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What would make for a good Fire Emblem story?

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Fire Emblem has always suffered in the story department (reaching a new pinnacle of suck in Awakening).

What do you think the Fire Emblem series needs more of storyline-wise?

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I wouldn't say it has suffered. A story needs to be adequate enough to get the player invested, not overly grand and the series accomplished that just fine.

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always suffered

er

they've never the most brilliant things ever written, sure, but basically every fe game not named fe1 or fe13 has solid writing at worst

the thing with fe13 is that it seemed content to coast by on a small few flashy setpieces and the plot, such as it was, seems mostly content to just get the player a way to go from flashy cutscene setpiece a (the opening duel) to flashy cutscene setpiece b (oh wow that sure is a big dragon), with maybe a few minor flashy cutscene setpieces in between. there's no attempt to actually give the significant amount of time in between any substance of its own, a failing which, for better or worse, the rest of the series rarely falls into

the obvious comparison is the tellius duology, the only other ones with proper cutscenes (ugly as hell as fe9's were). the key difference is that, when you think fe10's story, the first thing you're gonna think of probably isn't any of its cutscenes. they get the job done telling the story and don't try to set themselves up as the story's be-all and end-all. fe10's plot, for all its flaws, has far more to it than getting you to the part where kurthnaga destroys a fucking castle

or something idk

basically a good fire emblem story would be one taking that approach: have all the flashy shit you want in it, but for the love of fuck, don't insult our intelligence and make that the only thing supporting your "plot". give us something to think about between giant dragons wrecking things

Edited by bookofholsety

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er

they've never the most brilliant things ever written, sure, but basically every fe game not named fe1 or fe13 has solid writing at worst

the thing with fe13 is that it seemed content to coast by on a small few flashy setpieces and the plot, such as it was, seems mostly content to just get the player a way to go from flashy cutscene setpiece a (the opening duel) to flashy cutscene setpiece b (oh wow that sure is a big dragon), with maybe a few minor flashy cutscene setpieces in between. there's no attempt to actually give the significant amount of time in between any substance of its own, a failing which, for better or worse, the rest of the series rarely falls into

the obvious comparison is the tellius duology, the only other ones with proper cutscenes (ugly as hell as fe9's were). the key difference is that, when you think fe10's story, the first thing you're gonna think of probably isn't any of its cutscenes. they get the job done telling the story and don't try to set themselves up as the story's be-all and end-all. fe10's plot, for all its flaws, has far more to it than getting you to the part where kurthnaga destroys a fucking castle

or something idk

basically a good fire emblem story would be one taking that approach: have all the flashy shit you want in it, but for the love of fuck, don't insult our intelligence and make that the only thing supporting your "plot". give us something to think about between giant dragons wrecking things

I think the main problem FE13 has with its story is that it is only there to justify the gameplay instead of the two working in tandem with each other.

That's probably why FE13 only has "Rout" missions. "Giant evil dragon wants to destroy world, go defeat him and his followers kthx."

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FE stories need something interesting to them. FE4 did a good job of having a great overall story, but (possibly due to translations) suffers a bit with minor characters and dialogue (and it has only rout missions, so it's not an issue with that).

I feel that FE needs to be more adventurous with their ideas. A good number of them suffer from retelling the same story with minor changes. That's not always a bad thing, but when they become too similar, it results in predictability and boring plots. FE9/10 were fairly alright enough, but I feel they could have been more... interesting with ideas. They need to push more themes, taking risky chances, but that's not as practical for an already niche game.

Characterisations are usually okay, but modern FEs tend to have more two-dimensional characters as they rely on a specific trait as the character, as opposed to writing them in as integrated parts of the plot. A good rule for writing is to have characters with a point. They should contribute to something to the plot otherwise they hold little use to the writing. Their characterisations are also often treated as "bonus conversations" in supports, as opposed to having story affected elements. But that's understandable in a game, as with such a large cast, it's often difficult to be able to write a well integrated web of characters interacting with each other, especially since they probably want people to have a cohesive plot with a single playthrough. I could imagine it being frustrating if it would require numerous playthroughs to even get an idea of the overarching plot. That doesn't apply to people on these boards, as we are huge FE fans already. This is more of a practical issue for the more general player.

There's also the idea of tradition. Certain ideas feel necessary in FE, like a Jeigan character and the Christmas Cavs. With these elements, it oftentimes lends itself to having very similar parts of the story. FE could play with these archetypes more to expand the story's structure.

The biggest problem from a purely writing perspective is that, ultimately, FE is still a game. Game elements can heavily affect story-telling elements. Designing a game around a story is a big no-no for game design. Game stories should be built around the gameplay elements in order to create a cohesive structure, or gameplay suffers. Practicality for the creating company is a huge concern. Having a brilliant and mature story would make me incredibly happy, but that would also alienate the younger and conservative crowds. Imagine the uproar is FE14 had very clear and obvious incest.

But I'm rambling cuz I drank too much. I think FE has serviceable stories, and are successful for advancing the plot. As much as I would like them to have a Spec Ops: The Line story or another FE4, I'm not going to complain too much. After all, it's the gameplay elements that have me coming back already!

Edited by monkymeet

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I do not have too many requirements for a good story. To my mind the story is not the most important factor of a Fire Emblem game. The gameplay has top priority. If the missions and tactical part are bad, the story cannot save the game.

For a good story, I expect chronological and comprehensible actions and not the weird timeskip stuff in FE13.

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People think FE has bad stories? Really? I'll agree that Awakening's is nothing special and FE7's isn't so great either, but Sacred Stones, Path of Radiance, and Radiant Dawn all have amazing stories, imo. Though RD falls a bit flat in part 4, admittedly...

But anyway, I think an FE story needs to be deep, not have so many holes and BS like Awakening, and be of a reasonable length to accomodate the number of characters the game has. I felt RD was too short because it had so many characters, even its long story couldn't provide enough time for at least most of them to get a little depth. I would have reduced the number of playable characters a bit and lengthened the story more.

Take my fanfic's story for instance. Fire Emblem: Dawn of Darkness has around 55 characters that would be playable, five of which are returning Tellius characters (Ike, Elincia, Ranulf, Soren, and Boyd). But the story is set to have around the same number of chapters when it's finished. Compare that to RD's cast of 72 characters (including the Black Knight), but 40 chapters. Which of the two do you think is more likely to be deeper and have more character depth and development?

I also like how PoR started out with the character's lives and then introduced the conflict. It was realistic and fun. ^^

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Fire Emblem needs good writing. There have been a bunch of great stories and characters in them, and there is a huge amount of potential in the stories we've seen. It's just that those stories tend to be not-so-well executed. Though there are other difficulties that come with being a video game that I don't think FE will ever be able to get past.

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If another dragon dies at the end of the game, PETA is going to intervene.

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FE has a difficult time storywise because it has a large cast of characters, many of whom can die. These characters cannot be very important to the plot after joining without requiring noticeably more writing/scripting. This all leads to a lot of the writing time and space being spent on characters who lack overall relevance.

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That's why we have the support system, Cynthia. Jill could die in PoR, yet she got a wonderful amount of development through her supports, particularly the one with Lethe. But she only had any plot importance early on during her recruitment.

Edited by Anacybele

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Fire emblem has a story? What?

Apparently it does, not that I've ever payed much attention to it.

If another dragon dies at the end of the game, PETA is going to intervene.

Given that PETA have no problems with countless animals being imprisoned in spherical capsules, I doubt that they would care about a single dragon dying.

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they've never the most brilliant things ever written, sure, but basically every fe game not named fe1 or fe13 has solid writing at worst

FE2 is worse than both though.

Given that PETA have no problems with countless animals being imprisoned in spherical capsules, I doubt that they would care about a single dragon dying.

Except they did.

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That's why we have the support system, Cynthia. Jill could die in PoR, yet she got a wonderful amount of development through her supports, particularly the one with Lethe. But she only had any plot importance early on during her recruitment.

In many other cases, supports have had limited slots available, difficult requirements, or don't really say much about the character. In most games, supports can only talk about the past of the character as opposed to what is going on currently due to the system.

Supports (and base conversations) can give characters some personality, but it doesn't fix the overall problem of most of the characters being uninvolved in dialogues between chapters. Some games have given characters plot armor, such as Innes and L'Arachel in FE8, and that's probably a good practice going forward, although if all characters get plot armor having characters able to be 'killed' at all is pretty pointless.

Edited by -Cynthia-

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I wouldn't say it has suffered. A story needs to be adequate enough to get the player invested, not overly grand and the series accomplished that just fine.

This.

Fire Emblem needs good writing. There have been a bunch of great stories and characters in them, and there is a huge amount of potential in the stories we've seen. It's just that those stories tend to be not-so-well executed. Though there are other difficulties that come with being a video game that I don't think FE will ever be able to get past.

The writing itself is fine. It's generally that the plot structure is shoddy.

In many other cases, supports have had limited slots available, difficult requirements, or don't really say much about the character. In most games, supports can only talk about the past of the character as opposed to what is going on currently due to the system.

Supports (and base conversations) can give characters some personality, but it doesn't fix the overall problem of most of the characters being uninvolved in dialogues between chapters. Some games have given characters plot armor, such as Innes and L'Arachel in FE8, and that's probably a good practice going forward, although if all characters get plot armor having characters able to be 'killed' at all is pretty pointless.

This is pretty much true. The problem is unless the next FE has a literal blockbuster budget, if not more, that's not going to happen because there would be far too much writing involved. Normal RPGs struggle with making 8-10 characters relevant throughout the entire game; it's almost impossible without a massive amount of time and effort to make 30-40 constantly relevant, especially when permadeath exists as a gameplay mechanic.

Anyway, FE's stories are fine for the most part. They aren't high literature, but they're good for what they are: epic fantasies. Most of the "issues" come from fans nitpicking flaws, which the guys at cinemasins have thoroughly proved can be done to literally any story.

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You have a point there, Cynthia. Plot armor helps, but too much of it makes the whole permadeath thing moot. Because of that, I say that support conversations involving non-plot important characters will revolve around depth and development while support conversations revolving around plot-important characters will just give more personality. Supports involving both can be a mix of both. It might sound a little complicated, but when you really get down to it, it's not all that hard.

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I actually kind of like Fire Emblem writing, I think FE's 4, 7, 9 and most of 10 are pretty good, above average stories, especially for what the devs have to work with. I mean, it's not Shakespeare, but it's entertaining.

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I really enjoyed base conversations from Tellius. I think that system, but with even more info about whats going on in the army before battle would work wonders to flesh out the characters and their world.

Edited by PKL

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If another dragon dies at the end of the game, PETA is going to intervene.

Because they would probably prefer to kill them themselves, I presume.

While PETA does a good job of getting attention for themselves, I can't help to get the impression that people always miss the fact that their idea of protecting animals involves euthanasia.

That's why we have the support system, Cynthia. Jill could die in PoR, yet she got a wonderful amount of development through her supports, particularly the one with Lethe. But she only had any plot importance early on during her recruitment.

Jill is probably the best example of how much more then just supports the game can do to develop characters.

Let's see,

-In her first appearance, she not only has special boss dialog when she is fighting Lethe and Mordecai... but also special death quotes if they kill her.

-She has several info conversations centered around her. I recall at least four. Her initial joining conversation that just about everyone in PoR gets, her confession to Ike in Begnion, her meeting Haar again and her -speaking with Ike after having calmed down.

-Several events during the main story depend on her survival or recruitment. Most notable a dialog between Ike and her immediately after Talrega (not the info conversation that I just mentioned). Also the dialog between Haar and Shihiram changes slightly depending on Jill's survival.

-In Talrega, there is a special conversation at the start of the map if Jill is deployed. It changes depending on her last info conversation being viewed or not.

-She has several pieces of boss dialog when fighting generic NPCs in Talrega.

-Depending on her support levels, her dialog with her father changes. She might actually switch sites as a result. Naturally, she also has a boss conversation with him

-She has a special death quote when she dies in Talrega.

-And last but not least, she has a boss conversation with Ashnard.

-Also, for completions sake, she also has special boss conversations with General Boltaxe and Haar.

Jill has so much context dependent stuff attached to her, it makes her supports look rather meager by comparison. They are a nice addition to her arc and it helps that they actually take main story events into account. But such variations only reach so far. Supports are not the beginning and the end of everything related to characters. Well, at least they shouldn't be.

Edited by BrightBow

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I just realized a dragon dies at or around the end of every FE game except 5 and 2.

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You have a point there, Cynthia. Plot armor helps, but too much of it makes the whole permadeath thing moot. Because of that, I say that support conversations involving non-plot important characters will revolve around depth and development while support conversations revolving around plot-important characters will just give more personality. Supports involving both can be a mix of both. It might sound a little complicated, but when you really get down to it, it's not all that hard.

But then there's the whole thing about paired endings between two specific characters. As we've seen thus far, not every character pairing is going to have lines of dialogue that helps flesh out either character, and make the pair itself come across as believable. Implied pairs are pretty much less vulnerable to anything I personally would call "pairing quality degradation", but keep in mind that being "less vulnerable" doesn't necessarily mean that it's completely immune.

I really enjoyed base conversations from Tellius. I think that system, but with even more info about whats going on in the army before battle would work wonders to flesh out the characters and their world.

I agree. Base conversations would be the best way to develop chatacters outside of support conversations. Especially considering that there could be characters that can't support with anybody at all. (Among other things.)

I just realized a dragon dies at or around the end of every FE game except 5 and 2.

1 and 3, Yep. 2, I don't think Doma's a dragon. 4, Wasn't Loptyr dead in the first place? 6, Well, Idun can be spared. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure Yahn would choose death. 7. Yep. 8, Yep. 9 and 10, Yep. 13, Going sort of into spoiler territory here.

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It's also nice that base conversations can relate to events that are actually happening in the story.

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Oh yes, I like base conversations too! PoR did really well with that and I'd be bringing them back if I could make my fic into a game.

I realize not every support conversation will give a lot of depth and development and such. But that's also why characters support with several different people (though not everyone, because that's just a loooot of work). One conversation with one character might not show much, but another with a different character could show a lot.

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I'd like to have the opportunity to shape the outcome and development of the story in varying ways depending on how I choose to play it, I guess

I guess

The game is really heavy on the tactics, but most of the time it's only a role-playing game in the sense that we're given a role, and we get to play it

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