Hey folks, most of what I think has already been said, so this post will mostly sound like an echo. I should also add that I haven't played FE Fates, so the things I might say may not be completely accurate. So what I say here about Fates is about what I only have heard and read. Nevertheless, I would like to add my 2 cents .
- What I dislike in both Awakening and Fates is the character/ Avatar pandering. Your character is the center of attention, in Awakening somewhat less than in Fates I believe, which I at first thought was a fun idea. Later now, I think it quickly gets old. I personally prefer your character to stay in the background, more as a traveller or as a mercenary, so that he/ she has less impact in the story. Why? I think it can give the character the freedom to interact with whomever he/ she likes and possibly the freedom of choice. While I have noticed they have tried to give the player a bit of choice in Awakening, his/ her choices didn't have an impact. Which is a bummer in my opinion.
- I believe the stories in the Fire Emblem series are very character driven. What I think IS has done wrong in both Awakening and Fates, is creating a huge bunch of characters (including children) and have tried to give them all a distinguishing personality. So that they stand out from one another. While I think it is a good idea to make a character stand out of the rest, I am personally not a fan of the gimmicks they have. Especially if a character revolves around a certain gimmick, as I believe it restrains character development. Even stronger, when you have a lot of characters, with each of them a different gimmick, I think there is a risk of creating monotonuous characters (if you folks can understand what I say). I would suggest creating a smaller cast, so that more time can be spend on (complex) character relationships, character growth and story development. Of course, gimmicks can be used, but I would love to see how a character can develop without falling back to its gimmick.
- Complexity of the story and the characters. I already talked a bit about it in the (wall of) text above here. What I think I've seen in both Awakening and (from what I have heard in) Fates, is that IS tries to make the story more morally grey. In my opinion it is hard to make such a story, with all of the other elements you need to take in consideration to create a story or a character.
What I however miss in both Awakening and Fates is character growth (here we go again ). When I think of character growth, I love to see a character overcome certain obstacles or challenges in order to progress not only the story, but his/ her personality as well. Show us what challenge X does to the protagonist, how other characters interact with it as well and how they give feedback to the protagonist about his/ her decisions. Hell, you could also make another noble, good protagonist. I would say, make an antagonist (or a group) that manipulates said protagonist into making dire choices that conflict with his/ her inner self. And show us that! Show us that his comrades hate him/ her for doing it, or applaud him for it. Let the protagonist make a rational choice to sacrifice civilians, even if protagonist hates him-/ herself for it (let alone the rest of his/ her companions whose family died because the choice). Or the protagonist gives the big F* you and stays true to his ideals, he saves those civilians and gains the respect of certain comrades whilst others call him a fool for it, as the antagonist gains the advantage in the war. I could go on with this (and frankly, I think I'm going on long enough), there are many possibilities without making it all too complex I think.
I need to add however, I think some of this is shown in both Awakening and Fates. So to conclude this, I think the focus should be (more) placed in the emotional judgement of a character.
Sorry for the long post. Respect to y'all if you read it all. *Thumbs up to you*.