Fire Emblem Fates Has Series' Best US Launch, Despite Fan Campaign

The hunger for Fire Emblem Fates' specific brand of content is strong.

News by Mike Williams, .

Nintendo of America has announced that Fire Emblem Fates is the fastest-selling game in the history of the franchise. The strategy RPG sold 300,000 units during its launch weekend, which is astounding considering it took Fire Emblem: Awakening a month to reach 180,000 across physical and digital sales. According to NoA, Fates sold more than five times what Awakening sold during the same time period, which means even if every fan bought both versions, Fates is still selling ahead of its predecessor.

"Both fans and critics are falling for Fire Emblem Fates, and the early sales numbers prove the game's undeniable appeal," said NoA executive vice president of marketing Scott Moffitt. "This strong momentum for Nintendo 3DS is only the beginning, as many more high-quality exclusive games are set to launch for the hand-held system over the next few months."

Fire Emblem Fates: Birthright was the top selling version of the game, pointing to the strength of the more casual audience for the franchise. Birthright was the version created to be more like Fire Emblem: Awakening, which was many players' first entry into the series. That said, Conquest sales were "close behind", according to Nintendo. Many of those players may have also picked up the other version as DLC for their chosen copy and fans without the Special Edition still have the options to pick up the third path, Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation and the Map Pack 1 DLC.

There's two strong takeaways for the sales success of Fire Emblem Fates. The first is that the 3DS still has a ton of strength at the end of its lifespan. The second is that there's a real desire for the specific content that Fire Emblem provides. Not just the strategy aspect, though Fire Emblem is one of the few Japanese strategy RPG series that's published on a regular basis in the United States. The mixing of a strategy game with light visual novel elements like extensive conversation and romance options seems to be a hit with fans.

It's unique enough that Fire Emblem Fates sold as well as it did despite a fan campaign against the US release due to extensive changes in localization. Those fans have argued against what they saw as a poor translation, changes to certain support scene conversations, and the removal of the Pokemon Amie-style rubbing game. The campaign was dubbed "Torrential Downpour", much like the Operation Rainfall campaign that helped The Last Story and Xenoblade Chronicles finally see a Western release.

Taking only the civil responses and uses of the hashtag #TorrentialDownpour, those fans have done exactly what they should have. If you want your voice heard, not buying the game is only the first step. You must also let the publishers know why you're not buying the game. Everyone's voice is important. I may not agree with the aims of the campaign, but hey, as long as you're civil, you absolutely have a right to air your grievances. The publisher and developer will decide what to do with that feedback, if anything.

Players that would prefer a different translation also have another option available to them. A group of fans have been translating Fire Emblem If, the Japanese version of the game. This group is working on a patch for Fire Emblem Fates that will restore certain missed content and provide a different localization of the game's dialog. You have to buy a copy of Fire Emblem Fates and the patch may bork your copy, but it'll be an option eventually. (There's also another patch that adds more same-sex romance options to the game.)

Fire Emblem Fates is still missing a significant part of the fanbase though, as the European release does not have a launch date yet. Either way, these sales bode well for the future of the series.

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Comments 25

  • Avatar for pdubb #1 pdubb 2 years ago
    Yes, the people love them some anime and some strategy and tactical RPGs.

    Now if only people would go do something with the sci-fi side instead of fantasy only. We could use another front mission.

    Hell, I always thought that a Code:Geass SRPG in the style of a Fire Emblem game could basically be an excuse to print money.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #2 Tetragrammaton 2 years ago
    I have a sneaking suspicion that if we looked at the Torrential Downpour posters' activity logs we'd find most of them playinging Fates. We've all seen the pictures of boycott groups on Steam filled with people playing the game. Those most active in tearing something down are likely to be the ones who think about it the most.
    @pdubb: There was a Japan exclusive DS game. Don't know what it was like, but it had some interesting what ifs.Edited February 2016 by Tetragrammaton
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  • Avatar for Compeau #3 Compeau 2 years ago
    @pdubb CodeName STEAM is kinda sorta Sci-Fi, and there's always X-COM.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #4 nadiaoxford 2 years ago
    @pdubb Though I prefer Fire Emblem, I'd be pretty OK with seeing a new Advance War.
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  • Avatar for Kuni-Nino #5 Kuni-Nino 2 years ago
    @pdubb Gotta pour one out for Front Mission. Christ, THAT was a videogame. How I miss that series.

    Codename STEAM is a fantastic effort but it's not really sci-fi. I would take a sequel to that underrated and under appreciated game too.
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  • Avatar for camchow #6 camchow 2 years ago
    I haven't bought either yet but was planning on getting Birthright mostly because I'll want both eventually and would rather start with the more open ended and easy version.
    @pdubb I would love to see them revisit the Advance Wars series. It's been over 8 years now, don't let that series die Nintendo!
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  • Avatar for Iliya-Moroumetz #7 Iliya-Moroumetz 2 years ago
    Considering the amount of bitching over not being able to spike a girl's drink without her knowing and the removal of what is, basically, a creepy otaku fetish, it's pretty appropriate for their 'campaign'.

    That being said, I'm waiting until the 10th when I can get all three at once.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #8 TernBird 2 years ago
    Considering the whole lot of "nothing" that Torrential Downpour has done or achieved, I imagine it's just a collective of angry nerds whining really, really loudly. That people are being civil, as Mike points out, really surprises me--because there's still a strong undercurrent of Gamergate's ugly claws under the whole thing. (There's a lot of hatred going out to this one woman whom I'm not even sure works with Nintendo Treehouse.)

    But, it still confirms my beliefs: Fire Emblem Awakening's biggest success was appealing to non-traditional gamers (women, mostly) who really took to the shipping aspect behind FE. Nintendo had appealed to "hardcore" gamers with older Fire Emblems; Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn, and Shadow Dragon underplayed the supports and emphasized strategy... but didn't do as well. Awakening and Fates play up the fandom-pleasing elements (shipping, kids, funny dialogue) along with decent strategy elements and more-accessible difficulty options, and they sell gangbusters.

    Who would have thought that aiming at a diverse audience would have led to success?
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  • Avatar for FTLMantis #9 FTLMantis 2 years ago
    I find this fan campaign exceedingly tiring. There's a special irony in the same types of people who think social activists are oversensitive complaining about peripheral story changes in a series that has never been about story in the first place.
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  • Avatar for Roto13 #10 Roto13 2 years ago
    There's this weird backlash against Treehouse lately where people want the most bland direct translations possible and Treehouse doesn't do boring. It's really weird.
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  • Avatar for nadiaoxford #11 nadiaoxford 2 years ago
    I attended a public Fire Emblem event hosted by Nintendo of Canada about a couple of weeks ago. Half the attendees -- maybe more -- were female fans. A huge portion of my women pals are big into FE. So colour me surprised the elimination of the character petting zoo had zero impact on sales.
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  • Avatar for Namevah #12 Namevah 2 years ago
    I've been unfortunate enough to interact with a number of people who despise the changes that Nintendo made to Fates, to the point that I'm pretty sick of hearing about it. So for Fates to have done so well fills me with a perverse glee that I feel only slightly guilty about.

    And then there's the regular glee that comes from being a fan of this series. There's enough Fire Emblem in Fates to keep me happy for quite a while, so yes, bring back Advance Wars.
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  • Avatar for amightysquall958 #13 amightysquall958 2 years ago
    I really chafe at the idea of Torrential Downpour aping the style (and, in their mind, taking up the mantle) of Operation Rainfall. OR was full of positivity and goodwill, while TD just seems bitter and angry, like a mix of GamerGate and the Republican Primary. The latter sullies the former by association.

    Since I am currently on my first Awakening playthrough, I held off at picking it up at launch. I will snag it when I find a deal I like, since I never buy games at full retail price ever.
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  • Avatar for Godots17thCup #14 Godots17thCup 2 years ago
    I'm really glad Conquest is apparently doing almost as well as Birthright. While the latter is definitely a better fit for scrubs like me who suck at SRPGs (and love them anyway), I hope these sales will let Nintendo know that there's still a place for the more merciless, old-school version of the series.
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  • Avatar for TernBird #15 TernBird 2 years ago
    @Godots17thCup That Nintendo has offered Phoenix Mode alongside various "hard modes" gives me some hope; they definitely know that people playing this game have varying degrees of patience and/or skill, and accommodate players accordingly. Masochists probably won't be left out anytime soon.
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  • Avatar for tigh #16 tigh 2 years ago
    Would Nintendo have really taken the message that the boycotters wanted if they had been successful? Or would the series be cancelled for poor sales, as they were planning to do right up until Awakening became a surprise success?
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  • Avatar for link6616 #17 link6616 2 years ago
    @pdubb there are actually code geass srpgs. I gather they were pretty average though.
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  • Avatar for UnknownJones #18 UnknownJones 2 years ago
    I get the distinct impression that the Venn diagram of Torrential Downpour and GamerGaters looks like a single circle.

    Any opportunity to watch GG flail around impotently is a good time in my book.
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  • Avatar for LGscoundrel #19 LGscoundrel 2 years ago
    I haven't played an FE game since the first one localized in 2003. The new ones have changed the art style and tone in a way that no longer appeals to me.

    But if new audiences (read: women) are getting what they want and gamergate apologists are impotently angry, then all is right in the world.
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  • Avatar for victorehunter #20 victorehunter 2 years ago
    @nadiaoxford After you guys left I had a really great chat with the Nintendo of Canada employee who organized the event and the Treehouse member that was demoing the game. Notably, both women. And they were genuinely in love with the whole Fire Emblem franchise.

    The other thing I noticed was that the lines were a lot longer for the Conquest side of things and the Conquest shirts were sold out faster. Makes it really interesting to read that Birthright sold more copies. Not entirely sure what information we should glean from that but I bet it's interesting.
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  • Avatar for JetsDuck #21 JetsDuck 2 years ago
    I hadn't heard that people were boycotting the game for those reasons, but it makes sense if that level of authenticity is really important to you.

    I'm not playing the game, but for me it's due to the pricing structure more than anything. Those paying $80 for the "full story" are encouraging these sorts of practices in the future.
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  • Avatar for NateDizzy #22 NateDizzy 2 years ago
    I'm so glad this old song from Octopimp still has relevance:

    I often wonder what the world would be like if the fools behind Torrential Downpour put half as much energy into fighting REAL injustices, instead creating idiotic petitions against the "censorship" of waifu/husbando petting in a video game.
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  • Avatar for Tetragrammaton #23 Tetragrammaton 2 years ago
    @victorehunter That Fire Emblem players can be divided into those who enjoy the core gameplay and those who play for characters and scenario, and that the first group attends publicity events.

    Proves that IS and Nintendo knocked it out of the park as far as audience identification goes.
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  • Avatar for Murbs #24 Murbs 2 years ago
    genuinely sucks being a 'Eurogamer' sometimes :-(
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