As much as I enjoyed the Fire Emblem: Fates games, their characters left a little something to be desired. From what I’ve read about the previous entries in the series, this largely holds true for most Fire Emblem games. They’re quite fun to play and some of their heroes have become pretty iconic, but the characters typically don’t develop past one or two dimensions. This is not the case in Fire Emblem: Three Houses.
To be clear, I’m not saying that Fire Emblem: Three Houses’ characters are all as well-written and fully realized as say the squad members from Mass Effect. That level of nuance definitely still isn’t there. Rather, I’m saying that they’re finally developed enough that I’m able to see them as more than just one-note units in my army. Each one still has a specific personality quirk leading their personality, but that quirk is supported by actual backstory and personal philosophy rather than just existing as a shortcut to a personality.
For example, one of the students in my character’s house (the Black Eagles) in known as Linhardt. I didn’t like Linhardt at first. He’s outwardly very lazy and seemingly uninterested in just about anything going on around him, frequently saying things like he’d rather be napping or something. In past Fire Emblem games, it would never go much further beyond this. We might learn that they’re just a peaceful person or something, hence the laziness, and that’s it. In Fire Emblem: Three Houses though, it turns out that Linhardt isn’t just lazy for laziness’ sake though.
He does have a pacifist quality to him, which is discovered though the main character’s support conversations, but there’s more. Through his interactions with the other students, we also learn that he’s an avid researcher with a passion for learning more about how Crests work. We learn that he spends a lot of time observing other students and is very willing to coach them on their form (even though he himself doesn’t want to pick up a weapon). We find out that he values efficiency, which is part of the reason why he dislikes conflict (too much effort for too little gain). He also seems to care a great deal about his classmates, even though he’d rather not spend energy hanging out with them. So now, now I don’t dislike him all that much anymore.
Linhardt isn’t just a one-note unit in the army, he’s got a fully-defined personality with actual reasons for his actions and perspectives. The same is true of just about every character on the roster. I don’t think Fire Emblem has reached the level of Mass Effect yet, but then I’m only half-way through Three Houses at the moment. There’s a major turn coming up for the entire cast soon, and if it has the kind of impact I think it will, then this game’s characters might just end up being some of the best developed I’ve ever seen in a video game.
What doe you think of Fire Emblem’s characters? Are you seeing the same level of improvement in Three Houses that I am? What game that you’ve played had/has the most-developed characters?
Lede Image from Nintendo eShop page