A new adventure unlike anything Nintendo has done before will join the ever-expanding Nintendo universe in 2015. At a developer roundtable event on June 11 during the E3 video game conference, Nintendo announced Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. The new turn-based action strategy game comes from Intelligent Systems, the developer of the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars series.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a new take on strategy games inspired by third-person shooters. Like the Fire Emblem and Advance Wars games before it, Code Name S.T.E.A.M. tasks players with planning out strategic moves using a team of soldiers to do battle with enemy forces. But this game throws a wrench into many of the conventions familiar to the genre.
For starters, the game takes place in a vibrant steampunk world, weaving its globe-spanning tale in the art style of a classic comic book. The title refers to an elite team of steam-powered special-forces soldiers composed of absolutely wild and wholly unexpected characters who must battle an extraterrestrial menace. To establish a connection to the main playable characters and to emphasize the verticality and depth of the level design, the perspective of Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. uses a behind-the-shoulder perspective at the level of the players’ squad. Players outflank and outshoot the enemy in a fully 3D battlefield with a customizable four-member team. To defeat aliens, they have to take cover, set up ambushes and unleash crossfires and counter-attacks. For every move taken or action performed, a steam gauge is slowly depleted, forcing players to use strategy to achieve their objectives. Along the way, players will acquire new items and weapons that give them more strategic options and firepower.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. will launch exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems in 2015. For more information about Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and to keep an eye on all of Nintendo’s activities during E3, visit http://e3.nintendo.com.
James Anderson, one of the programmers over at Intelligent Systems, has revealed via his Linked In profile that the acclaimed development studio is working on an unannounced Wii U project. The team has previously produced a number of games including, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Fire Emblem: Awakening and Advance Wars. What would you like to see Intelligent Systems work on next for Wii U?
In the U.S. alone, Fire Emblem Awakening sold more than 240,000 copies. If the game’s sales were meager, it could have been the very last entry in the Fire Emblem series, according to one of the game’s producers, Hitoshi Yamagami. Fortunately, for fans of the series, Nintendo isn’t retiring Fire Emblem just yet, as Intelligent Systems and Atlus are currently working on a Wii U crossover role-playing game between the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei worlds.
Hitoshi 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!
Fire Emblem Awakening has arrived in Europe and Australia at both retail and the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS. In the strategy role-playing game, players assume the role of a tactician to aid a prince named Chrom, who is also a leader of a militia known as the Shepherds. To help you decide on whether you should purchase the game, check out our Fire Emblem Awakening review, or download its free demo from the Nintendo eShop.
Nintendo has explained why characters in Fire Emblem Awakening have deformed feet. Well, apparently, the designers of the strategy role-playing game ultimately decided it wasn’t necessary for characters to have fully-featured feet. In a developer interview, the game’s art director, Toshiyuki Kusakihara, said that, because in-game characters primarily use handheld weapons for combat, he and his team felt it was OK to exclude some detail in their feet.
… We have to ask a question a lot of the fans are wondering — what happened with the feet? (laughs)
Toshiyuki Kusakihara:(Laughs) Well, they’re there…they’re just…omitted a little bit.
The idea was to add a unique sort of deformation to the characters. As for why it ended up like this… At the start of the project, we weren’t entirely sure how many bones and joints we’d be able to use in each character model. As it is now, there’s a joint at the knees, and then there’s nothing below that for the ankles and the feet. This makes it a bit easier to apply animation to models as well. We found out afterward that, with the 3DS, we had more than enough CPU strength available to flesh out the models a bit, add real ankles and so on. We were like “Well, if there’s a next time, maybe there’ll be more ankles…” (laughs)
We thought we could make it something that would work well with the characters, but now I’m not so sure. (laughs) So it’s hard to give a real reason for it, but…well, I think it’s kind of cute, though! (laughs) Isn’t it? They look like they’re wearing high heels. Aren’t high heels the big fashion these days?
Did you get any feedback about this from Japanese players as well?
Kusakihara: Yeah, some people focused on the feet a lot. (laughs) I think if this was a game that involved people kicking and such, we would have put in real ankles. Instead, you’re using handheld weapons for the most part, so we figured we could sort of omit some of the detail down there…
Fire Emblem Awakening launches later this week in Europe and Australia, exclusively for Nintendo 3DS. If you’re still unsure of whether you’re going to purchase the game, to help you decide, check out our Fire Emblem Awakening review.
With the European release of Fire Emblem: Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS only a few weeks away, game project manager Masahiro Higuchi has not denied a potential return to Intelligent Systems’ other successful franchise: Advance Wars. If all goes well, it would spell the end of a five-year drought to the turn-based strategy game.
In an interview on the official Fire Emblem site, Higuchi said: “Well, whether it’s Fire Emblem or the Advance Wars, we never want to put an end to any series we’re involved with. We always want to make games that provide a lot of fun to gamers, so if we have the chance, we’d certainly like to make another [Advance Wars] title.”
Nintendo Australia has announced that Fire Emblem Awakening launches Down Under on April 20th, which is a day after the game’s release in Europe. The tactical role-playing game launched earlier this month, February 4th, in North America. In our Fire Emblem Awakening review, we called it the best title in the Fire Emblem series, thanks, in part, to its beautiful visuals, engrossing story and deeply developed characters.