Cindered Shadows and Beyond
Fire Emblem: Three Houses released this past July to universal acclaim. It quickly became one of the best selling games on the Nintendo Switch, so it’s no surprise that the team at Intelligent Systems is excited to talk about the game. The “Cindered Shadows” DLC was added in February of this year, and in the latest edition of Nintendo Dream, we got some insight into the process behind its development, and so much more.
Directors Toshiyuki Kusakihara and Genki Yokota held nothing back in their interview with Nintendo Dream, as the full transcript is over a dozen pages long. Here are a few of the highlights:
“In terms of coming up with the side story’s plot, did that happen after you had finished working on the main story? Or did you come up with the plot as you were working on the main game?
Kusakihara: We started the actual production of the side story’s content much later, but we had wanted to incorporate the idea of Garreg Mach having this underground labyrinth since the early stages of development. It ended up being cut due to the sheer amount of content, though. When planning the DLC, the side story actually came from a desire to bring back the concepts we had originally omitted. It wasn’t necessarily that we were retrofitting the information. Rather, we were expanding upon the setting and some foreshadowed elements that had been there since production of the main game. The protagonist’s mother, for instance, would fall into that category.
How did you go about choosing which characters from the main story would appear in the side story?
Yokota: Well, we wanted the leaders of the three main houses to be present, so we started from there.
Kusakihara: We wanted the foundation of the story to be the house leaders working together, so we knew they would all be present from the beginning. After that we chose one person from each house; we also considered characters with a specific skill from a strategic point of view. From there, we narrowed it down more to the characters whose skills felt right to include. Later, we decided which characters would have some kind of relation to the characters that appear in the side story. Linhardt, in particular, can talk at length about crests, so we felt that he could play an important role in the events of the story. As for Ashe, he could relate pretty heavily to having to live somewhere like the Abyss, so we felt that because of that he could help expand the story.
Do you have anything else you’d like to share about the DLC and the free updates?
Yokota: The increase in the number of save slots was pretty impressive. The proposal originally came from Koei Tecmo, actually; messing around with save data can be incredibly scary due to bugs, though, so generally we wouldn’t increase the number by that much. Despite that, I was grateful that so many people had played through the game, and I definitely understood players wanting to be able to keep saves so they could watch their favorite scenes later on. It was a challenge, but we decided to face it – I was grateful that Koei Tecmo had suggested it in the first place. In the end there ended up not really being any problems! (laughs)
Kusakihara: In the past you couldn’t really have that many save slots due to memory limitations; having worked on games for so long made us a little more careful. In the DS games, for instance, you could only have up to three save files.
Yokota: The increase in the number of files all at once took me by surprise!
Kusakihara: In the end the players were happy, so I’m glad we took the challenge head on. I think it’ll depend on how much content there is, but I think next time we’d like to start with a lot of files from the beginning.”
Head over to Nintendo Everything for a full translation of the entire interview. Part two will be posted tomorrow, and could potentially mention something about we’ll expect in the future. In the meantime, let us know what you think about the latest Fire Emblem in the comment section below.