Nintendo Switch

Fire Emblem Three Houses devs: “Without the help of Koei Tecmo, it simply wouldn’t be possible”

Online gaming website VG247 has had the chance to chat with some of the staff behind the soon-to-be-released Fire Emblem: Three Houses for the Nintendo Switch. The developers, Intelligent System, employed the help of Koei Tecmo on the lengthy strategy title. The company has experience working on HD titles and they previously worked on Fire Emblem Warriors. There’s plenty more information at this link so if you are a fan be sure to give it a read.

The hope is that Three Houses will be the biggest and best entry in the series to date – but coming off the back of 3DS games, Intelligent Systems couldn’t make a RPG of the scale of Fire Emblem: Three Houses alone – and that’s where Tecmo Koei come in.

“As far as this game goes, I’m pretty sure that without the help of Koei Tecmo it simply wouldn’t have been possible,” Kusakihara says of the studio.

“Or maybe it was possible, but it would have taken a lot more time,” adds Genki Yokota, Three Houses’ director on the Nintendo side of development. “Regarding the design aspect – Koei Tecmo didn’t do so much,” Kusakihara clarifies. “It was especially us at Intelligent Systems who did all of the graphics and design. For example, we had the help of a freelance illustrator Kazuma Koda [Nier Automata, Bayonetta 2] and also Chinatsu Kurahara [Uta no Prince-sama, Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters], who was the character designer. My team and I were in charge of designs like weapons, monsters and other details like that. So in design terms, it was mainly Intelligent Systems.”

Tecmo Koei is obviously a perfect fit for Three Houses; for a start, the studio has worked on Fire Emblem before with its musou-style action spin-off Fire Emblem Warriors, but the studio also has a rich strategy game history in Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Nobunaga’s Ambition.

Through Dynasty Warriors, the studio also has much technical experience in creating large-scale battles with a lot of characters on-screen, something Kusakihara marked as a key addition to Fire Emblem’s traditionally one-on-one encounters for Three Houses. In Three Houses, instead of one recognizable character fighting another in a given encounter, each character will lead a whole squadron of characters into a proper, more realistic-looking skirmish.

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14 comments

    1. Technically Pokemon is not really handled as much by Nintendo, Nintendo essential is just publishing the game series, they are not as involved in the series as they are with other games. In essence they will offer support for pokemon, but they do not develop or manage it. That is more on gamefreak (the devs) and creatures (in essence the pokemon designers).

      Intellegent is slightly in the same boat, but they actually work closer to nintendo than gamefreak does, since they have more recently moved into a Nintendo building.

      its hard to equate differing dev studios that work with a publisher (in this case Gamefreak and Intellident) with the publisher’s (Nintendo) own studios.

      Part of why they had Koei’s help was, they had to make a game pretty quickly, which would require them to do one of two options. Make a new Engine, since the one they modifying up to now wouldnt really be the best for what they wanted. Or learn a already existing engine. But with time being pretty limited, they decided to go with option 2, and rather than having to self learn an engine they went with a team they already worked with, Koei, and their engine, the same one they used to make Fire emblem Warriors.
      So in the end it was about saving time, and saving time is saving money. Seems it would have cost too much to make this game if they had to make a new engine, or train their staff (without outside help) on something like epic.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. “Technically Pokemon is not really handled as much by Nintendo, Nintendo essential is just publishing the game series, they are not as involved in the series as they are with other games. ”

        You’re making a distinction which, in the context of my point, isn’t relevant. I’m aware that the game isn’t developed by Nintendo themselves. Nintendo however, owning the Fire Emblem franchise, and doing the hiring of the developers, is in the driver’s seat of staffing. It’s awkward and not representative of my point to refer to the individual company, rather than the company doing the hiring of the company, Nintendo. An example:

        Lots and lots of tech companies hire out another company to handle their customer service. Uber is one such company. If you try and contact Uber with a CS issue, from my real experience, you’ll get someone who barely speaks your language, won’t actually read your post, try and guess your problem based off the topic, and copy paste an “answer” from Uber’s website which you’ve probably already read. Now if you’re going to complain about this performance, is it unfair to say that Uber has lousy customer service? Sure, technically Uber isn’t the company that performed the task, but they’re the company you’re buying from, and the company deciding which outside company to hire for this portion of their obligation to you.

        So when I say “Nintendo’s handheld divisions”, I do not simply refer to divisions which are in a legalistic sense part of the official company of Nintendo, but all divisions who work predominantly (typically exclusively) making handheld games for Nintendo systems.

        “Part of why they had Koei’s help was, they had to make a game pretty quickly, which would require them to do one of two options. Make a new Engine, since the one they modifying up to now wouldnt really be the best for what they wanted. Or learn a already existing engine. But with time being pretty limited, they decided to go with option 2, and rather than having to self learn an engine they went with a team they already worked with, Koei, and their engine, the same one they used to make Fire emblem Warriors.”

        So, who exactly was it that hired a company to make a fully HD console game in a very short span of time that wasn’t already equipped to handle such a task? Better question, The Switch has been a known commodity in Nintendo for half a decade. It was a highly known situation that they were going to need to make fully HD console converstions of their presently handheld IP’s. Why exactly was the primary developer of a major Nintendo IP caught off guard by this need?

        I’m a Nintendo fan, but this smells of poor management.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Well to be fair the only hd game they’ve ever worked on is Paper Mario color splash, which is essentially a 2D game and less demanding, so they don’t have much experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. they didnt, they needed a engine, and they had already worked with Koei who had an engine they liked.

        Like

    2. Well technically, Nintendo don’t have a handheld division since Sotaru Iwata merged both the Handheld and Home console divisions prior to the NX announcement.

      As for Pokémon, comparing this game to Sword and Shield, you can see that Intelligent Systems is doing a lot to take advantage of the extra power on the Switch to scale the gameplay and possibilities for Fire Emblem… Doing things that wouldn’t be really possible on a 3DS…
      Pokémon Sword and Shield is just basically a HD version of Sun and Moon IMO

      Liked by 2 people

    1. If it’s because of data limits or restrictions, they could’ve just asked Nintendo’s compression wizards for help- after all, they squeezed Breath of the Wild below 15 gigs, which if made by any other developer would’ve been 25-30+.

      If it’s animations, just get a few more designers- if it’s gonna cost more, so what? Pokemon makes at least a small fortune every game, it’ll more than make up for the cost.

      If it’s “because we don’t want to,” then there is no excuse. I’m still getting Shield because a bunch of my work mates are getting it, but damn it all, if my Sharpedo doesn’t make the roster…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. But we just had Let’s Go! Eevee- I would think any Mon that’s been on a box cover or been name-dropped in a title would be guaranteed to show, not to mention Eevee’s near-dozen evolution options make it nearly iconic in the Pokemon universe.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Since Let’s GO! Eevee released last year, I want to assume Eevee & it’s evolutions are a sure thing in PS/S. Hopefully GameFreak & Nintendo are now treating Eevee like the secondary mascot for the franchise like it should have been since the first entries. ESPECIALLY considering how special it was to get Eevee in the original games not by tracking it in the wild but by being given the little guy after finding a secret man in one of the towns that gives you the Pokemon.

        Like

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