All Fire, All Emblems

Toothpaste-chan Lives!

So, there was a Nintendo Direct this morning — viewable in full here (actual presentation starts at about 29:40).

But, given my own tastes in gaming, I’d like to draw your attention to this:

Launching in January is Fire Emblem Engage, the next main-line game the series since 2019’s Three HousesWarriors spinoff/side-quel Three Hopes launched earlier back in the summer and mobile game Heroes is still going strong; as I recall, it’s Nintendo’s highest-grossing mobile game — Pokémon Go not technically being a Nintendo game (published by Niantic and Nintendo itself only owning a third of The Pokémon Company).

The first bits of information about Engage surfaced back in June, when screenshot of the supposedly-finished game were leaked online, apparently by someone involved in the Chinese localisation of the game.

Notably, the protagonist’s half-blue and half-red hair earned her (the leaked images featured the female version, today’s official featured the male version) the name “Toothpaste-chan.” She’s depicted in the trailer thumbnail, to the right of the male version, directly above the F in “Fire.”

Worth noting, however, that none of the stock photos of toothpaste I searched for this post actually looked like that.

Potentially interesting sidebar: this leak also said that a remake version of Genealogy of the Holy War was also forthcoming. That aspect of the leak has yet to be confirmed, but there’s precedent for this Fire Emblem Gaiden was remade as Echoes: Shadows of Valentia back in 2017.

Like Gaiden, Genealogy has never previously been released outside Japan, though unofficial fanmade translations have made it a fan favourite and their appearances in Heroes has increased the prominence of popularity of various Genealogy characters.

Promotional art of "Fire Emblem Engage. Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. Image via
Fire Emblem Engage. Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. Image via

The official announcement of Engage hasn’t really seemed to assuage most of the negativity arising from the initial leaks. Stuff like “This doesn’t look like Fire Emblem!“, “This looks too much like an anime!”, “Toothpaste-chan’s hair is dumb!”

We’ve got a bit more context with the official trailer. The story seems fairly staightforward and Fire Emblem-y: there was a evil dragon 1000 years ago, he was defeated and sealed away, now he’s breaking back out. Which, as the fanbase has whinged about noted is basically also the plot of Shadow Dragon, Blazing and Binding Blade, Awakening, and Fates.

But, hey, why mess with what works?

Also, we’ve got a bit more insight to the “Summoning Past Characters” angle that was also initially mentioned by the leaks. It’s established in the trailer that this is how the country originally defeated the Evil Dragon and now they need to do it again now that he’s becoming unsealed.

The original leak also suggested that Engage was meant to mark the series’ 30th anniversary. Since that anniversary was 2020, it’s not shocking to think that COVID may have messed up those plans.

If that’s true and Engage was meant to be the celebration of the series up to this point, it makes sense that the game would lean into making a gameplay mechanic out of the characters of the series up to this point.

So, naturally, the fanbase hates it. I don’t quite follow the logic, but apparently playing to nostalgia is terrible and people are just determined to make themselves miserable, I guess?

Based on the trailer, it seems more like the past characters functions more like equippable items than characters in their own right. Based on what little we see in the trailer, the past characters seem to grant the playable characters special abilities and/or attacks and have the ability to merge together into a Tokyo Mirage Sessions-esque super mode.

Honestly, I kinda feel like I’m crazy watching the reaction to the trailer. Everyone just seems so salty about it (and there’s so many other flavours, people!) and I cannot understand why, especially not when we’ve only got 3 minutes and 10 seconds of content and less than half of that is actual gameplay.

By fault, I guess, for enjoying things and wanting to be excited about things I enjoy.

This is why I hate fandom and/or the Internet…

Also: “Engage“? And you’re summoning the past characters with rings? Brilliant.

And, I swear, if they don’t let us marry the showgirl mage character (at 1:13 of the trailer), I am not going to be happy.

I’m still going to play the heck out of the game, though…


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