We wondered if it'd ever happen, and here we are: Nintendo has gone full-on free-to-play with its upcoming turn-based strategy game for mobile, Fire Emblem Heroes.
Though it plays similarly to other games in the Fire Emblem series, Heroes' structure resembles Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius, another free-to-play mobile RPG. Players can summon Fire Emblem heroes from games past into their army by using Orbs. Orbs can be found in-game, and they can also be bought through an in-app purchase.
As is typical of a Gashapon-style game, the friends you summon in Fire Emblem Heroes come with star rankings. The more stars a character has, the more powerful they are. Don't fret if you wind up with a two-star Chrom, though: You can increase a character's star ranking through battle and with in-game items.
The Fire Emblem series' "weapon triangle" doesn't appear in Heroes, since characters are seemingly equipped according to their star ranking. Instead, each fighter is assigned a color that marks their strengths and weaknesses. Red characters are strong against green characters and weak against blue characters. Greens are strong against blues and weak to reds.
Fire Emblem Heroes features cute chibi-style graphics, and its eight-by-six battle grid (which you can drag characters around, or just tap where you'd like them to go) is a good fit for smartphones. There's all new artwork for the returning characters (go Gaius) and re-recorded voicework.
Look for Fire Emblem Heroes on Android on February 2. An iOS release date has yet to be announced.
If free-to-play Fire Emblem isn't your bag, don't worry: There are several full-bodied titles headed to Nintendo Switch and 3DS, including Fire Emblem Echoes and a Fire Emblem for Switch as well as Fire Emblem Warriors, an action-heavy musou game in the vein of Hyrule Warriors. You should be able to find a Fire Emblem game that's right for you.