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So I counted the size of every FE playable character roster out of boredom (yeah I waste my life). I put it in the spoilers.

What are your thoughts as to what you think the ideal number of playable characters in a single Fire Emblem game is?

Spoiler

Dark Dragon and the Blade of Light: 52 (51 per playthrough due to the Samson/Arran choice)

Gaiden: 32 (16 for Alm's team, 16 for Celica's team, but only 15 per playthrough for her due to the Sonia/Deen choice)

Mystery of the Emblem: Book 1- 47(46) and Book 2- 45.

Genealogy of the Holy War: 1st Generation- 24, 2nd Generation- 25 (24 per playthrough due to Iuchar/Iucharba; does not count substitutes)

Thracia 776: 52 (47 per playthrough due to the choices of Saias/Ced, Olwen/Ilios, and Miranda+Shannam+Conomor/Sleuf+Misha+Amalda)

Binding Blade: 54 (51 per playthrough with the Western Isles and Illia/Sacae splits, no Trial Map characters counted)

Blazing Blade: 43 (Hector Mode) 41 (Eliwood Mode) (41/39 characters per playthrough due to Wallace/Geitz and Karel/Harken; also I'm counting Ninian/Nils as one)

Sacred Stones: 33 (no Creature Campaign characters or Orson counted)

Path of Radiance: 47 (44 per playthrough due to Ena/Nasir and the Laguz Royals choice)

Radiant Dawn: 72 (not counting the Black Knight, but including the Second Playthrough only duo)

Shadow Dragon: 59 (only 51 at max per playthrough due to the blood price on Gaidens and the Nagi/Gotoh choice)

Heroes of Light and Shadow: 77 (one sex of MU, no BS characters, includes the final maidens)

Awakening: 49 ((36 without the kids) and includes one sex of Robin and Morgan and the Spotpass Paralogue characters)

Fates: 41 on Birthright, 40 on Conquest, 66 on Revelation excluding Scarlet (only one sex of Corrin and Kana counted, Anna is included)

Tearring Saga: 62 (58 per playthrough due to the two Marlon choices and Rebecca/Letena)

Berwick Saga: 35

Edit: Fixed the Revelation count

Edited by Interdimensional Observer

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Low to mid 40's sounds like the best balance. You want enough characters for flexible team building and replay value but you don't want so many that you end up benching the vast majority of them.

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I'd like around 50.  It's a wide range for a multitude of replayability, but not so overwhelming that there's too many.  I think that FE 12 had too many, but it was nice all the same.  I just hope that if it goes to the higher end of the spectrum, the supports are limited.  I'm not going to play a game 200 times over to get every pairing or support down.  It's too much.

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As a companion to the list, here's the largest amount of characters you can pick in one chapter for each game. Just did quick searches for the highest number, as Endgame chapters typically limit you to less. There's not a lot of information out on FE1 and 3, just their remakes, as well as 5 so that's where I'd expect somebody to fact check me.

Spoiler

 

FE1: 15 units on Chapter 21

FE2: All 16(Alm's army) and 15(Celica's army) Units (no limit)

FE3: (Book 2) 15 Units in Chapter 19

FFE4: All 24 units in Final chapter (no limit)

FE5: 18 units in Final Chapter

FE6: 16 units in Chapter 23

FE7: 16 units in Chapter 30E/32H

FE8: 18 units in Chapter 20

FE9: 19 units in chapter 26

FE10: 18 units in Chapter 4-4

FE11: 16 units in Chapter 21

FE12: 12 Units in Chapter 19

FE13: 30 units in Priam's Spotpass chapter, 16 units in Endgame.

Birthright: 16 units in Endgame

Conquest: 16 units in Endgame

Revelations: 16 units in Chapter 27

 

So as you can see, you're only capable of fielding a fraction of your full army by the end of the game. Only FE2 and FE4 lets you use 100% of your available army. Sacred Stones and Awakening are the only other games that lets you use even 50% (though that's assuming you count Priam's chapter in Awakening's case). FE9, Birthright, and Conquest deserve honorable mention for coming the closest to the 50% margin.

As a player, I shouldn't object to more content. Characters unused can add to more replay value. But for most classic entries as a veteran player, it's just to confirm those characters are as bad as they looked when I first compared their growths and bases. I think too many characters can create a real problem for casual and especially first time players. Since characters these days are designed with so much em, character, it makes you want to use them all. Even when you tell players like this to stick to a small selection of favorites, they still manage to look past the gaps in power and field unpromoted units in the game's final chapters. If these games were designed with less playable units in mind, then using them all would be more feasible, and cater to those players that actively want to use everybody. But on the flipside, being able to grind between chapters serves as an answer to power gaps. Not a very engaging solution, but it's there for players that need to train up a certain guy. I must applaud Fates for its Offspring Seal items that bring the Gen 2 up to a comfortable level if the player wants to avoid the grind, it's a magnificent idea for child units.

Edited by Gustavos

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Revelation has 66 playable characters excluding Scarlet, not 64. Let's count:

Spoiler
  1. Corrin
  2. Azura
  3. Felicia
  4. Jakob
  5. Gunter
  6. Mozu
  7. Sakura
  8. Kaze
  9. Hana
  10. Subaki
  11. Rinkah
  12. Hayato
  13. Takumi
  14. Hinata
  15. Oboro
  16. Saizo
  17. Orochi
  18. Reina
  19. Kagero
  20. Camilla
  21. Selena
  22. Beruka
  23. Kaden
  24. Keaton
  25. Elise
  26. Arthur
  27. Effie
  28. Charlotte
  29. Benny
  30. Silas
  31. Shura
  32. Nyx
  33. Ryoma
  34. Hinoka
  35. Azama
  36. Setsuna
  37. Xander
  38. Leo
  39. Odin
  40. Niles
  41. Laslow
  42. Peri
  43. Flora
  44. Fuga
  45. Kana
  46. Shigure
  47. Dwyer
  48. Sophie
  49. Midori
  50. Shiro
  51. Kiragi
  52. Asugi
  53. Selkie
  54. Hisame
  55. Mitama
  56. Caeldori
  57. Rhajat
  58. Siegbert
  59. Forrest
  60. Ignatius
  61. Velouria
  62. Percy
  63. Ophelia
  64. Soleil
  65. Nina
  66. Anna

I feel that it should also be mentioned that Fates has a total of 69 playable characters across all paths (the above plus Scarlet, Izana, and Yukimura).

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Somewhere around 40-50 sounds reasonable. Depending on the game it could go higher. I think Radiant Dawn had a reasonable amount for the story it was telling, but Revelations had too many. Fates as a whole didnt, because characters were split between routes, but based on how it was handled in Revelation they could of cut some more out.

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1 hour ago, Lightchao42 said:

Revelation has 66 playable characters excluding Scarlet, not 64. Let's count:

  Reveal hidden contents
  1. Corrin
  2. Azura
  3. Felicia
  4. Jakob
  5. Gunter
  6. Mozu
  7. Sakura
  8. Kaze
  9. Hana
  10. Subaki
  11. Rinkah
  12. Hayato
  13. Takumi
  14. Hinata
  15. Oboro
  16. Saizo
  17. Orochi
  18. Reina
  19. Kagero
  20. Camilla
  21. Selena
  22. Beruka
  23. Kaden
  24. Keaton
  25. Elise
  26. Arthur
  27. Effie
  28. Charlotte
  29. Benny
  30. Silas
  31. Shura
  32. Nyx
  33. Ryoma
  34. Hinoka
  35. Azama
  36. Setsuna
  37. Xander
  38. Leo
  39. Odin
  40. Niles
  41. Laslow
  42. Peri
  43. Flora
  44. Fuga
  45. Kana
  46. Shigure
  47. Dwyer
  48. Sophie
  49. Midori
  50. Shiro
  51. Kiragi
  52. Asugi
  53. Selkie
  54. Hisame
  55. Mitama
  56. Caeldori
  57. Rhajat
  58. Siegbert
  59. Forrest
  60. Ignatius
  61. Velouria
  62. Percy
  63. Ophelia
  64. Soleil
  65. Nina
  66. Anna

I feel that it should also be mentioned that Fates has a total of 69 playable characters across all paths (the above plus Scarlet, Izana, and Yukimura).

Fates has 71 characters that can support, if treating male and female versions of Corrin and Kana as separate characters. It honestly got pretty ridiculous, especially when DLC and route-exclusive supports are thrown into play (all 3 story routes have to be played at least twice and Anna's DLC map has to be played at least twice to complete the entire support log). Awakening wasn't so bad (51 characters if including both versions of Robin and Morgan as separate characters) but getting supports is still a lot of hard work since supports in Awakening don't grow as quickly when compared to in Fates and the player has to go all the way to Endgame before starting any of the Spotpass paralogues.

Edited by Roflolxp54

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Hmm my first though would be how many characters does the game bring supports for? Mainly seeing as how worthless most units felt in Shadow Dragon and to an extent certain members of the Dawn Brigade in FE10. But looking at the data you guys compiled I have to say I liked having more options so long as each character has enough viability to bring to the table preferably if there are enough circumstances to try out multiple units for the endgame in order to see who is the better of similar units. Thus I'm going to go with a unit count in the mid 40's but say that hinges on the games unit growths and scaling experience curves.

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While supports matter, we should also factor in gameplay concerning roster size. 

How many of a given class should we get? 2-4 seems ideal for most classes. 1 often seems like too little outside of dancers, but in the case of Canas, it kinda works by making him genuinely unique with exclusive access to Luna and Nosferatu until Athos. Pelleas being one of a kind on the other hand is meaningless because Dark Magic in RD is nothing special.

Rinkah being the only natural Oni Savage is okay, but at the same time not really so excusable because other characters (MoA, GK, Scarlet) can use Axes/Clubs. Though I think that could justify her as the only Oni Savage. I have no idea what I should assert.

Sacred Stones definitely should have had a couple more units I feel. Lute as the only Mage, Garcia as the only Fighter, Gilliam as the only Knight and Cormag as the only Wyvern Rider seems perhaps too limited. But, I could counter argue that Ewan, Ross, Amelia and promoted Tana/Vanessa could all compensate for my complaints. Again, I'm lost.

RD invariably has too many characters as a result of wanting to have all but one from PoR return, while adding new ones. However, unlike in HoLaS, the Part system plus the division into three armies in Part 4 makes the oversized roster work out somewhat. Many characters will be seeing at least marginal short term use, though using everyone is far from necessary (probably because permadeath would make it difficult for some players to complete the game if that weren't the case).

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3 hours ago, Interdimensional Observer said:

While supports matter, we should also factor in gameplay concerning roster size. 

How many of a given class should we get? 2-4 seems ideal for most classes. 1 often seems like too little outside of dancers, but in the case of Canas, it kinda works by making him genuinely unique with exclusive access to Luna and Nosferatu until Athos. Pelleas being one of a kind on the other hand is meaningless because Dark Magic in RD is nothing special.

Rinkah being the only natural Oni Savage is okay, but at the same time not really so excusable because other characters (MoA, GK, Scarlet) can use Axes/Clubs. Though I think that could justify her as the only Oni Savage. I have no idea what I should assert.

Sacred Stones definitely should have had a couple more units I feel. Lute as the only Mage, Garcia as the only Fighter, Gilliam as the only Knight and Cormag as the only Wyvern Rider seems perhaps too limited. But, I could counter argue that Ewan, Ross, Amelia and promoted Tana/Vanessa could all compensate for my complaints. Again, I'm lost.

RD invariably has too many characters as a result of wanting to have all but one from PoR return, while adding new ones. However, unlike in HoLaS, the Part system plus the division into three armies in Part 4 makes the oversized roster work out somewhat. Many characters will be seeing at least marginal short term use, though using everyone is far from necessary (probably because permadeath would make it difficult for some players to complete the game if that weren't the case).

Ah, but remember that current Fire Emblem is all about reclassing. So while you should make one character to represent each class, I hardly see a need for a quota beyond this. Fates comes with 4 samurai, plus nine more that can heart seal to samurai (Izana, Kaze, Subaki, Saizo, Yukimura, Odin, Caeldori, Asugi, Shiro), then all the characters who can S or A+ support with the initial four can use partner seals to earn the class. That's a lot of astra. Furthermore, the shared characters who aren't corrin-sexual can pass on their non-unique classes (corrin, azura, kaze, silas, mozu, jakob, felicia) to countless partners in either game. I don't think characters need to be added for the sake of padding out class distribution when each character is such a blank slate in this regard.

My ideal Fire Emblem title would have a cast of no more than 15-20 where everybody has their own class that's customizable with skills and weapon types earned via paralogues and supports. And the plot would be very character driven to reflect the small army. Then add the ability to pad out the army by purchasing mercs, capturing units, things like that. I know the Fire Emblem we play can't really be framed with such a small roster, but I'd like to see them try some day.

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I think Eliwood's Mode, Birthright and Conquest have the perfect amount (Low 40's). It doesn't feel overwhelming like Radiant Dawn or Revelations (I like that both Hoshido and Nohr join forces and become friends but fuck is looking after two armies a handful) for someone like me who likes/wants to use everybody. Sacred Stones feels to low but it satisfies the part of me that likes/wants to use everybody. 

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It really depends on the game. Radiant Dawn felt natural with it's high character count because it generally gave eveyrone a reason to be there. But New Mystery just had characters shoved in your face with little rhyme or reason for them to exist.

On 3/6/2017 at 2:25 PM, Gustavos said:

As a companion to the list, here's the largest amount of characters you can pick in one chapter for each game. Just did quick searches for the highest number, as Endgame chapters typically limit you to less. There's not a lot of information out on FE1 and 3, just their remakes, as well as 5 so that's where I'd expect somebody to fact check me.

  Hide contents

 

FE1: 15 units on Chapter 21

FE2: All 16(Alm's army) and 15(Celica's army) Units (no limit)

FE3: (Book 2) 15 Units in Chapter 19

FFE4: All 24 units in Final chapter (no limit)

FE5: 18 units in Final Chapter

FE6: 16 units in Chapter 23

FE7: 16 units in Chapter 30E/32H

FE8: 18 units in Chapter 20

FE9: 19 units in chapter 26

FE10: 18 units in Chapter 4-4

FE11: 16 units in Chapter 21

FE12: 12 Units in Chapter 19

FE13: 30 units in Priam's Spotpass chapter, 16 units in Endgame.

Birthright: 16 units in Endgame

Conquest: 16 units in Endgame

Revelations: 16 units in Chapter 27

 

So as you can see, you're only capable of fielding a fraction of your full army by the end of the game. Only FE2 and FE4 lets you use 100% of your available army. Sacred Stones and Awakening are the only other games that lets you use even 50% (though that's assuming you count Priam's chapter in Awakening's case). FE9, Birthright, and Conquest deserve honorable mention for coming the closest to the 50% margin.

As a player, I shouldn't object to more content. Characters unused can add to more replay value. But for most classic entries as a veteran player, it's just to confirm those characters are as bad as they looked when I first compared their growths and bases. I think too many characters can create a real problem for casual and especially first time players. Since characters these days are designed with so much em, character, it makes you want to use them all. Even when you tell players like this to stick to a small selection of favorites, they still manage to look past the gaps in power and field unpromoted units in the game's final chapters. If these games were designed with less playable units in mind, then using them all would be more feasible, and cater to those players that actively want to use everybody. But on the flipside, being able to grind between chapters serves as an answer to power gaps. Not a very engaging solution, but it's there for players that need to train up a certain guy. I must applaud Fates for its Offspring Seal items that bring the Gen 2 up to a comfortable level if the player wants to avoid the grind, it's a magnificent idea for child units.

Gaiden does have somel limits to its deployments. Some dungeon chapters limit your deployment to only five or six units and for the final chapter it allows you 20 units (10 from each army, bigger than you can deploy anywhere else in the game but still limited).

Edited by Jotari

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