Fire Emblem If's Multiple Versions, Branching Storyline Innovation in storytelling, or plain price-gouging? You decide. 04.06.15 - 10:46 AM
The next Fire Emblem game in development (ignoring the Wii U crossover title of course), Fire Emblem If, will not only have a branching storyline but two different retail versions to play. Although not the first game in the series to have multiple story paths, it will be the first to structure them as separate games.
The two versions are called Fire Emblem If: White Kingdom and Fire Emblem If: Black Kingdom. White Kingdom's will tell the story of the peace-loving Hoshido kingdom and appears to be a traditional Fire Emblem story of a heroic army repelling aggressive invaders. The gameplay will also be more accessible as money and experience will not be limited and you will have more freedom in character growth. Black Kingdom on the other hand will feature the warlike Nohr clan and place players in the shoes of a revolutionary. The story is said to be more complex and gameplay more difficult due to limited experience and gold. The game's protagonist is a member of Hoshido royalty who was raised in the Nohr kingdom and must choose where his loyalties lie. Players will be able to customize their own avatar to star as the protagonist.
In either version, the story is the same through chapter 6, after which players must pick a side. There are also slight differences between the physical and digital copies of the game. Purchasing a physical copy will lock the buyer in to the story path they buy, either White or Black. They can then purchase the alternate story path as DLC at a discount of about 40% (in Japanese yen, USD prices have not been announced). Those who buy the digital copy will be able to pick which version to play after chapter 6. After choosing a side, the other story path will be permanently locked until they purchase it as DLC, again with the discount.
The studio has promised that each version will separately have the same amount of content as Fire Emblem: Awakening They also promised a third story path some time in the future as DLC. Finally, there will be a special edition with a two-in-one cartridge with both versions, free access to the third version on release, limited edition art book, and a limited edition Fire Emblem 0 (Cypher) trading card game card.
Fire Emblem If comes out in Japan on June 25th, 2015 on the 3DS. It is scheduled for Western release some time in 2016.