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Armchair General

When do you think that they'll let us play as the villains?

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It's just something that's been bugging me, lately: Most of the stuff that came out over the years is that the bad guys invade a peaceful country for a few reasons and it's either up to a band of mercenaries or an cadre of knights to take up the sword and shove it through somebody's entrails. Oh, and they always succeed because they were chosen by God. Or something.

 

Now the writing and the gameplay of Fire Emblem is usually good enough to make something worthwhile out of this premise, but how much would it hurt if the antagonists actually won? Aside from, you know "...and then the world burned for a thousand years as humanity was wiped off the faced of the Earth and it's all the fault King Norm the Fanatical"?

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So which do you mean: Playing AS the villain, or just a story where the villain ends up winning?

I guess the closest we're gonna get to the former is something like Conquest or Crimson Flower. As for the latter, I think it would only happen in a scenario with multiple endings (Like FE6 and its "bad" ending). The stories in Fire Emblem are generally really straightforward and normally lead up to the heroes defeating some form of "ultimate evil". There might be some gray along the way, but in the end its usually a pretty black and white conflict.

It would be pretty cool to see a Fire Emblem game with a kind of bittersweet ending though. Who knows, maybe we'll get a game with a darker tone somewhere down the line.

Edited by Mattos313

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5 minutes ago, Mattos313 said:

So which do you mean: Playing AS the villain, or just a story where the villain ends up winning?

Could be either one. I know that Awakening has some DLC, but that's from an alternative timeline.

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Conquest really tries to force that you are not the villain, and that is one of the reasons why the game's story fails.

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14 minutes ago, Maof06 said:

Conquest really tries to force that you are not the villain, and that is one of the reasons why the game's story fails.

Yeah, but the rules lawyering between the MC and Iago is kind of entertaining... But Xander's  justice speech felt out of place.

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There was that one-off DLC battle in New Mystery with Gharnef and the assassins...

But a full game? I don't see it ever happening. It's been done before in other SRPGs, Soul Nomad did it back in 2007, and I think Langrisser many years before that had endings where you could side with the dark god. LostMagic, a 2006 DS RTS with a child-friendly story, did have a bad ending too wherein everybody dies.

I can't find it in FE to embrace playable pure evil though, particularly now that it is popular. Going for an SMT "all sides are equally good & garbage" approach is as close as it'll ever get.

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As well as Conquest, there's also the Crimson Flower route of Three Houses which -- while not necessarily a villainous route, per se -- definitely has you playing as the aggressor in the war and as the group who are the antagonists in the other three routes. I honestly can't see them making anything more overtly villainous than Conquest or Crimson Flower, at least not in the short to medium term. It would be a pretty substantial shift in tone for the series and would risk alienating existing fans, especially considering that the recent renewed success from Awakening onwards has really emphasised the power of friendship, sparkly rainbow bunnies and the likes. Beyond that, Nintendo are notoriously careful about their image. Fire Emblem is already one of the darkest Nintendo franchises, and I doubt they'd give the green light to a fully evil protagonist. At least, not unless it was a Wario-style comedy-evil protagonist, but that would also be very tonally inconsistent with Fire Emblem, so is also unlikely.

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I don't think that many people want to play as an overtly evil protagonist. A morally complicated one: yes, absolutely. But playing as someone actually evil is very off-putting for a lot of people, so I wouldn't expect to see it happen outside a "what if" mode which is clearly not the main game, and may even require the player already beat the main campaign first to unlock (someone mentioned Soul Nomad, that's a good example).

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I mean...that's just fiction in general. That first paragraph could describe 99% of stories that have ever existed, in any medium. People don't want to see the bad guy win in the end. Even stories which seem to feature a "bad guy wins" plot usually have some sort of eventual turnaround.

So, to answer the title question: Never. At least not as a full campaign. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

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I would like a side story type of deal, maybe a bonus chapter where the lord you control is a literal villain. But not an evil protagonist in the main game. 

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8 hours ago, lenticular said:

At least, not unless it was a Wario-style comedy-evil protagonist, but that would also be very tonally inconsistent with Fire Emblem, so is also unlikely.

"WA-HAH-HAH! I'mma gonna revive the dragon god!"

"..."

"LOSERS!"

I'm down for it.

1 hour ago, Florete said:

People don't want to see the bad guy win in the end. Even stories which seem to feature a "bad guy wins" plot usually have some sort of eventual turnaround.

So, to answer the title question: Never. At least not as a full campaign. And I don't see anything wrong with that.

But what makes someone a "bad guy"?

Honestly, Fire Emblem plots are flat and generic. That's alright if the gameplay is still entertaining, but I wouldn't expect them to ever actually be clever, yet alone subversive.

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2 hours ago, AnonymousSpeed said:

Honestly, Fire Emblem plots are flat and generic. That's alright if the gameplay is still entertaining, but I wouldn't expect them to ever actually be clever, yet alone subversive.

3H kind of goes the extra mile with the exposition, though.

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It's really, really what Conquest should have been, and in fact was marketed to us as. I don't know how many people here follow Alastor's playthrough of the series, but he pointed out that Conquest has a reverse project management triangle where the design demanded that

1. Corrin not be evil

2. Nohr being objectively in the wrong

3. You fight Hoshido

Any two of those things could work, but trying to pull off all three resulted in the story bending over ass backwards to justify certain things. And honestly I personally would be absolutely fine with full on evil Corrin, or taking Hoshido out of Conquest's plot entirely and have it all about internal conflict in the evil empire. I don't see any reason Fire Emblem couldn't pull off a "Play as the bad guys" campaign. But it would probably have to be implemented in a game with a route choice and to be honest I'm kind of yearning for a more straight forward linear Fire Emblem story after how poorly Three Houses used its route split.

Edited by Jotari

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I don't think that'll ever happen, but I do have some hopes for more morally gray stories in Fire Emblem. Three Houses actually did pretty well with this on Crimson Flower and Azure Moon. It shows they can do it. I think it'll also be easier to implement this if they implement actual player choices to the game. They seemed to want to do this with Three Houses but it didn't happen probably because the game just wasn't finished.

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Playing as a strait up, vile, waste of a human being? Yeah, no. IS may seem mad at times, but even they wouldn't go that far... Right?

At best we may someday get to play as the morally gray characters everyone adores/hates, for example like Arvis or Travant.

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Playing as the villains would be boring. You show up at the Prologue, defeat a level 1 Lord, and that's the game. Roll credits.

...Unless the Lord has a Divine Pulse. So even when you beat them, they still win. So you keep having to show up and defeat them, up until the Endgame itself.

Anyway, as far as playing as a less-than-heroic force, that's something the series has already done. Crimson Flower and Conquest are fairly recent examples - but before them, we had Radiant Dawn, where we got to direct opposing sides in a war effort. It would be cool to see something like that again.

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16 minutes ago, Shanty Pete's 1st Mate said:

Playing as the villains would be boring. You show up at the Prologue, defeat a level 1 Lord, and that's the game. Roll credits.

...Unless the Lord has a Divine Pulse. So even when you beat them, they still win. So you keep having to show up and defeat them, up until the Endgame itself.

Anyway, as far as playing as a less-than-heroic force, that's something the series has already done. Crimson Flower and Conquest are fairly recent examples - but before them, we had Radiant Dawn, where we got to direct opposing sides in a war effort. It would be cool to see something like that again.

Lord never has Divine Pulse in Chapter 1. Do better next time.

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21 hours ago, Armchair General said:

Could be either one. I know that Awakening has some DLC, but that's from an alternative timeline.

if thats what you meant, then no and no to both of it. It wont work in an FE games. at very least it will not turn out good. its possible if IS wants to experiment and try that, but im sure it wont be called Fire emblem.

now lets see the reasoning

first, one of core aspect of FE games PERMADEATH. you know what follows it? unique side character that you can differentiate each of them, which you are suppposed to care about. now it runs counter what a straight-up villain will do in war/battle. if they care so much about their companion it will be just another Edelgard which im sure majority people will put her in grey area, since the evil-ness of edelgard depends on perspective, and she's more of "good-intention with bad-method". so a ruthless villain MC that dont treat his/her troops as disposable will make them inconsistent or worst just a hypocrite. 

example behaviour of straight up villain in FE game: -zephiel, did he care about his subordinate? hardly. -Nergal, did he care about his minion and creation? doubt it. -Jedah? Nope. turns his own daughter to mindless witch

how about giving them so many character it becomes disposable? it could. but theres a reason why Valkyria Chronicles 1 have so many playable character (+permadeath), while 2,3,4 hardly come close to its number. put it simply, it becomes wasted resource + boring game. since if you played even just a little bit efficiently, 3/4 of the soldier+reserve dont even get to sortie, let alone have meaningful backstory.

Second, the story. how would you close a story with a meaningful closure? Even Tyranny, an isometric RPG game that has heavy focus on story fails at ending. it will just need a turnaround like someone already said. Not saying its not possible, mind you. But i doubt it will be satisfying without some sort of sequel or continuation if the continent falls into evil hands and going full speed into ruins and overall bad life quality.

easier to understand example: imagine something like 1st gen of Genealogy story, but it comes to a full stop when Arvis slaughter the good guy. THE END. are we sure everyone will be satisfied without a sequel? Genealogy have gen.2 thats basically cancelling villain triumph. heck genealogy even have midquel in form of Thracia thats basically making sure other bad guy on the other side of continent gets their due justice in the same timeframe as gen.2. so its still "heroic 2 - 1 villain" score

sequel means you need the previous one a commercial success, a commercial success means you need to appeal to as many people possible

Edited by joevar

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They attempted the whole ‘villains’ thing in Conquest and most fans seem to burn the game in effigy every night. My advice, read the Kane, Elric or The Black Company series to get your fill of villains being the main characters in a story.

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5 hours ago, Wraith said:

They attempted the whole ‘villains’ thing in Conquest and most fans seem to burn the game in effigy every night

I can't really blame them, since the tone of Conquest was kind half-hearted.

Edited by Armchair General

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Basically, what Fates should have been. At least in Conquest.

Really, I got depressed everytime I think about how much wasted potential that game has.
The whole story should have been rewritten in order to make Corrin more like an actually brainwashed character, when choosing Nohr over Hoshido: and that would have been realistic too, since he/she grew up with his nohrian family for many years and do not remember anything about hoshidians.
After all, would you really follow a band of strangers who stated they are your true siblings out of nowhere, without much evidences, after kidnapping you? We, as the omniscient players, know the truth, but as Corrin, I would have doubted my hoshidians origins.
And so, by choosing Nohr, Corrin would stick with his/her "true" homeland (at least that's what he/she would believe) and blindly fight for King Garon, or maybe under Xander direct command, since I guess even in such a story he/she would be against the king's action as well. That could led us to a really tragic ending without even the need to make the protagonist realise what he/she has done wrong, because the one to suffer from those actions would be the player himself, since we all know the trught behind the story.
Imagine this: after the final battle, the nohrian family conquered all of Hoshido, and all the hoshidians nobles are dead/in prison (plz do not kill Sakura).  The main campaign ends, and the courtain falls, but the music playing during the credits is sad, it sounds off, not like the Revelations/Birthright credits. And if you really want something as tragic as possible, we could give Corrin a sad ending where he/she slowly realizes what he/she has done.

Spoiler

Corrin, Crux of Fate
Corrin led a peaceful life with with his nohrian family, helping them to rule over the new land of Hoshido.
Although everyone loved the young prince/princess and praised him/her as a hero, many say he/she lived with many regrets, always thinking about what could have been done different during the long war.


Heck, that would have been so cool.
Sorry for the bad grammar, but as I said months ago when first commenting on this forum, I am not an english native-speaker. Please correct me and I will edit this post, I'd be glad about it!

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50 minutes ago, Francis said:

Basically, what Fates should have been. At least in Conquest.

Really, I got depressed everytime I think about how much wasted potential that game has.
The whole story should have been rewritten in order to make Corrin more like an actually brainwashed character, when choosing Nohr over Hoshido: and that would have been realistic too, since he/she grew up with his nohrian family for many years and do not remember anything about hoshidians.
After all, would you really follow a band of strangers who stated they are your true siblings out of nowhere, without much evidences, after kidnapping you? We, as the omniscient players, know the truth, but as Corrin, I would have doubted my hoshidians origins.
And so, by choosing Nohr, Corrin would stick with his/her "true" homeland (at least that's what he/she would believe) and blindly fight for King Garon, or maybe under Xander direct command, since I guess even in such a story he/she would be against the king's action as well. That could led us to a really tragic ending without even the need to make the protagonist realise what he/she has done wrong, because the one to suffer from those actions would be the player himself, since we all know the trught behind the story.
Imagine this: after the final battle, the nohrian family conquered all of Hoshido, and all the hoshidians nobles are dead/in prison (plz do not kill Sakura).  The main campaign ends, and the courtain falls, but the music playing during the credits is sad, it sounds off, not like the Revelations/Birthright credits. And if you really want something as tragic as possible, we could give Corrin a sad ending where he/she slowly realizes what he/she has done.

  Reveal hidden contents

Corrin, Crux of Fate
Corrin led a peaceful life with with his nohrian family, helping them to rule over the new land of Hoshido.
Although everyone loved the young prince/princess and praised him/her as a hero, many say he/she lived with many regrets, always thinking about what could have been done different during the long war.


Heck, that would have been so cool.
Sorry for the bad grammar, but as I said months ago when first commenting on this forum, I am not an english native-speaker. Please correct me and I will edit this post, I'd be glad about it!

It's worst than that, since we the omniscient audience knows the truth Hoshido presented to Corrin was actually bullshit and Ryoma knew it the entire time.

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8 minutes ago, Jotari said:

It's worst than that, since we the omniscient audience knows the truth Hoshido presented to Corrin was actually bullshit and Ryoma knew it the entire time.

You mean that **FATES SPOILER**

Spoiler

Since Corrin isn't actually from Hoshido and Ryoma knew, Fates plot is even more tragic than what I imagined for an alternative plot?
Or that my alternative plot is even more tragic if the player knows this?

 

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On 4/7/2021 at 6:40 PM, Armchair General said:

how much would it hurt if the antagonists actually won? Aside from, you know "...and then the world burned for a thousand years as humanity was wiped off the faced of the Earth and it's all the fault King Norm the Fanatical"?

it depends.

having a game based on an "evil" villain going for war while dealing with stuff involving violence, death and eventually other not-so-kind concepts such as rape isn't exactly the best way to promote a game, because regardless of genre and rating it's probably going to be crucified by the media depending on story writing and overall focus of the game.

having a game/story with multiple routes and different endings would already be a different thing, and would probably be accepted for what it would be without negative consequences.

then, there's also the target audience to be considered, although in the end it's all subjective depending on the different point of view that each person has. i guess it all boils down to the kind of story they want to tell, and especially the messages they want to deliver.

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On 4/8/2021 at 9:24 AM, Jotari said:

or taking Nohr out of Conquest's plot entirely and have it all about internal conflict in the evil empire

You can't really title your game "Conquest" if it's about an internal conflict, since you aren't conquering anyone, just quelling rebel groups within your empire.

 

I've always fantasised about a Mario game where you control the Koopa Troop, so a FE game controlling the villains would be right up my alley.

Edited by NinjaMonkey

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