How Did Fire Emblem: Three Houses Become an International Hit?

Just how exactly did Fire Emblem: Three Houses do what it has accomplished since its launch? The meteoric rise of the latest title in the long-standing franchise has been the talk of the internet since its July release, and for good reason. But several factors are in play when considering the precise components that have made Three Houses a smash hit.

A Thriving Fanbase Versus Threadbare Marketing

Preceding its release Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a bit of an enigma. The game was not heavily promoted in the west until mere weeks before its release, and the only thing fans had to go on until receiving such sparse information were Japanese ads translated by dedicated members of the community. Surely this is a recipe for a commercial flop, a complete waste of potential, and disappointingly low sales right? Apparently not.

With one part of the deck seemingly stacked against this monolithic game, attention must be turned to the aforementioned dedicated community members. YouTube personalities, translators on Twitter, and many more across the internet are who helped make hype for the title so readily accessible to western players. These individuals, including those who run popular fan site Serenes Forest, helped dial up the anticipation for those who may otherwise not be all too aware of the game’s prominence. This contribution and dedication shows just how big and fervent the Fire Emblem fanbase truly is.

Byleth at the monastery

The Minds Behind The Monastery

But of course, mastery can’t come to fruition without a little teamwork. Intelligent Systems was tasked with bringing the series to a home console; a feat not accomplished in over a decade. With such a monumental challenge ahead of them, the Japanese developer brought in Koei Tecmo to help with the design and execution of Three Houses’ core mechanics. The battle scenes, in particular, were handled by Koei, as they are quite familiar with bringing sprawling combats to life. In an attempt to make the wars being waged feel like actual wars Intelligent Systems implemented the Battalions mechanic. This is the avenue that allowed Koei Tecmo to do what they do best, as they helped take the franchise from one-on-one skirmishes to full-blown warfare.

Between the factors of strong partnerships and a stellar community, Three Houses certainly had a lot going for it, even despite poor marketing. But when it comes down to it, the game only succeeded because of the risks Intelligent Systems was willing to take. The slice of life style gameplay that takes place at the monastery was a leap for the series; and not one every fan was willing to take at first. Yet this is exactly what helps make the game stand out, as building relationships with your students and honing your professorial skills is just as fun as landing crits on hulking beasts and raving bandits. Fire Emblem: Three Houses is not only a smash hit because of the external factors surrounding its release, but because Intelligent Systems knew the precise ingredients needed to craft a uniquely engaging experience.