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|OT| Fire Emblem: Three Houses |OT| The Romance of Three Houses, or "Hogwarts SRPG"

mcz117chief

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She just calls you "Sensei" in Japanese. It's a shitty translation that's suppose to be a term of endearment (my love, my dear, my friend, etc) and an exposition on how Bylethsexual Edelgard is but due to it falling out of use in colloquial speech, especially in regards to titles, it comes off as creepy and cringey.
Nah, I get it. It was just a joke on my end. I was always reminded of that Little Hitler skit :D
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Sigh.

So I'm looking at another several lost weeks, am I?

(I actually loved Awakening, and spent an unwholesome amount of time tweaking my "no-deaths squad".)
As someone that did something similar and spent at least a hundred hours on awakening, yes you would be looking at something similar with Three Houses. I myself love the grind and buffing my units. I'm addicted to the game, something I haven't felt since awakening (fates was alright but the grind was meh). This is easily gonna be my most played Switch game and favorite game of this gen (Please note though that I only mean that for Nintendo).
 

TheSadRanger

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Sigh.

So I'm looking at another several lost weeks, am I?

(I actually loved Awakening, and spent an unwholesome amount of time tweaking my "no-deaths squad".)

There's a lot of things FETH does better than Awakening. On higher difficulties the game is much better balanced with limited grinding. Where Awakening kind of encouraged you to get the grinding dlc.

There's no pair up mechanic so it's not all about just pairing up two OP units and slaughtering everything. Yes there's OP characters like Dimitri but there is a chance he can get knocked out. Positioning matters much more here. Even then Dimitri isn't as OP as Donnel who was a freaking god with his insane stat growths.

Overall I like FETH way more than Awakening and I liked it. (Fates can go suck a fat one)
 

TheSadRanger

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About 200h in, all routes played and finished. I think we finally have a game that surpasses the unforgettable Tellius duology.

Think we'll see a Genealogy remake next or a remaster combo pack Path/Radiant Dawn?

The maps of the Tellius games would translate easily and the main thing that would have to be done is replace the character models with ones similar in design to Three Houses. Sort of like how the new Xenoblade Chronicles remaster has the new character models. Also include dialogue scenes more similar to TH and replace the static art dialogue scenes from the Tellius games.

Plus it's already officially translated. The only thing is those games just didn't sell well but maybe they deserve another chance post Awakening.
 

Komatsu

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Think we'll see a Genealogy remake next or a remaster combo pack Path/Radiant Dawn?

The maps of the Tellius games would translate easily and the main thing that would have to be done is replace the character models with ones similar in design to Three Houses. Sort of like how the new Xenoblade Chronicles remaster has the new character models. Also include dialogue scenes more similar to TH and replace the static art dialogue scenes from the Tellius games.

Plus it's already officially translated. The only thing is those games just didn't sell well but maybe they deserve another chance post Awakening.

I'd love to see remakes of FE9/10 and I do believe that the franchise's profile was completely changed by Awakening - it's on another level now and Three Houses' sales figures kinda speak to that.

That said, I don't think they'll revisit the Tellius games. Same for Genealogy - I'm not super fond of the Jugdral games, but I admit they're probably some of the most mechanically robust of the whole series and it'd take significantly reworking to make them palatable to a modern audience. The latter half of Genealogy is brutal and Thracia 776 is something else altogether.

I do hope we get new entries in the series or even another Fodlán game. That'd be really sweet. I don't expect us to see another FE for another 2 to 3 years though.
 

Shaqazooloo

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I was not aware that the Church route only had 18 chapters, it makes sense considering it's not a main route like all the others but still it caught me off guard, I still need to master some of the master classes for my next playthrough and now i'm not sure i'll have enough time to.

Also not sure why people were saying Church route was similar to Golden Deer route, I mean I haven't played Golden Deer yet and I haven't finished Church route yet but this felt more like Blue Lions with some major sections cut from it. Their was only one map that was actually different from Blue Lions (so far), unless it's referring to story I don't really get it.

Speaking of story, I don't really feel like it goes anywhere, you're pretty much just an outsider looking in throughout and don't encounter anyone of note outside of Judith I guess. You get insight on what Edelgard is doing and vague hints towards what Seteth, Flayn, Byleth and Rhea are but it doesn't seem like it'll materialize into anything. I was also hoping to actually get Rhea at some point (not recruitable but at least at the monastery) but I guess she stays kidnapped in all routes I guess.

Final note for now, screw chapter 17 of this route! Everything up until that was pretty much a cake walk but now they throw in the Death Knight, reinforcements from 5 spots on the map and the Death Knight could be triggered into running away. My first attempt at this map I actually ran out of divine pulses because I kept triggering Death Knight to escape and didn't know what the reason was, a few times I got close to him, other times it was because I hit some other unit on the other end of the map and I didn't know when it would happen. The position that I was in when it would happen pretty much guaranteed a game over. Next time around I had to pay close attention to my moves and constantly look up at him to make sure he wasn't gonna run away, which by the way is really stupid considering he's the Death Knight and supposed to be a imposing figure, but he just runs? Yeah, I guess it was because they nuked the fort but still having him run like that is embarrassing, though I guess it wouldn't be the first time he ran...

Other than that, I really enjoyed my time on this route once I finish up i'll probably go for Golden Deer to compare.
 

Shaqazooloo

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New update is out:

  • New and Updated Features
    • Increased the number of save files from 5 to 25. Note: Increased number of save files will require approximately 12MB of additional system memory space. If you don’t have enough space, you can delete some application data or images saved in the album.
    • Added a new option, In Battle, in Appearance Options, allowing the player to select the monastery outfits for battle as well.
      • Note: You can set this from the Unit Appearance menu in Personal Quarters.
      • Note: Depending on the outfit/character/class combination, some outfits may not be reflected for mounted units.
    • Added feature that allows players to hide the UI when viewing a character in Unit Appearance.
    • Added new allies that will join in Part 2: Crimson Flower.
    • Changed the song that plays in the opening movie to the Korean version when the system language is set to Korean.
    • Added additional quests and new outfits (Servants Attire, Summer Wear, and Evening Wear) from the Expansion Pass.
      • Note: Additional quests include new activities, such as the sauna, feeding cats and dogs, and recruiting new battalions.
      • Note: Additional quests are marked with a light-blue icon during Exploration.
      • Note: New outfits (Servants Attire, Summer Wear, and Evening Wear) are provided for the protagonist and for the playable characters. They can be selected via Personal Quarters in the monastery.
    • Added an additional element of the Expansion Pass, making Anna available for recruiting in the monastery after the third chapter, Mutiny in the Mist.
      • Note: Anna can participate in battles and activities.
      • Note: Anna does not have Support relationships.
      • Note: Recruiting Anna unlocks a new paralogue after a certain chapter.
      • Note: It’s possible to set Anna as a traveler, but the recipient cannot recruit her as an Adjutant unless they also own the Expansion Pass.
      • Note: If a player has not purchased the Expansion Pass, only one of the new characters in the Expansion Pass can visit as a traveler.
    • Added Gifts for Dogs and Cats to the viewable rankings during the loading screen and the calendar screen while playing online.
  • General
    • Fixed a bug that accidentally turned students who aren’t from the protagonist’s house into allies in Chapter 1: Three Houses.
    • Fixed a Ver.1.0.2 bug that caused an unintended sound to play at the beginning of Chapter 1: Three Houses (“The Academy “in the Movie Gallery) when the language is set to English.
    • Fixed a bug that caused Dimitri’s face to sometimes display incorrectly.
    • Fixed a bug that prevented a support conversation event from happening when certain inputs were made after increasing Support levels while exploring the monastery.
    • Fixed a bug that did not display the upward arrow during the Choir Festival day (though the bonus was still being added, despite the missing arrows).
    • Fixed a bug that displayed an incorrect stage name screen sometimes during the screen transitions.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the game to freeze when talking to a character in the monastery on rare occasions.
    • Fixed a bug that incorrectly displayed the character HP when selecting Convoy during battle.
    • Fixed a bug that set the Adjutant Follow-Up activation rate lower than intended for certain Support levels.
    • Changed the item the sniper holds from Spear to Silver Bow in the final episode of Part 2: Crimson Flower on Maddening difficulty.
    • Fixed a bug that sometimes showed blank epilogues.
    • Revised some text.
    • Improved gameplay by addressing a few additional bugs.
 
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Danjin44

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God damn Anna’s paralogue mission was really hard on maddening difficulty. Reinforcement after reinforcement, I was having very hard time keeping my characters alive.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Just finished the Cindered Shadows DLC. Incredibly hard, in an oldschool Fire Emblem sorta way, but the story was incredibly disappointing.
I appreciated getting some back story on Sitri and the Ashen Wolves were fun to hang with but the end game stuff with the betrayal was kind of bad and leaves me confused.

I don't know how Byleth factors into any of it, if he hadn't of gotten their when he did the whole thing could've gone south for Yuri (or not apparently since in the main story it still happens just without Byleth and friends?)

Honestly Yuri brings up a lot of questions for me that I don't know if there are anwsers to.

Overall the DLC was enjoyable and fun, I look forward to getting to know the Ashen Wolf's through the main game and having a new area to explore.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Kusakihara: You guessed it: it’s a false name. Claude’s real name is “Khalid”. I wanted to include it somewhere in the game but there wasn’t really a good opportunity, so here we are (laughs). We actually had a scene about halfway in where Nader calls him by the name “Khalid”, but we couldn’t find a good place for it to fit so we ended up cutting it.

Yokota: Yeah, you know I wondered why we decided on giving him the name “Claude”.*

*Note: There’s a character by the same in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War.

Kusakihara: That was also pointed out by Masahiro Higuchi (producer on FE3H), but the name was originally intended to be an alias, so I didn’t worry about the overlap in names. I always wanted to reveal his identity during the game, but… Oh, well. There’s other characters throughout the series whose names overlap with each other, so I’m not bothered by it. Anyway, his real name is “Khalid”!

Yokota: Both names sound so cool. I feel like Claude is the character whose appearance changed the least after the 5 year time-skip. His new beard makes him look a little more adventurous. I remember when I first saw his time-skip design I thought it made him look even shadier than before (laughs). But he’s a really good guy.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Interesting interview with IS that goes over quite a few things about the game development and DLC.

Had to split this into 2 posts since the final part is massive.


First, we’d like to congratulate the both of you on releasing the entirety of the DLC.
Yokota & Kusakihara:
Thank you very much!
Yokota: It feels like we can finally catch our breath. (laughs)
For sure, now that it’s over you can rest easy. In terms of coming up with the side story’s plot, did that happen after you had finished working on the main story? Or did you come up with the plot as you were working on the main game?
Kusakihara:
We started the actual production of the side story’s content much later, but we had wanted to incorporate the idea of Garreg Mach having this underground labyrinth since the early stages of development. It ended up being cut due to the sheer amount of content, though. When planning the DLC, the side story actually came from a desire to bring back the concepts we had originally omitted. It wasn’t necessarily that we were retrofitting the information. Rather, we were expanding upon the setting and some foreshadowed elements that had been there since production of the main game. The protagonist’s mother, for instance, would fall into that category.
Yokota: As for the fourth house’s students, though, we didn’t start thinking about them until after the main game had been finished.
Interviewer: So, you didn’t start working on the side story’s characters until after you started working on the DLC, and then came the concepts that had also appeared in the main story, right?
Yokota: Right. As we were finishing up work on the main game, we were asking each other what we should do about any prospective DLC. At the time, Kusakihara-san’s stock phrase was “I have a pretty devilish idea.”
All: (laugh)
Yokota: We felt that the concept of a fourth house would spice things up, and that it’d make the side story the centerpiece of the DLC.
I had actually thought that the two stories must’ve been written around the same time because of the amount of foreshadowing throughout the main game.
Kusakihara:
Nope, that isn’t case.
Yokota: The staff at Koei Tecmo, who was overseeing development, did a great job of incorporating all of those details into the story.
The side story is essentially a “parallel world,” isn’t it?
Kusakihara:
It’s hard to say that that’s exactly the case. I don’t think it’s completely isolated from the main story, and I think for Yuri and the others those events did actually occur. When you meet the Ashen Wolves in the main game, they treat you as if they’re meeting you for the first time. That being said, it’s assumed that the events of Cindered Shadows have already been resolved. I think Cindered Shadows is essentially how the protagonist would’ve resolved the conflict had they been there.
How did you go about choosing which characters from the main story would appear in the side story?
Yokota:
Well, we wanted the leaders of the three main houses to be present, so we started from there.
Kusakihara: We wanted the foundation of the story to be the house leaders working together, so we knew they would all be present from the beginning. After that we chose one person from each house; we also considered characters with a specific skill from a strategic point of view. From there, we narrowed it down more to the characters whose skills felt right to include. Later, we decided which characters would have some kind of relation to the characters that appear in the side story. Linhardt, in particular, can talk at length about crests, so we felt that he could play an important role in the events of the story. As for Ashe, he could relate pretty heavily to having to live somewhere like the Abyss, so we felt that because of that he could help expand the story.
It sounds like each unit’s role was a big sticking point in deciding which ones you chose. It also clearly felt like there were more maps with special stipulations than there were in the main game, it was tough! Was there anything particular you had in mind while making the maps for the side story?
Kusakihara:
I thought that if the side story played exactly like the main game it’d start to get boring after a while, so to differentiate it we added some mechanics. We spoke with the development team and ended wanting to balance the maps similar to a game of shogi, like some of the older Fire Emblem games.
Yokota: Originally, we had started with the idea that your stats would carry over from the main game. We found out, though, that depending on when the player started the side story it would either be too hard or too easy; we ended up deciding on keeping the two campaigns separate. At first it was proposed that we get rid of the level-up mechanic; in the end, though, I think the gameplay had a wider range of possibilities because we allowed the player to strengthen their favorite characters.
Is it possible for characters to change their class to a degree? Is there a particular character that you’d recommend changing their class strategically for?
Yokota:
I think that’s really a matter of taste. (laughs)
Kusakihara: Basically, the maps’ level design operates under the assumption that you’ll be clearing them with the default classes. When a character levels up their stats increase at random. Depending on which stats increase you could try leading a character down a certain path and seeing whether or not that works out for you.
Interviewer: In the main game, what made you decide to include support conversations between the members of the Ashen Wolves and characters that didn’t appear in the side story?
Kusakihara: From the beginning we considered a variety of ways we could incorporate the DLC characters into the main story. I thought it’d be a waste for them to just be a part of the side story. So, when you finish the side story and bring those characters over to the main game, it changes somewhat. To that end, we’d like it if players got to see those changes and enjoyed the main story through a different lens.
Yokota: I can’t help but feel sorry for people that have already played through the game four times, though! (laughs)
All: (laugh)
Kusakihara: Come on, just one more time! (laughs)
Yokota: I was honestly expecting more people to play the game once after it was out, then one or two more times after the DLC had been released. As it happened, quite a few people were playing through multiple routes; I couldn’t help but be a little sorry as I continued to work on the DLC.
Kusakihara: For me, I think games are a way to simulate a world and its story as if the player were experiencing it themselves. I’m personally the type of person that gets absolutely sucked into things like movies and games. I tried setting up a prank using how the game itself is structured: the player would go through the game once and really experience the world, then they’d talk about it with someone else and be like, “we played the same game right? Why are we talking about two different things?” I thought that it might be interesting where even if you picked the same house as somebody, your experience could differ from somebody else’s based on who you recruited. You might even say to yourself, “hey, I didn’t even see that scene!” I didn’t really think players would end up going through the game that many times. (laughs)
Yokota: Even if something that you don’t really know about comes up while talking, that may not be the end of it. Just talking about it could compel you to want to experience the thing in question firsthand.
In terms of the plot, was there anything that you were particular about because it was a side story?
Kusakihara:
Take the cardinals, for instance: they’re mentioned briefly in the main story but aren’t shown at all beyond that. We wanted to write a story where the focal point was uncovering more about the church.
Yokota: Aside from that, there were some leftover crests that we didn’t use during the main story, so we used those to expand the story we were writing.
So, they weren’t necessarily reserved for the side story?
Kusakihara:
I myself had originally intended to leave them as they were without bringing them into the new story. I wanted to create a sort of blank space in the game’s world by leaving out a few pieces of the puzzle – suggesting that it was bigger than the scope of the game. We ended up using them anyway. (laughs)
All: (laugh)
Yokota: It gives off the impression that not everything about the era in which the game takes place would necessarily be revealed.
Kusakihara: The story of Three Houses is only a part cut from the cloth of Fódlan’s long history; we wanted to make something similar to a Taiga drama.
Yokota: That being said, Koei Tecmo had already programmed effects for those crests should they be equipped, despite us planning not to use them.
Kusakihara: Although they initially went unused, the system had already been set up – and that ended up being used in the DLC.
Having played through the entirety of the side story, I was completely captivated by how the plot unfolded. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t stop… (laughs)
Yokota:
Kusakihara-san was pretty conscious of that while writing it, he ended up including all sorts of twists.
Kusakihara: At first, I had written something a little longer. Since it was a side story, though, I adjusted it to be a more appropriate length – and that’s the story that’s in the game.
Yokota: At first the Ashen Wolves might seem like a bad bunch, but then after talking to them they might not seem so bad, but actually… It’s that kind of thing. As some of the story’s more significant events unfold, it’ll keep you guessing. (laughs)
I wanted to finish the whole thing in one go, there were so many questions! What’s the truth behind this one item, and what about the protagonist’s mother? Having played all the routes, there were some conversations that I couldn’t help but smile at. Did you have all of that in mind when you included those details?
Kusakihara:
I’d like to think so. That being said, however, the side story is separate from the main story – it can be accessed straight away from the title screen. That separation pushed us to make the side story something that could hold on its own without actually having to complete the main game.
Yokota: We couldn’t assume that players would have gone through every route. Though, if you start the side story not having played through any of the main game you won’t really have any idea about what the Church of Seiros is like or what kind of person Rhea is. To that end, I think it might be better to play through some of the main game and then give the side story a go.
Kusakihara: The side story is more or less set right after you get the “Sword of the Creator” in the main story, so I think that around there would be the right time to jump in.
Yokota: I feel like finishing the side story around then might also make the first half of the main story more exciting! Not only that, but you could add Yuri and the others’ strength to your ranks too – it’d make me pretty happy if people played through the game like that. Since we had already played through the main game, we only had that perspective to work with when inserting the side story into the overall plot…
You’re saying that people interested in the four main characters of the side story should feel free to play the side story alongside their first playthrough, then?
Yokota:
Right, I’d be happy if people played it like that!

Q: While developing The Abyss, did user feedback influence any adjustments you made?
Yokota: Well, I’d hazard a guess at Gatekeeper’s popularity being the reason that Koei Tecmo included the Abysskeeper character. (laughs)
Kusakihara: We included the underground library as a way to introduce things we had to cut from the main game, and the Wayseer exists for people who want to see the endings for specific pairings.
Yokota: It doesn’t exactly offer the player complete freedom in that regard, though – you can only get one pairing together.
Kusakihara: It’s basically a way to make sure you get the one pairing you absolutely want to be together. I feel like that’s pretty valuable in and of itself, though.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to share about the DLC and the free updates?
Yokota: The increase in the number of save slots was pretty impressive. The proposal originally came from Koei Tecmo, actually; messing around with save data can be incredibly scary due to bugs, though, so generally we wouldn’t increase the number by that much. Despite that, I was grateful that so many people had played through the game, and I definitely understood players wanting to be able to keep saves so they could watch their favorite scenes later on. It was a challenge, but we decided to face it – I was grateful that Koei Tecmo had suggested it in the first place. In the end there ended up not really being any problems! (laughs)
Kusakihara: In the past you couldn’t really have that many save slots due to memory limitations; having worked on games for so long made us a little more careful. In the DS games, for instance, you could only have up to three save files.
Yokota: The increase in the number of files all at once took me by surprise!
Kusakihara: In the end the players were happy, so I’m glad we took the challenge head on. I think it’ll depend on how much content there is, but I think next time we’d like to start with a lot of files from the beginning. (laughs)
Q: What made you decide to include additional outfits as part of the add-on content? Do either of you have a favorite?
Yokota:
Well, we had already decided on the Abyss and the inclusion of a fourth house. We knew that it’d be quite a while before we’d actually be able to release that content, so we tried coming up with something that we could release pretty consistently. While we were puzzling over that, I concluded that adding other outfits to the game would be relatively easy. As for the outfit lineup itself, we met with the development team and we all passed some ideas around – as a whole we all ended up coming up with some pretty unique motifs! As it turns out, we all realized we don’t hate how loungewear looks. (laughs) I personally prefer the summer wear; I think it looks good. The color scheme also changes pretty drastically, so I put them on the protagonist for a nice change of pace.
Kusakihara: Hmmm… Which outfit would I recommend? I have my own memories for all of them…
Yokota: It’s the servants’ attire, isn’t it?
Kusakihara: The servants’ attire was originally going to be for the knights, so the designs are relatively unobtrusive. Looking back over the screenshots, though, they look good on everyone. I’m just happy people ended up liking them!
Yokota: The cloth over the arm in the male version of the costume was all your doing.
Kusakihara: I’ve heard that that’s something real butlers don’t actually do, but I couldn’t get the image out of my head, so I included it as a symbolic gesture. The clothes themselves have a simple silhouette, so I included a part that flutters in the wind as the character moves around – it looks nice.
 

Shaqazooloo

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Since this is Nintendo Dream’s first interview concerning Three Houses, I’d like to ask you both to give us a brief rundown of how the game was produced and how those roles were divided internally.

Yokota:
Well, the game was developed by Intelligent Systems alongside Koei Tecmo games. We’ve collaborated with plenty of companies during development before, but this is the first game we developed alongside a company that wasn’t Nintendo. Nintendo’s role hasn’t changed much from previous titles. From a bird’s eye view they essentially determined what direction the new Fire Emblem game was going to go in and whether or not the gameplay was interesting. We all worked on those aspects together. From there, Kusakihara-san set the foundation for the world and the story, as well as the main characters.

Kusakihara: First, I came up with the plot for just one of the game’s routes to set the foundation on which I’d base the rest of the in-game universe – most of the characters were just prototypes at that point. From there, Koei Tecmo expanded on a lot of the more minute details, at which point I was basically a general supervisor making sure that everything had that special Fire Emblem– ness to it. I also served as a consultant for new gameplay mechanics and made sure that we stayed on track in implementing things I wanted to realize. Intelligent Systems handled most of the artistic aspects: things like design, music, sounds, et cetera.

Yokota: Compared to previous projects, Intelligent Systems was working with a considerably smaller staff this time. As for Koei Tecmo, they were responsible for the whole of programming, writing the scenario, planning for both battles and monastery gameplay, as well as – of course – the entirety of the game’s online functions and its difficulty settings. They were also at the heart of 3D modeling, mocap, effects, the UI design, as well as the graphics displayed during event cutscenes. In addition to Koei Tecmo, we also sought out the animation studio Sanzigen for its assistance while working on the game’s movie cutscenes.

How did relations with Koei Tecmo work during the game’s production?

Kusakihara:
About two or three times a month we would go on a business trip to meet with the development team in Yokohama. Aside from that we set up a private chat so we could hold one- on-one meetings. Things generally went smoothly despite the distance.

Was this your first time working as an off-site director?

Kusakihara:
As a director, yes, but I’ve been on the other side of the table before. (laughs)

Yokota: I let Kusakihara-san handle communications until about midway through development. When we had a more solid idea of what the game cycle should look like, we went out to Yokohama and buckled down on consolidating some of the finer details.

What were the requests coming from Nintendo like? Does anything stick out?

Yokota:
They had a lot to say about the flow of the game. Three Houses’ setting largely revolves around a “school,” so building up that sense of immersion was critical for them. Alongside Kusakihara-san and Koei Tecmo, we all worked together to set up what that system might look like in a game. School life in a fantasy world – it’s a dream, isn’t it? Over the course of the game the horrors of war would tear that dream apart, of course, but we thought: wouldn’t it be nice if players got to experience living happily at the monastery for a little bit?

All: (laugh)

And what did you have to think about those requests, Kusakihara-san?

Kusakihara:
There’s a certain appeal to being able to live with a bunch of friends in close quarters like that, don’t you think? In previous entries in the series, characters would join your party as the story progressed. In Three Houses, by contrast, you start off with all of the main characters gathered in a single space, allowing the player to develop deeper emotional attachments to the members of the cast. I feel like we had an incredibly well-structured thing going.

Yokota: I was a little excited from the get-go, it all had me wondering if it was even okay to have that many characters around from the very beginning.

It might’ve, for instance, made it harder to remember everyone’s names? (laughs)

Yokota:
It’s easy to remember the people that call themselves by their full name, at any rate.

All: (laugh)

Kusakihara: I think it might be better to start with the people in the class you choose, then move onto remembering everybody else.

How did you go about creating each house and its students?

Kusakihara:
We started by using the rough drafts for each character as a base and expanded upon them from there. Depending on the character, some of the more prevalent details had been decided upon in advance. Take, for instance, Mercedes’ background: she bears the crest of a family that no longer exists… That kind of thing. From there, we could expand upon and flesh out other concepts like her older brother, Emile. Following that process would lead to how things ended up looking in the final product.

Let’s use the Black Eagles as an example: it’s a house filled with strong people that hold even stronger beliefs. It almost feels like certain characters belong in certain houses…

Kusakihara:
Each class’ students make up a microcosm of the country that they represent. Since Faerghus is a country of knights, its students are a little more disciplined. The Adrestian Empire once flourished but over time lost some of its holdings, almost as if the sun is setting on it as a nation. At its core, it’s a bunch of nobles coming from a country in decline. (laughs) As for the Leicester Alliance… Just imagine a group of people with a few colorful individuals holding the rest back.

All: (laugh)

Kusakihara: Originally, the concept behind the Leicester Alliance was a “republic based on round-table governance where the nobles are all out to get each other, so nothing really gets accomplished.” That was the key idea we started out with, but they all ended up being good kids! (laughs) The goal was to have each class’ students embody the characteristics of the place they come from.

Yokota: In terms of character design, the hairstyle and its color were also pretty much essential. If either of those traits are too similar the characters start to blend in with each other.

Kusakihara: A player’s impression of a character is greatly influenced by what color the character’s hair is, so we consulted with Kurahana-san (Kurahana Chinatsu, the game’s main character designer) and carefully went with what we came up with in those meetings.

So, for a noble country like Faerghus, there would be a fairly large number of people with blonde or similar hair?

Kusakihara:
Well, there’s also quite a large number of people with hair colors that don’t naturally occur in the real world. (laughs) Making those kinds of decisions was actually kind of difficult, particularly when we had the students from one class lined up beside the entire student body.

The Golden Deer are pretty colorful themselves, I thought. (laughs)

Kusakihara:
I guess they are, as a whole. (laughs) From a design standpoint, they were a class where we did a lot of fooling around.

Yokota: For Byleth and the house leaders we had Kurahana-san whip us up some designs considerably early on in development, and she pretty much nailed them in one go. We wanted them to exude an air of aristocracy, and I think those designs expressed that pretty clearly.

Three Houses sees its story branch into four separate routes come the second half of the game; could you elaborate some on the themes you wanted to depict through each story?

Kusakihara:
The theme of Edelgard’s route is literally “military rule.” Her story depicts a hard road where you have to cling to her beliefs and values, even in the face of opposition from those you once cared about. In contrast, the concept for Dimitri’s route started with the idea of “righteous government.” That being said, there’s quite the gap between that Dimitri and the fragile Dimitri from the beginning of the story due to… Unfortunate circumstances.

All: (laugh)

Kusakihara: Once he experiences that fall and all of its twists and turns, he wakes up to what that “righteousness” really means. I wanted to write a kind of paradoxical conflict between his and Edelgard’s routes. Claude started with the keywords “scheming hero;” I wanted to make somebody who would have his own machinations behind the scenes, the kind of guy you couldn’t hate despite his character. As I was writing him, I guess I ended up making him more of a “pure” good guy than I had originally intended. (laughs)

Yokota: Each route had its own concepts specific to it, but we ended up deciding on the overarching story being “split into two parts” and having it “revolve around a war.” Genealogy of the Holy War was on our minds at the time; we’re both fans of the game and wanted to see how we could fit the radiance of its nobles into a new game. We split Three Houses into two acts with Genealogy in mind. That being said, it’d be boring if the games were exactly the same, so I proposed that we split the game into different routes at the beginning of planning.

Kusakihara: By making it about nobles, I wanted to draw out the drama from the differences in perspective inherent to a story like that. With the worldview and the story’s backbone in place, I think I did a pretty good job evoking the drama from the class divide present throughout the story.

And then, of course, religion enters the fray.

Kusakihara:
Right; I did my fair share of studying about religion.

So, the game’s worldview was essentially born from Kusakihara-san’s affinity for fantasy stories about war and Yokota-san’s love for the world of Genealogy.

Yokota:
Yes, I feel pretty accomplished in that we were able to get from the beginning of planning to the end of development without changing the story’s focal point.

And that kind of genre is basically Koei Tecmo’s forte.

Yokota:
They really did cook up something great. Even within the company itself, they were able to get together a team that really likes Fire Emblem.

Kusakihara: They were all incredibly passionate about the project – everybody gave it their all.

Yokota: The scenario team did plenty of research into tropes present throughout the series, and the planners and programmers looked at the series’ gameplay and made proposals accordingly. They would come up with questions like, “that title had this sort of feeling, but are we really going in that direction this time?” Intelligent Systems would then come back with “go with something like this,” in turn. I feel like there was a lot of great communication going on. We did butt heads on occasion, though. (laughs)

Kusakihara: We did end up squabbling a lot. (laughs)

Everyone has their own tastes!

Yokota:
And then I’d say something like, “simmer down, now.” (laughs)

All: (laugh)

Kusakihara: I feel like all of the development team’s passion and investment in the project served as its foundation, and coupled with the massive amount of data poured into it, I think it really gave the game a life of its own. Even among the development team, I don’t think there’s a single person that could claim to understand everything about the game itself in a meaningful way. As I watched the game rapidly go through changes during development, I couldn’t help but think to myself: “it has a soul.”

While we’re on the topic of change, it’s pretty incredible how some of the smaller details can change depending on your supports or how you’re going through the game.

Kusakihara:
Most supports in Fire Emblem don’t necessarily have an affect on the game outside of the conversations themselves. I met with the scenario team early on in development and talked with them about what we could do to change that. I felt like in general more horizontal connections were necessary. For instance: if a particular point came up in one person’s support conversation, I’d want it to have some bearing on the other characters as well. They ended up implementing that pretty well!

Yokota: Even if you were to lose a unit in Classic Mode, the conversations would still hold up! I thought, “wooooow, that must’ve been really difficult!” (laughs)

Kusakihara: They were pretty much prepared for anything.

Interviewer: The game’s dialogue can get pretty complex from time to time; why not just use loan words? For example, “cheese” is written as “kanraku” in-game.

Yokota: You can thank Kusakihara-san for that, too.

Kusakihara: When I was mulling things over with the scenario team, I touched on how I wanted to raise the age range a bit for this game. They ended up going with a “historical fiction” vibe moving forward. With that in mind, things like proper nouns and coined terms don’t really mesh with the aesthetic. For instance, having the house names written out in katakana clashed with the feeling the rest of the setting created. In the end, I feel like everything clicked together quite well.

Yokota: Memorizing the house names ended up taking a bit of time. (laughs)

Kusakihara: The members of the scenario team present at the voice recording sessions were incredibly particular about the more complicated words’ intonations.

When we interviewed Takehito Koyasu-san (Seteth’s VA) about the same thing, he also brought up the fact that he had to do a lot of intonation-related retakes. What he ended up telling us was that he doesn’t normally get that many requests regarding intonation – the instructions weren’t necessarily just limited to how he should say proper nouns.

Yokota:
There really were a lot of hard-to-read and underused kanji, I can only imagine how difficult that must’ve been. The testers raised some concerns about the same thing, but I felt that being picky about small things like that would help contribute to the game’s overall atmosphere. In the end I just used my best judgment.

Kusakihara: Everyone had quite the time pronouncing “Black Eagle Strike Force” [in the original Japanese], and if they mispronounced one sound, they’d have to do a retake.

All: (laugh)

Kusakihara: Balthus’ voice actor – Subaru Kimura-san – read it perfectly from the first take, though. I later learned that he grew up in Germany, and everything clicked.

Yokota: Ohhh, that’s actually pretty interesting.

The katakana was based on how it would’ve been pronounced in his first language, after all.

Yokota:
I’m going off on a bit of a tangent here, but since we’re talking about proper nouns I thought I’d bring up the fact that “Divine Pulse” [“Tengoku no Hakudou”] isn’t pronounced how I originally thought. I had always thought it was pronounced “Tenkoku.”

Kusakihara: Whenever you come up with an unfamiliar word, I find that it’s easier to just give it a reading that you’re already familiar with. I decided I’d have it pronounced similarly to the word for “Heaven” [“Tengoku” written with different kanji].

Yokota: And Kusakihara-san is great with little details like that; I think it’s just incredible. You wrote out an extensive history for Fódlan from the beginning just to use as reference materials for development, even if we weren’t going to use all of it in-game. You’re the kind of guy that’d write about things happening thousands of years before the era the story would even take place during – that’s incredible.

Kusakihara: There’s probably a good ten-thousand years’ worth of material there. I’m also the kind of guy who wouldn’t release said chronology, though. (laughs)

It’s like you’re telling the more inquisitive players to take all of the fragments of information found in-game and fill in the holes themselves.

Kusakihara:
Right. We, on the other hand, will start to forget about all of that. I think in the end the players might end up knowing more than the both of us! (laughs)

Yokota: Well, I guess there’s really nothing we can do about that is there? (laughs)
 

Shaqazooloo

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So, I played through all the routes and I am currently replaying Blue Lions and will possibly be doing Golden Deer and Church route again sometime.

I really want to rant about Crimson Flower but i'll hold my tongue, I just gotta say, I don't know why people like Edelgard.

I disliked her more in her own route then I did in any of the other 3, she's pretty messed up, I don't understand why she's popular.
 

theclaw135

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Brilliant writing. She's dedicated to her cause, even if it entails becoming thoroughly despised by orchestrating one of the most epic betrayals in a video game.
 
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Danjin44

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So, I played through all the routes and I am currently replaying Blue Lions and will possibly be doing Golden Deer and Church route again sometime.

I really want to rant about Crimson Flower but i'll hold my tongue, I just gotta say, I don't know why people like Edelgard.

I disliked her more in her own route then I did in any of the other 3, she's pretty messed up, I don't understand why she's popular.
I like her because I understand her motivation, and she will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Basically I like Edelgard same reason I like Zero in Drakendard 3.
 

Shaqazooloo

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Brilliant writing. She's dedicated to her cause, even if it entails becoming thoroughly despised by orchestrating one of the most epic betrayals in a video game.
Kind of a crap reason imo. You could say that for any decent villain but that doesn't make them likable..
I like her because I understand her motivation, and she will do whatever it takes to achieve it. Basically I like Edelgard same reason I like Zero in Drakendard 3.
Do you excuse her of the questionable actions she takes to achieve her goal?

Also you could argue that what she does is going completely overboard and is mostly a result of her being slightly bigoted.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Loved the GameCube game.

Do I play this or Awakening next?
Depends on if you want to save the really good game for later. Awakening had a meh story, good gameplay with not so good maps. Three Houses has quite very good story and good gameplay, plus it's fully voiced, so it might be difficult to go back to awakening after playing it.
 

Danjin44

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Kind of a crap reason imo. You could say that for any decent villain but that doesn't make them likable..

Do you excuse her of the questionable actions she takes to achieve her goal?
No, she does questionable things to achieve her goal but I also understand why she does it and that what makes her interesting character.

In original Nier the MC and his friends doom entire humanity but it doesn't change that I still love those characters.
 
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mcz117chief

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I am about 2/3 done with the Golden Deer route (my 2nd run after doing Crimson Flower) and this time I tried to optimize as much as possible to unlock as many support conversations as possible, for that reason it now took me longer to get this far than my original playthrough :D Well anyway, I have grown to like characters which I didn't in the original playthrough especially Seteth. Seteth's interactions are some of the most lovable in the entire game, I almost got teary-eyed during Bernadetta/Seteth conversations. Just incredible character and as female Byleth he is now my chosen one :messenger_heart: Another characters which I have grown to adore is the Felix-Ingrid-Sylvain triangle, all 3 very complex and compelling characters, especially Sylvain, his A conversation with Ingrid is honestly the cutest thing :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:. Lastly Lorenz surprised me a lot, his character has incredible development throughout the game and I respect his so much now, really just great writing. This game has firmly cemented itself as my "game of the generation" easily, I can't imagine a better game than this.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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I am about 2/3 done with the Golden Deer route (my 2nd run after doing Crimson Flower) and this time I tried to optimize as much as possible to unlock as many support conversations as possible, for that reason it now took me longer to get this far than my original playthrough :D Well anyway, I have grown to like characters which I didn't in the original playthrough especially Seteth. Seteth's interactions are some of the most lovable in the entire game, I almost got teary-eyed during Bernadetta/Seteth conversations. Just incredible character and as female Byleth he is now my chosen one :messenger_heart: Another characters which I have grown to adore is the Felix-Ingrid-Sylvain triangle, all 3 very complex and compelling characters, especially Sylvain, his A conversation with Ingrid is honestly the cutest thing :messenger_smiling_with_eyes:. Lastly Lorenz surprised me a lot, his character has incredible development throughout the game and I respect his so much now, really just great writing. This game has firmly cemented itself as my "game of the generation" easily, I can't imagine a better game than this.
Seteth has the best line of supports in the game imo. Even with a character that a lot of people dislike (Cyril) he makes it into an excellent support chain that everybody is on board with.

In general the supports have been a huge step up from Awakening and Fates. The characters having deeper relationships with each other, (although that mostly only applies to the Blue Lions) makes the supports far more engaging.
 
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John2290

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I'm looking at the gameplay and I don't get it... this isn't an RTS. Why are all these journalists and reviewers telling people it's real time strategy. I'm so disappointed but glad I looked at some footage before I hit buy. It's turn based, games journalists man. It's like they don't even play games.
 
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John2290

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Okay, I'm confused... is there something I'm missing. Just found this again it a list of best real time and strategy games on Switch. Is there some gameplay element I'm missing here towards the combat? What exactly make it real time strategy?
 

Shaqazooloo

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Okay, I'm confused... is there something I'm missing. Just found this again it a list of best real time and strategy games on Switch. Is there some gameplay element I'm missing here towards the combat? What exactly make it real time strategy?
It's a SRPG, so it fits with the strategy tag. It's not real time though.
 
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mcz117chief

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Okay, I'm confused... is there something I'm missing. Just found this again it a list of best real time and strategy games on Switch. Is there some gameplay element I'm missing here towards the combat? What exactly make it real time strategy?
It is just turn based, no real time gameplay at all.

Seteth has the best line of supports in the game imo. Even with a character that a lot of people dislike (Cyril) he makes it into an excellent support chain that everybody is on board with.

In general the supports have been a huge step up from Awakening and Fates. The characters having deeper relationships with each other, (although that mostly only applies to the Blue Lions) makes the supports far more engaging.

I mostly dislike Cyril for his insane simping for Rhea, like hot damn. Even after the 5 year gap he just won't let up for a second.
 
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John2290

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It's a SRPG, so it fits with the strategy tag. It's not real time though.
Aside from the tactical gameplay what other strategy elements does it have. I know you have the X-com like hub and have the dialogue choices along the way but is there something deeper than that?
 
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Shaqazooloo

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It is just turn based, no real time gameplay at all.



I mostly dislike Cyril for his insane simping for Rhea, like hot damn. Even after the 5 year gap he just won't let up for a second.
Understandable, he does go pretty hard on the Rhea simping, given his backstory though I feel it's justified, she saved him from his miserable life in his homeland and gave him a place to belong, the way he see's it, he owes everything to her similar to Catherine, she's just slightly less annoying about it, also she's a badass so far more forgivable for her.
 

mcz117chief

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Aside from the tactical gameplay what other strategy elements does it have. I know you have the X-com like hub and have the dialogue choices along the way but is there something deeper than that?
Well you play a teacher so you interact with your students and other faculty members, guide them and help them grow as well as go on missions and personal quests to help them out. Then you also got other activities like fishing, organizing troops and equipment, cooking, singing, reading anonymous notes from students and such. It is really quite briliant and there is no x-com hub at all, it is an abbey and you can't expand it or do anything with it in any way.

Understandable, he does go pretty hard on the Rhea simping, given his backstory though I feel it's justified, she saved him from his miserable life in his homeland and gave him a place to belong, the way he see's it, he owes everything to her similar to Catherine, she's just slightly less annoying about it, also she's a badass so far more forgivable for her.
Yeah, Catherine is fine, Cyril really needs to take a chill pill.
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Aside from the tactical gameplay what other strategy elements does it have. I know you have the X-com like hub and have the dialogue choices along the way but is there something deeper than that?
Unit and time management I suppose, the game operates on a calendar system were you only have so many days in a month and you only have so many actions in a day that you can take, so you have to manage how you spend activity points, what you use them on and who you use them on, to build up a well equipped team to take on opposing armies.
 
S

SLoWMoTIoN

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It is just turn based, no real time gameplay at all.



I mostly dislike Cyril for his insane simping for Rhea, like hot damn. Even after the 5 year gap he just won't let up for a second.

The edelcucks are worse though.
 

Shaqazooloo

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Is the DLC for this game any good? Been thinking about playing through the game again.
The side story has good gameplay and characters , but the story is the low point.

It adds a fair bit to the main campaign though with new characters and dialogue, extra supports and new classes, it makes it feel like a new game plus, and if you're playing with new game plus already it makes it feel like a new game plus plus with all the stuff you're able to do. You can get some pretty wild builds with the DLC.
 

John2290

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Unit and time management I suppose, the game operates on a calendar system were you only have so many days in a month and you only have so many actions in a day that you can take, so you have to manage how you spend activity points, what you use them on and who you use them on, to build up a well equipped team to take on opposing armies.
Yeah, I've read about the system and it's one of the factors of why I wanna pick it up, the fact that Persona won't evolve with their consumer base and up the age of their characters is infuriating. Sick of playing teenagers in this games and feeling like a pedo when the eventual Japanese sexual inuendo or school girl dressed like a stripper turns up.
I'll put up with this archaic looking combat system if it's the Persona killer people are touting it as but man, reviewers really don't know what the acronym RTS stands for these days.
 
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John2290

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10 hours in, It's really interesting and still has that new game feel everytime I boot it up. Fantastic pacing, exactly what I wanted in a Persona replacement. I'm a bit disappointed that it doesn't have real time strategy or an overmap that could have layered on into one hell of a strategy game but what's here is fantastic. There is a few niggling things like another game where the characters highschool students even in this damn fantasy world, this wouldn't have been a problem if they hadn't listed the ages of the characters in the rooster... why? Just let me imagine they're all adults at least, don't shove it my face and make me feel weird, evolve with your audience who are growing older now or your genre will die. Other things like characters who have died and are off my rooster still existing in the Monastery. Way too many speech bubble in one given month that require you to actually engage if you want to find who likes what or who owns what to get their motivations up.

Eh, small things but this shit is good, digital drugs and I love the method of pushing you to avoid save scumming, that's fantastic progression. I wish games like Divinity OS and what not would employ continued progression like that on death to keep the temptation away.
 
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John2290

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The side story has good gameplay and characters , but the story is the low point.

It adds a fair bit to the main campaign though with new characters and dialogue, extra supports and new classes, it makes it feel like a new game plus, and if you're playing with new game plus already it makes it feel like a new game plus plus with all the stuff you're able to do. You can get some pretty wild builds with the DLC.
Would you recommend playing the vanilla game first time around or playing the DLC version? I'm 10 hours in and if there is a better version I'd wipe the save for it...?
 
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Shaqazooloo

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Would you recommend playing the vanilla game first time around or playing the DLC version? I'm 10 hours in and if there is a better version I'd wipe the save for it...?
If you think theirs a chance you might do another route, I would suggest just going vanilla for now because it works best as an add-on to make a replay of the game more refreshing imo. If not, I guess it depends, the DLC adds 4 really good classes, 4 new characters and another area to explore, makes grinding easier as well as makes some items more accessible in exchange for a different currency (which opens up some pretty good unit options), plus the side story and some other little bonuses. If you're invested enough in the game I would go for it if not probably not worth.

Also, you wouldn't need to delete your save to get that stuff, as long you aren't at part 2 which starts at chapter 10 (I think...) then you can get access to it, you'd just have less time with it.
10 hours in, It's really interesting and still has that new game feel everytime I boot it up. Fantastic pacing, exactly what I wanted in a Persona replacement. I'm a bit disappointed that it doesn't have real time strategy or an overmap that could have layered on into one hell of a strategy game but what's here is fantastic. There is a few niggling things like another game where the characters highschool students even in this damn fantasy world, this wouldn't have been a problem if they hadn't listed the ages of the characters in the rooster... why? Just let me imagine they're all adults at least, don't shove it my face and make me feel weird, evolve with your audience who are growing older now or your genre will die. Other things like characters who have died and are off my rooster still existing in the Monastery. Way too many speech bubble in one given month that require you to actually engage if you want to find who likes what or who owns what to get their motivations up.

Eh, small things but this shit is good, digital drugs and I love the method of pushing you to avoid save scumming, that's fantastic progression. I wish games like Divinity OS and what not would employ continued progression like that on death to keep the temptation away.
That becomes less of a problem later.
 
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John2290

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If you think theirs a chance you might do another route, I would suggest just going vanilla for now because it works best as an add-on to make a replay of the game more refreshing imo. If not, I guess it depends, the DLC adds 4 really good classes, 4 new characters and another area to explore, makes grinding easier as well as makes some items more accessible in exchange for a different currency (which opens up some pretty good unit options), plus the side story and some other little bonuses. If you're invested enough in the game I would go for it if not probably not worth.

Also, you wouldn't need to delete your save to get that stuff, as long you aren't at part 2 which starts at chapter 10 (I think...) then you can get access to it, you'd just have less time with it.

That becomes less of a problem later.
Wait, without spoilers, the three houses choice actually has three meaningfully different story paths beyond just the characters? Wow. I'll stick with vanilla for now if so.
 

Shaqazooloo

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Wait, without spoilers, the three houses choice actually has three meaningfully different story paths beyond just the characters? Wow. I'll stick with vanilla for now if so.
Yeah, the story branches off into different directions depending on the house you chose, although on all routes part 1 is basically the same with the only differences being how the House leader reacts to events, the plot points that it sets up for when the plot splits and what the game focuses on (such as a mystery/conspiracy or characters and there backstory).
 
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