Ways The Fire Emblem Series Is Different From Most JRPGs

The Fire Emblem series has celebrated over thirty years of longevity in the JRPG community, as a powerhouse staple of story-based, tactical gameplay. With an abundance of uniquely-crafted nations, diverse cultures, fully-fleshed characters, histories of deep lore, and the struggles of war, betrayal, and love — it’s easy to see why avid lovers of fantasy role-playing games would get sucked into thisuniverse.

Related: Every Single Fire Emblem Video Game, Ranked

Compelling stories and developed characters are pretty standard for a JRPG, but there are a few key aspects that Fire Emblem has embraced where other turn-based JRPGs seem to lack, and that has led it to the ongoing success it has today.


10 The Fanbase

They’re quite international. The gameplay and core style of the franchise as a tactics game, with movable units across a board-like battlefield, hasn’t changed much at all. Despite that, Fire Emblem continues to have an active, friendly, and sizable fanbase that reaches far outside of Japan.

Western voice actors such as Jo Zeija, who voiced the vastly-adored Claude of the Golden Deer House, epitomizes this. I have played the game, cosplayed, answered questions and chatted with fans through YouTube. I’ve covered multiple songs from Three Houses, embracing his character wholeheartedly—proudly showing that it’s perfectly all right to adore all that we love about Fire Emblem ourselves.

9 The Fresh Content

They have a comic. Manga and small four-koma adaptations are common when it comes to JRPGs, but a vast majority are released within Japan for the Japanese audience alone. Fire Emblem: Heroes in particular released a comic based around the mobile app, before then shifting to releasing regularly updated comic posts that follow the day-to-day lives and shenanigans of the Fire Emblem characters.

It’s readily available in English through their official Twitter and on the Heroes app. It often breaks the fourth wall, letting fans relate to the in-game adventures, events, tournaments and personalities of all their favorite units.

8 The Crossovers

JRPGs like their crossovers just fine, but most commonly cross timelines and boundaries within their own franchise. If one thing’s for certain, it’s that Fire Emblem will eventually make an appearance in another franchise. They’ve shown up so much in Super Smash Bros. that people started clasping their hands together in the hopes the next character added to the brawler wouldn’t be from Fire Emblem.

Related: Great Characters For Beginners In Smash Ultimate

Fire Emblem carries on cheerfully nonetheless, popping up here and there in all sorts of RPGs of miscellaneous genres. These include Dragalia Lost, Shin Megami Tensei, Tetris, Monster Hunter, and plenty more. They nearly cinched one with Pokemon too, before plans fell through. If it’s not the characters themselves, it’s their weapons or skins.

7 Benevolence Of Heroes

The developers of Fire Emblem: Heroes specifically have a lot of fun with the characters they love. Never in a thousand years did any of us expect to see a dance video dropped from Book Five’s main antagonist, dancing with the adopted sister he chased out — all while we, the strategist, DJed in the darkness. That’s exactly what happened one April Fools’ Day.

Fans were also treated to a special video of the beloved Ice Princess, Fjorm, singing both in English and Japanese. Aside from their spontaneity, they’re also generous with their in-game rewards, orbs, feathers, quest content, and new character skins. They celebrate almost every holiday, while also holding open votes with fans in the seasonal Gauntlets for free characters and special units. Rarely are JRPGs this interactive with fans abroad!

6 The Tactics

Plenty of JRPGs are turn-based, but not all of them are tactical. Fire Emblem stands out, consistently, as one of the more heavily-involved-with-strategy role-playing games in the genre. Which units to bring to the field, how to build them based on their inherent traits, affinities and proficiencies, where to move them to defend against or confront enemies — it’s very much like 4-D chess.

Related: Fire Emblem Heroes: How To Get Feathers

Whether it’s Fate, Three Houses, Heroes or Thracia 776, leveling up characters’ weapons and gears, learning new skills, and taking on new classes isn’t enough. You really have to study the field, getting to know yourself and your opponents to successfully progress.

5 The Support System

Relationships and the depth of your involvement with the characters of interest aren’t set in stone. Fire Emblem has since diverged from the standard path of romance typically found between certain characters in JRPGs that you, as the player, can only watch blossom from a third-point perspective.

However, in Fire Emblem, there’s a unique Support System where you can build the bonds of other characters with each other or yourself. This ranges from C Rank all the way to S Rank — which not only increases performance and stats in-game, but is also basically the equivalent of getting married.

4 The Power Of Choice

A majority of Japanese role-playing games are set in a fixed storyline, with an equally fixed cast of characters. You follow these throughout the journey, getting to know them and their tales. Fire Emblem does this also, but with a twist. While there are set events that unravel, there are also outcomes we can change, directing ourselves and the characters at our sides down new avenues.

This is especially notable in Fire Emblem: Fates, where the side you choose to align with determines who dies. It’s also notable in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, where the characters recruited and House chosen affect major decisions made later on. We could also customize our appearance as the strategist in several Fire Emblem games

3 The Character Classes

Character classes aren’t locked to specific characters. A familiar pattern in JRPGs is in following archetypes, in that the mage is your go-to mage for healing and revilization, the swordsman is your swordsman, the archer slings on a bow, and so on.

While characters in Fire Emblem definitely have preferential classes that would bring out their best potential in combat, you do have the freedom to craft your own build catered to your own headcanons or preference. This move on Fire Emblem’s part adds a depth of versatility in powering up your treasured units.

two The Curve Of Interest

Maybe what’s most fascinating about Fire Emblem is the rise of interest in the franchise. JRPGs localized largely in Japan, especially ones that have been around for over twenty years, often lose the attention of overseas audiences — despite continuing to publish and release content.

Related: Turn-Based RPGS That Need A Comeback

This is the opposite for the Fire Emblem series, as it’s seen a steady accumulation of revenue, fans, and appreciation in the last decade. In fact, in the early days of Fire Emblem, an animation created based on the first Lord, Marth, was discontinued after just two episodes of publication. This was due to lack of interest, even though it had been subbed and dubbed in English to reach out to a wider audience.

one A Monster Money-Maker

The success of its mobile app is astronomically mind-boggling. If you’re a fan of JRPGs and their mobile spin-offs, you’ll know how true it is that most breathe life for a year or two before vanishing off the face of the earth. Fire Emblem: Heroes has been out for years, with no signs of slowing down. It’s raked in close to a billion dollars, with over ten million installation downloads since launch.

A large part of this lies with the strong domestic and international fanbase, but it’s a monumental feat for a franchise started thirty years ago. It has taken its cliches and transformed them so wholesomely, while not losing the essence of the characters or the deep stories they like to tell.

Next: Video Games To Play If You Love Fire Emblem


Video Game Release Dates 2022

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