Fire Emblem: IF. The premise as described on the Fire Emblem wiki is as follows: “The player will take on the role of an Avatar who was born to Hoshido royalty, but raised in Nohr. On the brink of war, the player must choose whether to follow the destiny tied to their birthplace or the fate bound to the country that raised them. Siding with the Hoshido kingdom will involve the player defending it from the invading Nohr kingdom. Aligning with the Nohr kingdom will involve the player in a revolution within the Nohr kingdom.” One version follows where you side with Nohr which will feature a more classic Fire Emblem game and the other will follow you if you align with Hoshido which will be more similar to Awakening. There will also be an option to align with neither side, but there have been few details released regarding this route so far. The release plans at the moment are also incredibly confusing: in addition to the hard copy releases, the digital version will be permanently locked into the side you choose during chapter 6, the third route where you choose neither side will also be released as a DLC later on, but there’s also another version which just includes everything which will be released separately. So in all likelihood I’ll probably just skip the headache and buy the version with everything included, assuming I can wait. In the most recent Nintendo Direct, they displayed some of the new features which will be available in IF, though it is unclear as to whether or not all of these features will be available in both versions or if some may be version exclusives. Some of these features include (the trailer was not translated so this is just from what I understood and what was in the video): Being able to build and walk around your castle with numerous activities and interactions Use Amiibo characters to summon previous Fire Emblem characters (Marth, Ike, Robin, and Lucina) A resource gather system which you then use to level up a creature companion An onsen or hot spring where you can spend some quality naked time (I’m pretty sure that’s what they actually said in the video) with your companions to deepen your bonds You can invite other characters to your room (huehuehue) In your room you can “poke” the other characters in a Pokemon-Amie like system (which looks, sounds, and feels kind of wrong) Similarly to Fire Emblem Awakening you can also summon other people’s characters through Street Pass and battle them or visit their castles (Edit) Here’s the translated clip from the Nintendo Direct (5/31): So far I’m not entirely sure what to make of this game. I’m very excited for this game, but they are throwing a lot of different things into the mix and some of it seems like it came from a Harvest Moon or Rune Factory game. Hopefully it will be translated soon so we can get a full breakdown of the details. Also here’s the first two trailers in case you missed them.