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Fire Emblem Engage Release Date, Trailer, And Gameplay - What We Know So Far

Fans were treated to a Nintendo Direct presentation on September 13 that offered peeks at plenty of new and upcoming games. The announcement included the sequel to "The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild," as well as the long-awaited return of "Pikmin." Viewers also got a look at the next entry in the "Fire Emblem" series: "Fire Emblem Engage."

"Fire Emblem" has been a popular franchise in Japan since the '90s but only made it to the United States in 2003 with the release of "Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade." Since then, the franchise has become a hit, with the latest major installment, "Three Houses," receiving excellent reviews and offering up to hundreds of hours of gameplay.

While fans got another "Fire Emblem" title in 2022 with the release of "Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes," this was more of a spin-off than a true follow-up. While "Three Hopes" received praise from critics, it constituted a crossover with "Dynasty Warriors" style combat. Now, Nintendo has revealed the next mainline game in the series.

Does Fire Emblem Engage have a release date?

Nintendo has already announced a release date for "Fire Emblem Engage." The game will launch on January 20, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch and will include both a regular and a Divine Edition featuring lots of bonus content (such as art cards and an art book). Exclusivity for the Switch will no doubt disappoint some PlayStation and Xbox users, though this isn't at all surprising with Nintendo publishing the game and all other entries having been exclusive to Nintendo systems.

While "Fire Emblem Engage" won't arrive for the holiday season, a late January release date means gamers will have something to look forward to at the start of the new year. With the upcoming "Pikmin 4" and "The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom" also debuting in 2023, it could prove to be a good time for Nintendo fans.

Is there a trailer for Fire Emblem Engage?

An announcement trailer for "Fire Emblem Engage" offering a mix of cutscenes and gameplay debuted during the September Nintendo Direct. The game takes place on a continent called Elyos and the video indicates that players will face the return of a terrifying Fell Dragon that was previously defeated and imprisoned. The voiceover also references heroes (Emblems) who were transported from other worlds to defeat the dragon last time and who look to play a role in the entry's narrative. These hints, along with the description of the trailer, show that some fan favorite figures like Marth (also known for being an overpowered character in "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate") will return to the series in "Engage."

Beyond clues about the plot, the trailer mostly features animations, previews of new and returning characters, and brief glimpses of the "Engage" gameplay. While not offering too much to go on, this is only the announcement trailer. Fans can expect more details closer to launch.

What will the gameplay be like in Fire Emblem Engage?

While the trailer offered only a few shots of gameplay and Nintendo hasn't shared many details yet, there are some things that are apparent about the upcoming game. Based on the footage available, "Fire Emblem Engage" looks to offer the same mix of tactical, turn-based combat and RPG elements that the series is known for. Players will move a squad of characters on a grid and take on enemy forces while also upgrading and equipping their characters as they gain experience and new items. 

Launching an attack on the map will cause the camera to zoom in for a closeup shot of the action with some attack animations to show players just how their commands are playing out. The trailer also shows exploration of the world from a third-person perspective and lots of interaction between characters. According to the official description, players can summon heroes using collectible Emblem Rings. Through a process called "Engaging," the player can merge with these summons to combine appearances and gain access to the heroes' equipment and abilities.

What fans should know about Fire Emblem Engage's weapons

Combat is becoming more challenging and tactical in "Fire Emblem Engage" with the introduction of a new mechanic recently announced by Nintendo. Weapons will be differentiated by type (swords, axes, and lances) and different types will be more or less effective against the others. 

In standard rock-paper-scissors style, swords will beat axes, axes will beat lances, and lances will beat swords. Attacking an enemy with the right weapon will "break" them, meaning they'll be unable to launch a counterattack for the turn. In addition, it's confirmed that Arts will beat bows, knives, and tomes.

This should add another layer of strategy to battle. Players will now need to identify what weapons different enemies are wielding and find a way to ensure they head into battles with the right weapons.

Who will you play as in Fire Emblem Engage?

For the latest game in the series, players will take control of a new character named Alear. Nintendo has revealed that, as with "Fire Emblem: Three Houses" and "Fire Emblem: Three Hopes," it will be possible to select the gender of the protagonist at the beginning of the game, which will impact their appearance and voice. Regardless of gender, Alear will be a hero with red and blue hair, as well as one red and one blue eye. The Nintendo Direct preview shows Alear wielding a longsword and equipping different rings that can call other characters into battle.

In the story, Alear is a warrior who has woken up after mysteriously sleeping for a thousand years. They discover their world is in danger and must team up with old friends and new allies to defeat the Fell Dragon. Not much else is known about Alear at this time, but it won't be long before all is revealed. Fans will only have to wait until January 2023 to find out more about this new character and their connection to the wider world.

The new characters in Fire Emblem Engage: Part 1

In addition to a new protagonist, "Fire Emblem Engage" will be introducing several other new characters as well. Eight new characters have been announced so far. All of these characters have been unveiled by the Japanese "Fire Emblem" Twitter account (helpfully translated by Serenes Forest).

First up is Vander the Paladin. Vander is described as "an experienced, high-ranking knight" and carries an axe into battle. He fights on horseback, which should make him one of the quicker and more agile characters on the field. Fitting with the style of a veteran knight, Vander wears heavy armor and sports white hair and a thick white beard.

Also fighting on horseback, Alfred is a Noble who fights with a lance. In contrast to Vander, Alfred favors a frilly shirt appropriate to a Noble and looks much younger, complete with a clean-shaven face and short blond hair.

Another Noble joining the battle is Céline, who brings some magic into the mix. While she is noted as being able to fight with a sword, the emphasis appears to be on magical attacks like fireballs. Also dressing the part of a Noble, Céline wears a long white dress with gold trim and a crown with a nature theme.

The new characters in Fire Emblem Engage: Part 2

Next up are a pair of characters who, based on their similar names and appearances, are seemingly related. Cramme is a Mage who attacks with ranged magic and can specialize in taking down armored foes, while Framme is a Monk who can both fight up close with martial arts and wield staves to heal her friends. Both sport youthful faces and grayish hair.

Next up are the Lance Armor Louis and the Lance Pegasus Chloé. As their names might suggest, tehy wield lances and wear heavy armor, although Chloé seems to have less coverage for (ahem) aesthetic reasons. Louis also carries a shield for defense, though he is described as being vulnerable to magic. Meanwhile, Chloé rides a pegasus into battle and is resistant to magic.

Finally, Etie is a red-headed Archer who can attack at short range. Lacking armor, she instead wears a green dress and a bow in her hair.

Which Fire Emblem characters will return for Fire Emblem Engage?

Along with all the new characters, some familiar faces will also be returning in "Fire Emblem Engage." These characters are referred to as Emblems and can be summoned into battle by equipping rings associated with them. In addition to calling forth different characters, these rings will also provide other benefits in combat.

The first returning character, who also featured prominently in the trailer, is Marth. Going all the way back to the series' first entry, Marth should be very familiar to fans of "Fire Emblem," while others may recognize him from his numerous appearances in the "Super Smash Bros." series. When players put on the Marth ring to summon him into battle, they'll also become more evasive against enemy attacks.

Next up, players can equip the Celica ring to buff their Magic power and call in the protagonist of "Fire Emblem Gaiden" to aid in battle. Celica appears to attack with ranged magic of her own, even as she increases the power of allies.

Finally, the Sigurd ring will increase the movement distance of the player and even allow them to move after finishing an attack. Also appearing in the trailer, Sigurd is a protagonist in "Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War" and rides in as a mounted knight in this latest title.

What to know about past games in the Fire Emblem series

"Fire Emblem" is a truly impressive franchise, stretching back to 1990 and spanning 20 games. Sadly for completists, not all of them are currently available for Western audiences and modern consoles. Fortunately, it's not really necessary to play any previous games to get into the series with "Fire Emblem Engage." While the new game appears to have an original story that doesn't require having played any of the other games, there are a few that should be easy to grab and that could help prepare players for the new game.

First, players may want to try "Fire Emblem: Three Houses." The only mainline game in the series currently available on the Nintendo Switch, this is a good introduction to the series and provides an idea of what to expect in the next game. Next, players may want to track down a copy of the first game in the series if they can. Originally launched in 1990, it was rereleased for a limited time as "Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light" on the Switch eShop. It was also remade for the DS as "Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon." While it is no longer available on the Switch and may be difficult to find for the DS, this game began the series and introduced the iconic character Marth, who'll be appearing in the latest game.

Don't worry if you can't find any of the old games, however. Going into the series fresh is a perfectly acceptable option here.