A Challenger Approaches... Many in Fact
The next step in the Fire Emblem takeover of Super Smash Bros
Fire Emblem has grown from being a cult-classic, Japan-only release with an almost Easter egg appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee to now having a cast that rivals the progenitors of the Smash brand, like Super Mario and Pokemon. Despite the growing saturation of Fire Emblem in Smash, the now ironic criticism is that there is not enough. "Great, another blue-haired sword user," is the chorus of the critics as the additions of multiple clone units did little to stir the stagnant waters. For every uniquely designed character we enjoy like Robin or Byleth, there is a Marth clone/semi-clone to remind us how little the formula has shifted as a whole. The progressing irony of all this is that Fire Emblem has the largest playable cast of any Nintendo property. In addition, one of the crowning accomplishments that Fire Emblem provides is potentially making you feel invested in every single one. Nino from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is no blue-haired, sword-wielding noble, and we love her for that. As annoying as Calill from Path of Radiance can be, I don't want to lose her for fear of leaving her adopted daughter Amy motherless. Fire Emblem's strength lives and dies by how it has humanized its cast. While boasting a strong tactical-RPG gameplay format, the diversion from the formula in Fire Emblem: Awakening that generated the massive revival of the series was the emphasis on relationships with the cast.
It's this diversity of character that fans look forward to, and where Smash is falling short to an extent. Yes, they've put forward several representatives; but as mentioned before the repetition of the same archetypes fails to present the necessary solution. This isn't a matter of creative limitation on Sakurai's part, but just an unfortunate side-effect of choices made as far as 30 years ago. The sword-wielding main lord has become a mainstay of Fire Emblem since Marth in its first iteration. I'm not suggesting we submit Renault from Blazing Blade or Azama from Fire Emblem: Fates as possible new fighters, but there needs to be a way for the breadth of the Fire Emblem cast to represented more fully in Smash. We have some extra representation of characters like Tiki and the Black Knight as Assist Trophies, but I believe there is an even more deep way to incorporate these characters.
Enter Fire Emblem Heroes. Easily Nintendo's most successful mobile foray, Heroes plays on the same nostalgia that Smash does; taking characters from all across the pantheon of Fire Emblem history and putting them together in one game. Obviously the format is a little different and Heroes is more true to the original source material than Smash, but the fandom enticing concept is the same. And Heroes also brings the vehicle with which we will get to the point of this article.
We have many Fire Emblem characters in Smash. We have a few Assist Trophies to pad out the representation a little more. We only have one other item for Fire Emblem representation, in the Killing Edge. I am suggesting one more. The Breidablik.
In Fire Emblem: Heroes, the Breidablik is the vessel which allows you to summon the heroes of games gone by into the world of Askr. With its dimension-bending abilities, the Breidablik makes for the perfect opportunity to include the kind of representation that Fire Emblem would be best suited for in Smash. Here the possibilities are limitless. No longer are we stuck to just the main characters of the respective stories and their oft-repeated combat abilities. The entire spectrum of Fire Emblem's magic, weaponry and abilities are at the disposal. In essence, the item would work in the same way as a Pokeball or an Assist Trophy; pick it up and a random hero appears to aid its summoner. It could even play the little summoning jingle, just for kicks. At this point, we would transfer Lyn, the Black Knight, and Tiki to this item from their Assist Trophy form, but here are some other character examples that I think would work well.
Princess of the realm of the dead, Eir fills a unique role even in Heroes itself. She is a healer, but not a staff unit, making her a great support unit that also potentially hits like a truck. My concept for Eir would take advantage of her Sparkling Boost ability which heals 10HP to whichever unit received the most damage in the previous turn. In Smash, this would obviously affect the summoning player, but could also have an interesting effect in team matches where it more accurately reflects her original iteration by targeting the teammate with the most damage.
Eir's preferred weapon Lyfjaberg would also be utilized in this concept. To reference the picture above, she would fly around the arena, throwing her daggers in opposite directions while healing at the same time. Eir would fulfill a mixed support/combat hero as she does in the original game.
A character still missing from Fire Emblem: Heroes, but often requested is the Archsage of Nabata, Athos. Fulfilling the Gotoh archetype, Athos is many fans' first example of the high-powered endgame character meant to bolster your team for the final battle. I personally have fond memories of loading my Athos up with all the S-rank spells claimed in the clash with Nergal's morphs and going to town on the rest. My strategic prowess has improved markedly since the days of my 11 year old self, but Athos' domination of the final chapter of the game still holds a place in my heart.
As for Athos' in-game skill, the options are as numerous as the amount of spells he can equip. Despite the limitations of the GameBoy Advance's graphics, the animations of the spells acquired in the endgame of Blazing Blade exude a sense of power, filling the whole screen. Upon summoning, Athos can cast one of these spells at random to deal damage to all other players. Athos' signature spell Forblaze would deal fire damage, while the spell of his long-held ally Elimine would deal light damage. There are even more options with the spells claimed from enemy units such as the dark magic of the ghostly Gespenst and the wind blades of the Excalibur spell. A unit as powerful as the "Living Legend" should be represented in a way that exemplifies his utility and respects the lore of the character.
One of the greatest plot twists of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn is the reveal that the Prime Minister of the Begnion Empire is in fact the mastermind behind the conflict spanning the game. Always in the background, but always sympathetic, Sephiran never gave any sense of malice towards your cause and never raised even a hint of suspect of being the antagonist. Layer on a double helping of surprise when it's revealed that he is also the 1000 year old heron of legend, Lehran. Sephiran is an intriguing character that has a plethora of options for use in Smash.
During the stage in which you battle Sephiran, he introduces another new element to the gameplay, despite being the penultimate chapter. Sephiran's army is comprised purely of elemental spirits who have massive movement and deal magic damage. While this is a small feature, it nonetheless makes this stage feel unique and so my proposal is to let the spirits take center stage. When Sephiran is summoned, he'd immediately unleash a spirit of each element to flash across the stage and deal damage to any opposing players they make contact with. The damage would also be elementally specific, causing effects to their foes such as burn, electrocution, and freeze.
The Armour Knights (Draug/Arden/Gatrie etc.)
We've gone through several of the more magical characters (and specifically those referred to as Mythic in Fire Emblem Heroes) and truly the spell list is so long in Fire Emblem that we could utilize a different mage or sage to represent each spell and that would be a satisfyingly long list. There are however more classes in Fire Emblem to represent the "average" person. People with no exceptional skill other than their combat training who still deserve representation as they comprise a large percentage of the Fire Emblem cast.One of these options would be any of Fire Emblem's armour knights. This class has come presented in many different iterations, but the key concept remains the same: a slow, high-defense unit with decent attack whose main purpose is to block the path of your enemy and stop them from advancing.
Some of the more iconic armour knights in the series include the original knight for whom the archetype is named; Draug. There's Arden, the oft-memed heavyweight from Genealogy of the Holy War, Amelia, the trainee who grows from her humble roots to become an abnormally speedy option for the class. The concept for this class is simple- the unit appears as a large obstacle on the feel, poking their spear, sword or axe at whomever comes close. And still there are ways to diversify the offering. Playing off of the character themselves is an option, such as Amelia having a quicker reaction time, or even more outlandish, Kellam from Fire Emblem: Awakening being invisible and showing up out of nowhere to reference his character quirk.
The Christmas Knights- Red/Green Cavs (Cain and Abel, Kent and Sain etc.)
Another one of the most recognizable tropes in Fire Emblem are the aforementioned "Christmas knights". These characters often join at the beginning of your quest and share a close relationship with the main protagonist. As such, they often hold a dear spot in players' hearts. As well as often serving as retainers story-wise, they help with an early diversification of your team as one is often focused on speed and skill stats, while the other is gifted in strength, but is slower. Naturally, upon summoning, these characters would appear together. Think, Kent appearing with a flurry of sword strikes, followed by a large lance blow from Sain with high knockback.
While this archetype has often been reserved for the cavalier class, newer instalments have changed up the formula, such as with Kaze and Saizo as ninjas, and Clanne and Framme from Engage starting as a mage and a monk. These options also provide some alternative interpretations to how a dual summon could function.
Dancers and Healers
While we've spoken at length about those characters who have great combat potential, there is also a whole subsection of support-oriented characters. Dancers like Dorothea could provide an energizing boost, potentially increasing your characters movement speed or attack strength. Healers naturally, would as their name suggests, heal your characters damage. There's still room for variety in this class type as well, due to specialty staves like the Aum staff which could grant an extra stock, the Sleep staff which could put opponents to sleep, or the Silence staff which could prevent use of special moves.
Truth be told, I could keep going and probably pitch the entire roster of summonable units. We haven't touched on fliers, archers, or a number of other classes with potential for creative implementation, but I'll leave that to you. Comment below who your dream inclusion would be and what they would look like. I'm biased towards some of my favourite characters, so I'm excited to see suggestions based on characters I haven't considered. And if whomever develops the next Smash game is reading, you're welcome.
About the Creator
Canadian teacher teaching online and just trying to stay sane! Tune in for my ramblings and my coherent thoughts, all conveniently curated on one page!
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