In an interview published in the most recent issue of Famitsu magazine, two of the directors for Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Genki Yokota and Toshiyuki Kusakihara, sat down to talk about the game's development in great detail. While they discussed a variety of topics ranging from the game's upcoming expansion pass to the roots of the Fire Emblem series, perhaps the most intriguing piece of information to come from this talk is the fact that Fire Emblem: Three Houses was developed almost entirely by a team at Koei Tecmo.
Previously, Fire Emblem games have been handled internally by a team at Intelligent Systems, the company which is synonymous with the series, but it seems that with Three Houses, there were some concerns about their ability to deliver a game with this scope and magnitude in a reasonable time.
Speaking about how the team approached issues with development, Yokota said, "We decided that we wanted to release a Fire Emblem game on Nintendo Switch by the end of 2019 at the latest. However, it was looking like regular development was going to take some extra time, so we looked into getting another developer in the mix in order to shorten the length of production. At pretty much that exact same time, Koei Tecmo was making Fire Emblem Warriors for us, and as a result of consulting with Mr. Hayashi, head of Koei Tecmo's Team Ninja, we ended up asking the Kou Shibusawa team to help out. That's how things went."
As noted, the connection between Intelligent Systems and Koei Tecmo was rooted in the development of Fire Emblem Warriors, though aside from the three scenario writers, Yuki Ikeno, Ryohei Hayashi, and Mari Okamoto, who had worked on the Warriors spin-off, the majority of the team were instead members of Kou Shibusawa's development team. Fans of Shibusawa's work will be well aware of the SRPG pedigree which his team brings to the table, having worked on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series, among others. Regarding their expertise in the genre, Kusakihara said, "They're the best of the best. We knew it'd be great if we could get them on board, so we started hashing plans out again. It was only after we decided to work with the Kou Shibusawa team that we considered their sense of world-building with three balanced kingdoms."
Providing Koei Tecmo with only a small team of designers, a composer, and an adviser to the programmers, along with Kusakihara himself, of course, Koei Tecmo was charged almost entirely with the development of the game without much input from Intelligent Systems.
It's remarkable that one of the highest-reviewed entries in the Fire Emblem series, hailed by many as the best title since Path of Radiance, was developed almost entirely by an external team at Koei Tecmo. For more on the game's development, be sure to check out the full interview with Yokota and Kusakihara.
You can learn more about life at Garreg Mach Monastery's Officers Academy, straight from Nintendo, in the trailer below.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is available now exclusively on Nintendo Switch. Stay tuned for our upcoming review, and to see the game in action, be sure to check out our Twitch channel where our very own Katherine Kortvely will be streaming the game on Mondays and Thursdays from 4 pm PDT.