November 3, 2017
It isn’t every day that one gets to talk about Fire Emblem on a Zelda website, but I think the release of Fire Emblem Warriors brings up a relevant discussion. If the developers at Koei Tecmo had wanted to, there was certainly a possibility of seeing a sequel to Hyrule Warriors instead. At the end of 2016, it was announced that they had declined to renew their copyright for the series, and shortly after, Fire Emblem Warriors was announced, pretty much placing the last nail in the coffin. Now that we’ve seen both games, did they make the right choice? I’d like to explore the topic here, and get the conversation started.
First of all, I think any Warriors game needs an eclectic cast of characters to add to the mayhem and melee that is the series’ classic hack-and-slash gameplay. The Fire Emblem series has been going strong since 1990 with its original NES debut (though we US residents never got an official release of that title until 2009 with the remake on Nintendo DS) and over that time has added over two hundred potential characters to choose from. The best part about the series in this regard is that nobody in the series feels like a secondary character. Even if they are not the primary protagonist, but just a schmuck you helped out along the way who joined your cause, they are given an array of side conversations through the series’ signature support system. This adds a depth of personality to each character that I don’t believe has ever been achieved in any other series, so literally every character from the entire series would be a great choice.
What about Zelda, though? Between Hyrule Warriors and Hyrule Warriors Legends, they already used up a good chunk of the possible characters, do they have enough to make a full-size sequel? I think they could, but in the end it would feel like they were pulling for the most obscure characters just to fluff out the cast. Sure they could reuse some, and add missing fan-favorites like the Wind Mage Vaati, and of course the unstoppable Groose, but to make a roster the size of the original, they would have needed to pull out fighters even less likely than Tingle and Agitha. I’m sure somebody out there would rather play as the Happy Mask Salesman or an Octorok over Chrom and Lyn, but not I. I would gladly play a sequel, but somehow I feel like I would just keep playing Darunia and Link instead of any new additions.
In both games, the story takes a back seat to the gameplay. Both can pretty much be summed up as “The universes are inexplicably twisted, causing a crossover of various entries in the series.” This is great because it gives a reason to see your favorite characters side by side, even if the story is overall fairly predictable and not really good at all, it’s still wacky and fun. Seeing Robin meet up with Sakura and Hinoka was an intriguing combination, and how each reacted stayed mostly true to their characters from the original games. It wasn’t the best story ever, but honestly no title in the Dynasty Warriors franchise even comes close to a spot on my list.
Hyrule Warriors was much the same. Characters would meet up from other worlds, maybe they would be hostile at first and eventually team up for the greater good. Both games even featured a character in disguise that series fans knew was in disguise the whole time. You could go as far as to say they just recycled the story from one game to create the other. Despite that, placing new characters in a slightly modified story makes for a refreshing change of scenario.
With a sequel, however, you couldn’t do that as easily. You would have to find some other reason to bring these characters together, and even though the story would be completely different, it would feel forced and reused no matter how you spun it. Plus fans like me who played both the Wii U and 3DS releases would feel like they were playing through the same story for a third time. This would kill the mood of the game and ruin it for many fans even if every other aspect of the game was improved.
Finally, the light tactical elements present in Fire Emblem Heroes set it apart from other Warriors games. Many of these elements are direct copies of Fire Emblem series staples, and these references make a drastic impact on how the game feels. This title comes across a fast-paced, action oriented Fire Emblem while Hyrule Warriors played like any other Dynasty Warriors game with new characters, and a sequel would have felt similar.
Don’t get me wrong; by no means is this a tactics game. You can, in fact ignore all of these features and just cleave through foes as your favorite character, but if you are a long time fan of the Fire Emblem series, every little thing they added combines to make a one-of-a-kind Warriors game that only such fans can enjoy to the fullest extent.
So what do you think? Would you rather have seen Hyrule Warriors 2: Groose on the Loose? Was it wrong to make a hack-and-slash game out of the greatest tactical masterpiece of all time? By all means, tell me what is wrong with my opinions so I can fix them in the future. I will gladly follow up on any comments or tweets, so help keep the conversation cruising!