For those who want to make Fire Emblem: Three Houses more like XCOM, Nintendo is on the case.
On July 25, just hours before the game was scheduled to launch, Nintendo, publisher of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, announced on Twitter that there is an extra difficulty setting coming to the game later this year. There are currently two difficulty settings in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, including Normal and Hard. The Nintendo announcement hints at an even tougher difficulty setting above and beyond Hard.
It’s not clear which of the four waves of DLC for Fire Emblem: Three Houses the new difficulty setting will be a part of except that it will be available in 2019. According to the Nintendo's recent blog entry, the DLC schedule includes four separate waves:
- Wave 1: Officers Academy Uniform for female and male Byleth available Day 1 (July 26th).
- Wave 2: Additional Auxiliary battle maps, helpful in-game support items, and more will be released by 10/31/2019.
- Wave 3: Additional quests and costumes will be released by 12/31/2019.
- Wave 4: Discover new story content, with additional playable characters, locations and more will be released by 4/30/2020.
In case some are unfamiliar with the franchise, Fire Emblem is a long-running turn-based strategy game franchise that is exclusive to Nintendo consoles and handhelds. The series is set in a shared fantasy universe, but few games in the franchise are true sequels and prequels to each other. Individual Fire Emblem games tell their own stories with a conventional narrative structure without any hint of a direct continuation at the end of the game. The series is also known for having big casts of side characters which plays into the difficulty in these games because they contain the permadeath mechanic.
Permadeath is a gameplay mechanic which prevents characters that die in a game from being revived. So if a player makes a mistake in a game like Fire Emblem: Three Houses and a character loses a fight, they might just die and not come back in that playthrough. Permadeath is probably best known from the XCOM games where the playable characters are basically faceless, disposable grunts. In Fire Emblem, permadeath stings a bit more than in other games because the side characters players are risking usually have some degree of characterization and feel more like actual people.
In comparison to other strategy series, the difficulty in Fire Emblem games tends to be on the easier side of things. If a player messes up, someone is going to die in Fire Emblem. This can be compared to XCOM, where a player can feasibly execute a mission perfectly and still lose characters. This new difficulty setting should do a lot to bring in the wider strategy community who often look down their noses at the Fire Emblem series as a strategy franchise for novice players and nothing more.