In the Fire Emblem series, players have usually taken the role of a mysterious strategist the other characters grow to trust. But Fire Emblem: Three Houses is taking the player's role as confidante further by making them an actual teacher at a fantasy military school. There are now new details about what goes into the day-to-day of being a teacher in a Fire Emblem game.
A new story in the latest issue of Japanese video game magazine Famitsu goes in-depth on the social mechanics in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Thanks to a translation by SerenesForest, we have a better understanding of how social life plays out in the new Fire Emblem. While the core principals of training, leveling, and socializing with your soldiers, who in this case are also your students, remains unchanged the dynamic is different because of the student-teacher aspect of it all.
The social elements play out a lot like the school portions in a modern Persona game, except as the teacher you have different priorities than if you were a student. Events in Three Houses are divided up into school days, with each day giving players several different activities to choose from. There are also special events like birthdays and holidays which presumably have unique story beats.
Players will spend most of their time Tutoring students, which is how students will level up their "professor levels" or weapon proficiency. Players will have an Instructor Gauge which limits how many students you can tutor a week, but the gauge will increase as players themselves level. So the higher the gauge, the more students you can teach, and the more combat abilities you can improve.
Students will have their own "Motivation" gauge which determines how many times they can be tutored. Likewise, the higher the gauge, the more opportunities they'll have to level and grow.
Motivation can be increased by partaking in social interactions with a student. This is where students approach you for life advice, say a male student who's wondering why they're no popular with women, and you can choose an appropriate response. Answer positively, and their motivation will grow while the inverse is also true.
Teaching students properly can let you fine tune how a character's skills and abilities develop. Players can focus on improving their main specialization (swords, axe, magic, etc.) or "awaken" new abilities and skills with repeated tutoring.
Even the Support feature has been given a school life makeover. Instead of just picking two characters and forcing them to hang out, as a teacher you can choose two students to partake in a "group activity." This includes activities like weed picking. If successful, those two characters will deepen their support level and gain stat bonuses.
There are 12 "seasons" in a Fodlian year, and each season is one chapter. Activities and social engagements are limited each day, and days are broken up by class time and free time. At the end of the season there is a "Field Study" which is kind of like a final exam for the chapter.
The school aspect really re-frames the social interactions in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While the goals of leveling your soldiers is the same, it really does take on a Persona feel, especially with the calendar system. The Fire Emblem series has been putting greater emphasis on the social systems in recent games, and this school life element feels like an expansive evolution of the social gameplay.
Fire Emblem: Three Houses is coming out exclusively for the Nintendo Switch on July 26. Check out our Fire Emblem: Three Houses guide for more coverage.