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Harvey

Just how popular is Fire Emblem as a TRPG series as a whole

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As the main series that sticks to a genre that is arguably niche, how does it compare to the other ones in the same genre? I mean obviously, as a Nintendo IP, its major and even Nintendo acknowledges it but as a series compared to the others?

 

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It sort of depends what you mean, I think.

Final Fantasy as a series is almost certainly more popular than Fire Emblem, for example, but only a small subset of Final Fantasy games are SRPGs, and I don't know that that subset by itself eclipses FE in popularity.

The impression I get is that Fire Emblem is the most popular primarily-Strategy RPG series in the west, but that's also not accounting for the way that what's popular among the broader gaming populace can differ from what's popular among, say, people who are specifically SRPG fans. Narrowing it down like that, I think it becomes considerably less likely that Fire Emblem is the most popular with that subgroup.

Sort of like how SSB is almost certainly the most popular fighting game series overall but is almost certainly not the most popular among fighting game fans.

Edited by Topaz Light

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26 minutes ago, Topaz Light said:

It sort of depends what you mean, I think.

Final Fantasy as a series is almost certainly more popular than Fire Emblem, for example, but only a small subset of Final Fantasy games are SRPGs, and I don't know that that subset by itself eclipses FE in popularity.

The impression I get is that Fire Emblem is the most popular primarily-Strategy RPG series in the west, but that's also not accounting for the way that what's popular among the broader gaming populace can differ from what's popular among, say, people who are specifically SRPG fans. Narrowing it down like that, I think it becomes considerably less likely that Fire Emblem is the most popular with that subgroup.

Sort of like how SSB is almost certainly the most popular fighting game series overall but is almost certainly not the most popular among fighting game fans.

From what I primarily hear from specifically SRPG fans, they consider Tactics Ogre the pinnacle of the genre. But that could be their nostalgia talking. I will say that Tactics Ogre does have some really interesting mechanics though.

In terms of SRPG games known among the general public, Fire Emblem is definitely one of the most popular. XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics, and Disgaea are all well known series as well. It's difficult to judge the popularity of each installment, as they've all had their ups and downs.

 

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I think tactical/strategy games have generally been more popular in the PC/western gaming space. Especially in the twenty-first century. Civilization, Total War, XCOM. All turn based games, but not the sort I ever hear people refer to as "rpgs", even though rpg elements exist. I only play XCOM to really judge, and well, there's more role playing elements than the average "rpg" when I can make a team of 80s action movie stars to fight the aliens. 

I don't know the Japanese srpg space too well outside Fire Emblem, but it always gave me the impression of trying to climb out a pit of decline, particularly beginning in the late 90s to mid 2000s. Not many franchises made it past that point And when a game like Valkyria Chronicles found modest success in 2008, everybody was surprised. The Shining series is no longer a strategy game. Front Mission has been a third person shooter in the last ten years (and the less said about Left Alive, the better, yeesh). Tactics Ogre/Ogre Battle doesn't seem to be a thing anymore. Disgaea seems to be doing well? 

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In the SRPG world: Fairly well-known.  I don't think people have glowing reviews of the FE fanbase.  Would like to change that.

In the greater world: SRPGs aren't as popular as stuff like ARPGs.  Those that know Smash probably know something of FE.  But in the grand scheme of things?  I think we're on the smaller end.

Edited by eclipse

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Probably very well known when it comes to SRPGs, but as a whole we're certainly no Halo.

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XCOM is bigger than Fire Emblem (although if you fully count Heroes it isn't), but people sometimes genre-police hard enough to say that it's own genre rather than an SRPG.

Disgaea is the 2nd largest TRPG for normal all intents and purposes - with Valkyria Chronicles being a 3rd.

Langrisser, Sakura Force, and Shining Force are historical competeiors to fire emblem but are likely doomed to remain niche games. 

Square Enix's TRPGs are often considered spin offs, but a Square Enix spinoff can outsell same gen "full" RPGs from other companies(Look at FFT / Ogre Battle  influence vs the entire Grandia or Breath of Fire Franchsies) - Front Mission essentially died after its 2 PS2 games, but  it's impossible to claim that TRPGs outside of the big 3 or other "retired" TRPGs have a bigger footprint (in terms of mechanics homaged by later games by smaller developers) or unit sales history than FM/FFT/Ogre.

Atlus had the Digitital Devil Saga (DDS) spin offs of SMT, but with main SMT being dwarfed by Persona, it's might be a bit late for it. 

Super Robot Wars is an extra niche game, due to the giant robo thing - but should stay small despite actually getting new releases -  it is too reliant on the brand, and outside of Japan markets translations have to rely on a portion of the audience not being genre fans and thus inevitably review bombing (because it is kinda dicey)

If we're going to talk about the other Western games - the size  of their playerbase and influence is generally small (only XCOM is a serious exception), but people who play Battle Brothers or Blackguards, within their niche, are unlikely to be fans of most of the before-mentioned Japanese TRPGs due to the lack of intensive mechanics-  and then of course their are the games that are much more tactics games than TRPG hybirds - Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, and their modern clones - their popularity Is enough to sometimes push out a modern game with their mechanics, but their communities don't seem to grow much or attract developers so much as modders.

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18 hours ago, Reality said:

XCOM is bigger than Fire Emblem (although if you fully count Heroes it isn't), but people sometimes genre-police hard enough to say that it's own genre rather than an SRPG.

Disgaea is the 2nd largest TRPG for normal all intents and purposes - with Valkyria Chronicles being a 3rd.

Langrisser, Sakura Force, and Shining Force are historical competeiors to fire emblem but are likely doomed to remain niche games. 

Square Enix's TRPGs are often considered spin offs, but a Square Enix spinoff can outsell same gen "full" RPGs from other companies(Look at FFT / Ogre Battle  influence vs the entire Grandia or Breath of Fire Franchsies) - Front Mission essentially died after its 2 PS2 games, but  it's impossible to claim that TRPGs outside of the big 3 or other "retired" TRPGs have a bigger footprint (in terms of mechanics homaged by later games by smaller developers) or unit sales history than FM/FFT/Ogre.

Atlus had the Digitital Devil Saga (DDS) spin offs of SMT, but with main SMT being dwarfed by Persona, it's might be a bit late for it. 

Super Robot Wars is an extra niche game, due to the giant robo thing - but should stay small despite actually getting new releases -  it is too reliant on the brand, and outside of Japan markets translations have to rely on a portion of the audience not being genre fans and thus inevitably review bombing (because it is kinda dicey)

If we're going to talk about the other Western games - the size  of their playerbase and influence is generally small (only XCOM is a serious exception), but people who play Battle Brothers or Blackguards, within their niche, are unlikely to be fans of most of the before-mentioned Japanese TRPGs due to the lack of intensive mechanics-  and then of course their are the games that are much more tactics games than TRPG hybirds - Jagged Alliance, Silent Storm, and their modern clones - their popularity Is enough to sometimes push out a modern game with their mechanics, but their communities don't seem to grow much or attract developers so much as modders.

In Japan, SRPGs are classified as Simulation RPGs due to characters interacting with one another. 

I doubt that X-Com is bigger than Fire Emblem especially when you consider that Fire Emblem came way earlier than X-Com but I digress.

But...its really upsetting that the genre itself can't be appreciated outside of tacticians and strategists.

 

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I don't want to slog through VG charts, but I remember articles that, XCOM 2 sold 800K in its first year with a fall release, and it's first week sales were double that of Awakening --- the combined sales of Julain Grop's Original XCOM, console ports, the first reboot (enemy unknown) and Firaxis/2K NuXCOM are pretty extreme, .  (with the bulk  of sales being from NuXCOM games and expansions) // And these bigger sales are also generally at a higher price per unit than FE games. 

not to mention that more western tactics games developed post Xcom had roots in their mechanics rather than sourcing straight  from tabletop wargames ---whereas original Fire Emblem took strategy roots from Famicom Wars, which itself used an interface close to japan home computer ports of Wizard's Crown and Pool of Radiance - and rather than becoming a monolith - most of the succeeding JP TRPGs took made up their own mechanics fairly independently. -

Also Rebelstar was made before Fire Emblem 1 (although it's fair not to include it in the XCOM franchise) and XCOM 's 1994 is the same year as Mystery of the Emblem, only 4 years after Shadow Dragon -

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22 hours ago, Reality said:

Super Robot Wars is an extra niche game, due to the giant robo thing - but should stay small despite actually getting new releases -  it is too reliant on the brand, and outside of Japan markets translations have to rely on a portion of the audience not being genre fans and thus inevitably review bombing (because it is kinda dicey)

It's not easily accessible outside of Asia, either.  Newer SRW releases are in English, but I'd need to import them (which means it would cost more).

3 hours ago, Harvey said:

But...its really upsetting that the genre itself can't be appreciated outside of tacticians and strategists.

Says who?

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15 hours ago, eclipse said:

Says who?

What do you mean says who? The overall genre itself is niche and doesn't print as much money as the other main genres like Platformers, Action-Adventures and of course, other RPGs that are not tactical.

Heck, Nintendo didn't see the importance of Fire Emblem until like after Awakening sold like hot cakes and even then, that was only because there weren't many RPGs released for the 3DS at the time. Only reason why Nintendo keeps focusing on Fire Emblem is because it prints them money and the fact that its one of their owned IPs that's partly RPG..something which Nintendo unlike others don't seem to focus a lot on.

17 hours ago, Reality said:

I don't want to slog through VG charts, but I remember articles that, XCOM 2 sold 800K in its first year with a fall release, and it's first week sales were double that of Awakening --- the combined sales of Julain Grop's Original XCOM, console ports, the first reboot (enemy unknown) and Firaxis/2K NuXCOM are pretty extreme, .  (with the bulk  of sales being from NuXCOM games and expansions) // And these bigger sales are also generally at a higher price per unit than FE games. 

not to mention that more western tactics games developed post Xcom had roots in their mechanics rather than sourcing straight  from tabletop wargames ---whereas original Fire Emblem took strategy roots from Famicom Wars, which itself used an interface close to japan home computer ports of Wizard's Crown and Pool of Radiance - and rather than becoming a monolith - most of the succeeding JP TRPGs took made up their own mechanics fairly independently. -

Also Rebelstar was made before Fire Emblem 1 (although it's fair not to include it in the XCOM franchise) and XCOM 's 1994 is the same year as Mystery of the Emblem, only 4 years after Shadow Dragon -

That is debatable as there were several TRPGs that existed before Xcom and such. Silver Ghost I believe was one and it was Fire Emblem that sort of made the genre atleast notable in Japan..atleast that is what I want to believe in.

Even so, the RPGs you mentioned were adding elements of strategy which were only used in small sections. What we're talking about is a genre that relies heavily on Strategy with RPG elements to complex the mechanics.

 

Edited by Harvey

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44 minutes ago, Harvey said:

What do you mean says who? The overall genre itself is niche and doesn't print as much money as the other main genres like Platformers, Action-Adventures and of course, other RPGs that are not tactical.

Honestly, Three Houses’s winning Tactical Game of the Year is just sad. It plays like a turn-based RPG on a grid. Enemies simply cannot kill you even if you make terrible “tactical” mistakes, the battles are more about the level than the strategy, and the majority of time spent on it is outside the maps.

What I mean is that Three Houses won that award precisely because it is “not” as niche. Its social and anime components appealed to a wider audience, and this exposition landed it the award. (Wargroove is easy too, but infinitely more tactical; and it plays so differently that their being in the same category is simply odd.)

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10 hours ago, starburst said:

Honestly, Three Houses’s winning Tactical Game of the Year is just sad. It plays like a turn-based RPG on a grid. Enemies simply cannot kill you even if you make terrible “tactical” mistakes, the battles are more about the level than the strategy, and the majority of time spent on it is outside the maps.

What I mean is that Three Houses won that award precisely because it is “not” as niche. Its social and anime components appealed to a wider audience, and this exposition landed it the award. (Wargroove is easy too, but infinitely more tactical; and it plays so differently that their being in the same category is simply odd.)

I call bullshit on that, given that most units in 3H are nowhere near unkillable, even if admittedly, the pre-timeskip maps aren't too hard. I've yet to see anything on the level of Xander or Ryoma in said game.

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18 hours ago, Harvey said:

What do you mean says who? The overall genre itself is niche and doesn't print as much money as the other main genres like Platformers, Action-Adventures and of course, other RPGs that are not tactical.

Heck, Nintendo didn't see the importance of Fire Emblem until like after Awakening sold like hot cakes and even then, that was only because there weren't many RPGs released for the 3DS at the time. Only reason why Nintendo keeps focusing on Fire Emblem is because it prints them money and the fact that its one of their owned IPs that's partly RPG..something which Nintendo unlike others don't seem to focus a lot on.

. . .so you want FE to be the next CoD or something?

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8 hours ago, eclipse said:

. . .so you want FE to be the next CoD or something?

I want FE to be major on par like atleast Metroid having greatest game meme thing which is just not gonna happen because of it being in a genre that isn't major.

 

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4 hours ago, Harvey said:

I want FE to be major on par like atleast Metroid having greatest game meme thing which is just not gonna happen because of it being in a genre that isn't major.

 

I appreciate the sentiment, but why is this important?  Is there something inherently wrong with a smallish fanbase?

If you want to see the downsides of a large following, look no further than the likes of Star Wars.  Now ask yourself if that's what you want the FE community to look like. . .because if this game had true mass appeal, that's what would happen.

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On 1/14/2020 at 12:10 AM, eclipse said:

I appreciate the sentiment, but why is this important?  Is there something inherently wrong with a smallish fanbase?

If you want to see the downsides of a large following, look no further than the likes of Star Wars.  Now ask yourself if that's what you want the FE community to look like. . .because if this game had true mass appeal, that's what would happen.

There are several series that have large mass appeals that are also consistent. Like dragon quest or quite easily, Mario.

The thing here is unlike other devs, Nintendo rarely makes sequels of games that aren't in demand and that's because of how small the fanbase for these games are.

If Fire emblem is small, then they won't develop sequels as consistently as possible.

 

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Fire Emblem is quite a big series despite jokes of it being weeb chess. 3H sold over 2 million copies in 3 months so I think for sure it is big (this is also ignoring the fact that it won Player's Choice and Heroes exists). In Japan FE is one of the most popular series and it has started to get a sizeable audience even in USA because of Awakening and Fates. In TRPG subgenre it wouldn't be an over estimation to say that it ranks up there with the likes of XCOM. Now comparing it to traditional Nintendo franchises is unfair because FE really got a foothold in 2012 but I digress.

On 1/15/2020 at 12:10 AM, eclipse said:

I appreciate the sentiment, but why is this important?  Is there something inherently wrong with a smallish fanbase?

If you want to see the downsides of a large following, look no further than the likes of Star Wars.  Now ask yourself if that's what you want the FE community to look like. . .because if this game had true mass appeal, that's what would happen.

I do agree that a large community does attract... toxic people to say the least (*cough* Smash *cough*) but that isn't to say that a large community is entirely disadvantageous. Consistent game releases, some bonus DLC for players, Cipher cards and real life events are neat bonuses that you can't really see with a smaller community (Rivals of Aether being one of the few exceptions to this rule). Besides, a larger community means more people to communicate to about this series and I always see that as a win.

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The way I see it, Fire Emblem has a popularity level roughly on par with the Tales of series: We have a solid, medium-sized, dedicated following and our games appear on a solid number of "Best of" lists for our genre.

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17 hours ago, Harvey said:

There are several series that have large mass appeals that are also consistent. Like dragon quest or quite easily, Mario.

The thing here is unlike other devs, Nintendo rarely makes sequels of games that aren't in demand and that's because of how small the fanbase for these games are.

If Fire emblem is small, then they won't develop sequels as consistently as possible.

 

Given how Heroes is, I don't think we're in danger of NOT having a sequel.  But fear of not having what you want isn't a good thing - sooner or later, your desires and reality will diverge.  Better to learn how to handle it, especially for something as small as a video game.

12 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Fire Emblem is quite a big series despite jokes of it being weeb chess. 3H sold over 2 million copies in 3 months so I think for sure it is big (this is also ignoring the fact that it won Player's Choice and Heroes exists). In Japan FE is one of the most popular series and it has started to get a sizeable audience even in USA because of Awakening and Fates. In TRPG subgenre it wouldn't be an over estimation to say that it ranks up there with the likes of XCOM. Now comparing it to traditional Nintendo franchises is unfair because FE really got a foothold in 2012 but I digress.

I do agree that a large community does attract... toxic people to say the least (*cough* Smash *cough*) but that isn't to say that a large community is entirely disadvantageous. Consistent game releases, some bonus DLC for players, Cipher cards and real life events are neat bonuses that you can't really see with a smaller community (Rivals of Aether being one of the few exceptions to this rule). Besides, a larger community means more people to communicate to about this series and I always see that as a win.

CCGs are another beast entirely, so I'm going to leave that alone.

I'm on the moderator end of things.  I'll take quality over quantity - big numbers are irrelevant if I have to kick them off the forums.

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9 minutes ago, eclipse said:

Given how Heroes is, I don't think we're in danger of NOT having a sequel.  But fear of not having what you want isn't a good thing - sooner or later, your desires and reality will diverge.  Better to learn how to handle it, especially for something as small as a video game.

Oh thanks for such a good advice. I guess it's wrong to demand games from a corporate especially the one who makes only one rpg franchise..or two. I already am not getting a lot of things that I want and have come to terms of it so again, thanks for the reminder.

 

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1 hour ago, eclipse said:

CCGs are another beast entirely, so I'm going to leave that alone.

I'm on the moderator end of things.  I'll take quality over quantity - big numbers are irrelevant if I have to kick them off the forums.

That is true. I often don't have to deal with this nonsense of toxic people but that doesn't mean they don't exist and they do really harm a game and it's community's reputation.

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