Nintendo showcased the first live demo of Genei Ibun Roku #FE, or Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, confirmed yesterday for launch in 2016, during the Nintendo Treehouse stream at E3 today.
The demo opens in Shibuya, at the famous Shibuya Crossing intersection. The game is set in modern day Tokyo, where the world starts experiencing incursions from another world known as the Idolsphere, and beings known as Mirages begin to invade. It’s a Japanese RPG, but Nintendo Treehouse staff also describe it as a J-Pop RPG, given how heavy a role music plays in the game. In fact, music plays a role in how the game world changes as you progress.
“The way that the city looks changes as you progress through the game depending on what the characters have done,” Atlus producer Shinjiro Takada explained. “For example, if the heroine of the story has made her debut [as an idol], then the poster for her debut single will be up in the city and her song will be playing in the convenience store, things like that.”
Back in the demo, we see the protagonist, a young man named Itsuki Aoi, inside a Shibuya convenience store. The shopkeeper is Anna, a recurring character in the Fire Emblem series. Nintendo Treehouse staff explain that it’s not actually Anna, but homage to the Fire Emblem series.
Fire Emblem characters do appear, however, but they’re a “completely separate experience,” Treehouse explains. We’ll get more into that below.
After leaving the convenience shop, Itsuki goes to meet up with his friend Tsubasa, who has been trying to get him to come see this singer named Kiria for a while. After meeting up with her, an animated concert begins.
“All the songs you hear in the game are being handled, written, and produced by famous Japanese songwriters who are in charge of producing famous and well-known Japanese artists,” Takada said. “So these aren’t the types of songs you see in anime. Also the dances were choreographed by famous dance choreographers. One of the things that we faced that was a bit of a challenge for us was the fact that all of the voice actors and actresses who appear in this game who voice characters who have to sing, those voice actors and actresses have to sing their own songs. We need them to be able to, not only be good actors and actresses, but sing as well.”
Mirages, which we mentioned earlier, are otherworldly beings drawn to people’s creative energy, which is called “Performa” in the game. People who have really strong Performa draw Mirages to them and the Mirages drain that Performa out of them.
After seeing Kiria’s performance, Tsubasa’s Performa is awakened from within her. She is driven to become a pop singer and is looking for Itsuki’s support. Here, you can choose how you respond. Then, Tsubasa’s Performa is awakened, triggering a scene where we see it happen physically, and it’s something only Itsuki, Tsubasa, and another character named Miko who appears can see.
But from here, an invasion on Shibuya begins, and we get a look at our first incursion.
“What we’re seeing here—this game deals with a balance of what’s common everyday, which is what the main characters are dealing with, and what is extraordinary, which is what you’re seeing right here. This game is based around this idea that everyday kids are dealing with incursions from the other world.”
From here, regular people start having their Performas drained and begin slumping, the color sucked out of them. Kiria the pop singer ends up transforming into some sort of warrior to battle a mysterious woman that appears. Tsubasa recognizes her, but the staff isn’t going into more about that.
With Shibuya under incursion and its inhabitants drained of their color, Itsuki enters a newly formed dungeon inside Shibuya’s “106” building. It’s an altered version of what the building would look like when not under incursion, but traces of its fashion basis remain. This dungeon is based on Japan’s 109 building in Shibuya, so the puzzles you’ll see in the dungeon are all based on fashion. Other dungeons are based on other real-world locations and have their own gimmicks.
Very different versions of Fire Emblem‘s Caeda and Chrom appear. They have no memory of who they are and are Mirages that come from the Idolsphere. The main characters are Mirage Masters that dream of becoming entertainers, and fight alongside the Mirages.
“As you guys know, what’s famous about Fire Emblem‘s combat system is the idea of the weapons pyramid and the relationship to weapons,” Takada explained. “And for the games that Atlus makes, generally there’s a focus on finding their weaknesses and taking advantage of them. So we thought during the development cycle that these systems go really well together… So for people who pick up this game and play it, I’d really like it for you guys to look forward to seeing what weaknesses you can find and how taking advantage of them will reward you.”
One of the new attack systems in the game is the “Session Attack.” These are attacks that multiple characters participate in.
Enemies appear on-screen in the dungeon—they’re not random encounters. You initiate battles by running into them. You can also gain an advantage at the start of battle by striking them first.
There’s a lot to take in, so check out the full 40-minute demonstration below.