By David Fernandes / May 23rd, 2013
Published back in late April, a Spanish magazine called Hobby Consolas had an interview with some of the developers behind Fire Emblem: Awakening. Pretty interesting interview, but what was striking about it was when they talked about the game’s performance in Japan and in the West. Because of the series’ overall sales taking a nose dive for some time, the thirthteenth installment could well have been the last entry in the series.
Question: Fire Emblem has had a long lifetime. Do you get the feeling it gets harder to release a new episode every time?
Yamagami: No doubt. Truth be told, sales are dropping. The sales manager of Nintendo, Mr. Hatano, told us that this could be the last Fire Emblem. Due to this progressive descend on sales, they told us that if the sales of this episode stayed below 250,000 copies, we’d stop working on the saga. I remember when I came back from the meeting and told the team “My God, what are we gonna do?! The end has come!”. Our reaction was clear: if this was going to be the last Fire Emblem, we had to put everything we always wanted to include. That’s how this new project was born!
Just not long after, a similar statement was made by another one of the developers when asked a similar question in an interview with the magazine Nintendo Dream. Because of the attributing sales slump, they knew knew very well that this could really well be the last game, and at times, this realization seemed like a reality.
Maeda: Yes, we can say that now, but I have to admit there was a time during development when we thought “This might be the end of the FE series if Awakening doesn’t sell well”.
Thankfully, this will most likely not be the case, with the great news from Nintendo that the game sold well over 250,000 units world wide. In fact, it has sold over 500,000 units to date. This is the highest selling Fire Emblem entry in the West since Blazing Sword came out ten years ago, with the sales number being over 240,000 when counting both physical and digital sales. The words do ring a lot of truth though. We missed Fire Emblem 12, the remake of Monsho no Nazo, for probably the same reason. Nintendo was probably thinking the same thing and were ready to kill the series off.
So the franchise dodged a bullet. Can you believe it? The developers put their all into the product, Nintendo properly marketing the game (besides the botched launch in North America), and then, of course, we the fans keeping our word and supporting it. Not every story has a good ending, and even with all the above, sometimes this just isn’t enough. Congratulations to Intelligent Systems and the team behind the game, because Fire Emblem: Awakening was truly something else. I hope to see new entries sometime in the near future, and by the looks of it, it seems like a strong possibility.
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