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Eryon

Could the next Fire Emblem not have any designated villans? (SPOILERS For Recent Games)

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Discussion about Three Houses' plot more or less settled on the Slithers being among the weaker parts of it. To sum up their problems:

1. Edelgard and Rhea both are both big enough enemies that each can carry the plot.

2. Kronya and Solon don't have much of a place in the story even with how Kronya kills Jeralt.

3. The more interesting Slithers like Cornelia aren't interesting from being members but are interesting from their apparent relations outside of being slithers.

4. Ultimately they just serve as an excuse for Edelgard's faction to be party to mean things without being too mean.

The last point is especially key. From a sheer player pandering point, it's no surprise that there's an obvious scapegoat who commits atrocities the player would be repulsed by if committed by their leader (see Edelgard). Juuust enough deniability. You saw this in Conquest too with Anankos and King Goo.

So the question is, if we're continuing the current direction of the franchise by Three Houses, we'll we ever see a rejection of characters like Anankos and the Slithers?

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29 minutes ago, Eryon said:

The last point is especially key. From a sheer player pandering point, it's no surprise that there's an obvious scapegoat who commits atrocities the player would be repulsed by if committed by their leader (see Edelgard). Juuust enough deniability. You saw this in Conquest too with Anankos and King Goo.

So the question is, if we're continuing the current direction of the franchise by Three Houses, we'll we ever see a rejection of characters like Anankos and the Slithers?

the archtypes present probably not because they tend to just be typical fire emblem staples and i dont see them completely vanishing from the series life blood at any point, but in terms of 'scapegoat villains'? depends on what the next fe will be like. if it goes back to a more traditional structure, which i kinda hope it does because im a bit worn on these chose your own adventure novels and i feel that they split resources to much, probably not. But if a 'you can play as the bad guys (but they arent that bad so dont feel guilty of the fuckin)' faction shows up in the next one as well then yes probably.

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To me, Those Who Slither In the Dark felt like a worse version of the Black Fang. The members we know all feel like "EVVVVVVVVILLLLLLLL" villains rather than villains who are interesting. Lloyd and Linus were a great duo, they played off each other's strengths well. Nergal, though you find out his full story through unclear means, has an interesting backstory. They could've done more with them but they didn't. 

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Well, the standard we had been working with was "the bad guys aren't bad guys because mind control". I'm not going to say TWSITD are better, but I'd be willing to send them a "You tried" certificate on the grounds that nobody was brainwashed. That we know of, Edelgard is...this is not the time or place for that theory. The execution of TWSITD and how they vacuum up the blame from the "evil path" of choosing Edelgard is something I'd sooner blame on the decision to write three different games instead of one game for this extremely compelling world they've constructed.

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We're stuck in FE tradition. Sorcerer villains are never going away at this point.

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What I would like to see if for them to have fun with it once. Team Rocketify the sorceror villains and play them off as a joke, only to have them wiped out by the actual antagonists. 

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1 minute ago, Etheus said:

Team Rocketify the sorceror villains and play them off as a joke, only to have them wiped out by the actual antagonists. 

They should do that but only the first part.

"Oh. So that summons a world eating dragon. Um...I meant to do that! Yeah, uh...y'all have fun with that. I'm going to go eat some rice, I think."

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27 minutes ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

They should do that but only the first part.

"Oh. So that summons a world eating dragon. Um...I meant to do that! Yeah, uh...y'all have fun with that. I'm going to go eat some rice, I think."

That's brilliant. And the eldritch horror would be so much more terrifying if it was this unthinkable, unknowable thing summoned by complete accident. 

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I have mixed feelings on this.
On the one hand, I love morally gray characters.
On the other, I don't want to see people spending 10 years arguing about who is REALLY the villain because no one on the internet has any sense of morality other than black and white. 
So, uh, I don't know. They probably won't get rid of the generic sorcerers though. 

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1 hour ago, Etheus said:

That's brilliant. And the eldritch horror would be so much more terrifying if it was this unthinkable, unknowable thing summoned by complete accident. 

"I don't exactly know why its locked behind the sacrifice of twelve holy virgins, but the unending guilt is totally gonna be worth it for infinite rice!"
"Infinite rice?"
"That's what this book says this will summon."

It truly would be something beautiful to behold.

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Fire Emblem has never been about moral grey, nor has it ever pulled it off. 3H definitely had a weak villain presence, Edelgard and Rhea included. Both were incredibly confusingly and inconsistently written, it felt as if the writers themselves weren't sure what they wanted the characters to be. This is especially noticeable in Rhea.

So, I think 3H would have benefitted greatly from a stronger big bad presence in the background. This doesn't necessarily need to be some Gharnef or Loptyr, just look at Sephiran. TWSITD felt like an attempt at this, but ultimately went nowhere and were completely pointless.

In short, Fire Emblem definitely needs some form of big bad for the stories to work.

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On 8/30/2019 at 1:24 PM, Fire Brand said:

Fire Emblem has never been about moral grey, nor has it ever pulled it off.

I've often reflected that the most morally grey Fire Emblem game is Genealogy of the Holy War. Which is amusing as I also think it's simultaneously the most black and white. A lot of the antagonists are genuinely decent people forced into a conflict they lack the proper context for and believe they are undeniably right in their views, or at least as equally condemnable as their enemies. But then you have the child murdering blood sacrificing cultists who seem like they're in some sort of competition for most evil people of the century.

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Three Houses should've been about the political infighting between the three realms and the church's control over the continent through their doctrine and crests. Anything else is filler and beyond the premise of the story.

If instead of the Agartheans we had the figureheads of the other churches as the main antagonists for part 1, it'd be much more interesting, because it'd show just how much their religious doctrine is influent in politics, as well as how the Central Church (and Rhea in particular) is ruthless toward those who stray from the path she wishes them to follow. The western church could be the "orthodox" to the central's "catholic", and the clash of doctrines and power plays could be the main conflict motivator for part 1.

Maybe instead of dealing with the Agarthians (who wouldn't need to exist* in this timeline), Edelgard chooses to make an alliance with the Western Church in their conspiracy to outplay the Central Church, only to ditch them by part 1's end due to her ultimate goal being that of "breaking the wheel" altogether.

* Tomas could very well be recycled as a Western Church bishop, Kronya could be recycled as an imperial assassin directly under Edelgard, Cornelia could be a heretic mole inside the Kingdom.

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17 hours ago, Jotari said:

I've often reflected that the most morally grey Fire Emblem game is Genealogy of the Holy War. Which is amusing as I also think it's simultaneously the most black and white. A lot of the antagonists are genuinely decent people forced into a conflict they lack the proper context for and believe they are undeniably right in their views, or at least as equally condemnable as their enemies. But then you have the child murdering blood sacrificing cultists who seem like they're in some sort of competition for most evil people of the century.

Yes, I would agree there. What Three Houses failed to understand, however, is the "morally grey" characters in FE4 do not work on their own, but are reliant on the big bad behind the scenes. They were all being manipulated in some way by the Loptyr Cult, be it Manfroy, Veld, Julius, etc.. Edelgard was clearly an attempt to copy these characters, but completely fell flat, as they forgot you can't just take Arvis and make him the main villain. That wasn't his role in Genealogy. The only way to do this would be to change the character to the point where they would no longer be recognisable. 

And that's kinda the issue with Edelgard; they don't know what to do with her. Sometimes it seems they're going for just the big bad emperor, but she's always so whiny, weak, and dependent on professor-senpai-sama-senpai-sama you wonder how she got anything done to begin with. TWSITD seem like a last minute attempt to shove in a manipulative force behind the scenes, but, well, we all know how that turned out. So in the end you get some kind of weird type of anti-hero. Confusing and inconsistent writing does not equal complexity of characters. 

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More or less every problem you talked about roots in how they didn't just make Edelgard the undisputed big enemy but instead coped-out by including TWSITD to serve as a way for her to at least take advantage of dastardly antics without being too repulsive an option for the player to join with unironically.

Edited by Eryon

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They should just go all out with the villain side if they're going to keep up the branching paths (which I hope they put to rest for a while now). I mean we have strategy games like Starcraft and Command & Conquer where you can play as the absolutely despicable factions and no one complains about that. Just go full haul and let us join the Lopt Sect. IMO a morally lacking monster is better than an unironic moral hypocrite.

Edited by Jotari

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1 hour ago, Eryon said:

More or less every problem you talked about roots in how they didn't just make Edelgard the undisputed big enemy but instead coped-out by including TWSITD to serve as a way for her to at least take advantage of dastardly antics without being too repulsive an option for the player to join with unironically.

That's definitely another option, and one which could work very well. However, the game would need to make more of an effort to make Edelgard fully evil, as currently none of her actions are enough to make her such. Her character would have to be drastically changed in order for it to work. 

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1 hour ago, Fire Brand said:

That's definitely another option, and one which could work very well. However, the game would need to make more of an effort to make Edelgard fully evil, as currently none of her actions are enough to make her such. Her character would have to be drastically changed in order for it to work. 

Starting a continental war during peace time against nations that have no hostility towards you is pretty damn evil all in all. It's just how you frame things. The narrative still prevents Edelgard as there's some nuance or justification there when really there's not (at least not in either of the routes I've played). Presentations a big thing. Just compare her to Ashnard. They basically do the exact same thing. Only Ashnard rides a big black dragon and has a shit eating grin so he's obviously more villainous.

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Edelgard is in the position Light Yagami was where more or less nobody sides with her for her but from agreeing with her politics. Making her the undispusted big enemy wouldn't shift that.

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Agreed with Eryon, at the momenent El has a compelling reason to do what she's doing and yet we know that there's still sense of reason to her actions. Making her just the big bad will make her into a character that has to be unrepentent. 

The issue with making a villian that's not some big evil being is that you have to consider how sympathetic you need to make them. Too little and you have to wonder why not make them full on evil and one dimensional, which isn't bad in my opinion, we need more of those in games honestly. Too much and players will be left wondering why they weren't on the good guy side. El would fall way to much in the latter catagory, more so than she does now. By having her where she is, it let's you sympathize with her and yet still want to beat the baddies. 
 

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