Wondercon ’09: Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon Panel

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As you guys might know, I had the chance to attend Wondercon this weekend at the Moscone Center in SF.  Most of the show was centered around comic book and stuff, but there was a couple of showings from game companies.  Capcom had a booth there (click here for Destructoid’s coverage) with playable demos of many games such as RE5 and Dead Rising: Chop Till  You Drop.

Nintendo even had an showing there, even if it was only to promote their new entry to the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, for the Nintendo DS.  I had the opportunity to attend the Q&A panel on this game, hosted by Tim O’Leary and Rich Amtower, two people who work on localization of Nintendo games such as Advance Wars, Golden Sun, Animal Crossing, Super Smash Bros., Hotel Dusk, and many more. Hit the jump for the details about this game and panel!

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Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon (SD), like the other games in the series, have been localized over from their Japanese counterparts.  This game, although only the 5th game released in the states, is actually the 11th in the Fire Emblem series.  It was originally released in 1990 in Japan, but there has been some new artwork done for the game, so its not just a port of the game.  During the panel, they spent some time covering how this game is different from the previous entries.  Fire Emblem: SD will feature new online play, complete with voice chat (on your DS!) as well as new save functions that will make this game more amenable to pick up and play gaming that is so important to the DS.

The story of Fire Emblem: SD focuses on the back story of everyone’s favorite overpowered Super Smash Bros. Brawler, Marth.  Gameplay comprised of a turn based battle where each of your members gets the chance to attack before the other team goes.  Battle is comprised of several Rock-Paper-Scissors type advantages.  For example, sword works well against axe, which works well against lance, archers are strong against flying creatures, etc.

The panelists spent a lot of time talking about how attached they wanted the player to get to the characters.  In this game, each character you command in your army, from the main character to the seemingly unimportant basic knight, has a name and a story and can level up independently.  During battle, if any of your characters dies, that character is gone for good.  You will never get him/her back.  If all your wizards die in combat, you can kiss casting magic spells goodbye!  I think that it is an interesting concept to apply to these games, since it will constanly force the player to fully consider the consequences of each battle.  Should you reload the save as to not lose your favorite archer?  Those are decisions that the developers wanted you to make by implementing this interesting mechanic.

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They showed some footage of the game being played, and there were a couple of things I gathered from the demonstration.  First, if you havent played a Fire Emblem game, it seems there will be a lot to learn.  Each character had lots of stats that meant different things, and I can imagine it will seem daunting to learn how to play this game.  However, the panelists assured that it wasn’t that hard.  Second, the “new art” they were talking about is not THAT great.  I understand how the sprites probably have to look plain in the world map area, but when the battle goes down between two people, it would have been nice to have those sprites just a tad more detailed.

Anyway, there was not that much new information gathered about this game, but thats not to say the panel wasnt interesting.  The Question and Answer session was pretty much a trainwreck due to Nintendo fanboys (in the bad sense) asking retarded questions, and not realizing that these guys were localization people, and not Mr. Nintendo himself…Examples of stupid questions?

“Why does the Wii have motion controls?”

“Have you met Shigeru Miyamoto? [After confirmation]…..That’s awesome!!”

Not only were there bad questions, but some people asked like 4 questions, and the panelists had to be like…”NEXT PERSON!!”  Anyway, the panelists were actually pretty cool, the Dtoiders and I ran into them in a hotel lobby and actually chatted them up for a while.  I even got a hint out of one of them.  Apparently they have started localizing one of his favorite Nintendo IP’s that is getting revived to be released in the states….I couldn’t get him to spill the beans, unfortunately, maybe next time!!

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One Response to “Wondercon ’09: Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon Panel”

  1. I dont really care for fire embelm or watever it is called that much but i hope they make a new Golden Sun game. When that game came out it was my favorite game on the advance. RELEASE NEW GOLDEN SUN NINTENDO!!! Pretty please?

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