Official game art for Nintendo's Fire Emblem Engage featuring characters from the video game

‘Fire Emblem Engage’ Release Date, Trailer, Characters, Romance, Gameplay, and More

I still don’t really know how I feel about Nintendo’s Fire Emblem: Engage. On the one hand, it looks really, really polished and pretty. On the other hand, this shit is high camp in the worst way possible. It’s, like, “anime camp.” The women all look like they’re 12 years old, the plot seems to be both contrived and adhering way too close to the series’ past tropes, and there’s something ridiculous about “Dark Marth” existing at all. Good Guy Blue-Haired Marth (with pronouns) vs. Evil Guy Red-Haired Marth (no pronouns!!!). It’s absurd.

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… That being said, yes of course I’m gonna play it. I probably won’t enjoy it, but like a cat with curiosity, I have been got. I have no idea whether or not Engage will enrich what remaining feline lives I have, but surely it can’t be so bad as to knock one down a peg, right?

If you, too, are curious about Engage‘s whole deal, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything we know about the upcoming Fire Emblem release, and then some.

Fire Emblem: Engage’s release date & trailer

Currently, the game is slated for release on January 23rd, 2023. According to various sources, the game has actually been brewing for some time, even before Three Houses, so this relatively soonish release date isn’t something I feel concerned over. If anything, this seems like a very conscientious move on Intelligent System’s part, both regarding the release date and the narrative of the game itself.

Speaking of narrative:

I mean … *sigh.* It looks interesting, at the very least. I guess I’m just not a big fan of anime-ish designs in general because when I sit back and think about it, they’re my least favorite aspect of all this. The cool thing about past Fire Emblem games is that, while they took inspiration from anime, they mostly adopted individualistic looks. If I look at Lyn from The Blazing Blade, sure, she looks a little anime-y, but she mostly looks like she belongs in a specific universe.

I truly have no idea what’s going on with these clowns, though—mostly, again, the women. But we’ll get to them in a second. For now, I’m just glad that Twitter seems to be on the same page with me:

And hey, I guess there’s a plus to having a simpler plot, too:

Who are the characters in Fire Emblem: Engage?

So I’d like to say I have a full roster here, but good lord, there are a lot of characters to tackle in that trailer. I’ll be sure to update as we get more information, but for now, I’ll stick to who we know about for certain.

New Characters:

  • Alear: the protagonist, a Divine Dragon who’s forgotten all their memories (typical).
  • Vander: a paladin, and the filler of this game’s Fire Emblem Dad shoes. Specifically, he’s a “Dragon Guardian” whose role within Lythos is to protect Alear.
  • Cramme and Framme: younger twin Dragon Guardians under the mentorship of Vander. Cramme is gentle and soft-spoken, while Framme brings the energy between the two of them. They’re both a little enamored with Alear.
  • Alfred: spirited Prince of Firene who visited Alear on several occasions and is elated to join them in their quest.
  • Céline: Princess of Firene and Alfred’s sister. She prefers a pacifist approach to almost all things.
  • Louis: a heavy knight of Firene who is good-natured and observant, despite being a “Brock-type” and always having his eyes closed.
  • Chloé: a pegasus knight sworn to Céline. Chloe is full of whimsy and has a love for the fantastical (and her design actually resembles someone over the age of 18—we got one!).
  • Etie: a fancy palace archer who, despite having a penchant for bodybuilding, looks suspiciously pequeño.
  • Boucheron: an axe fighter who seems as polite and milquetoast as the other knights, but with a man-bosom that puts me to shame.
  • Diamant: the Crown Prince of the neighboring kingdom of Brodia looks suspiciously like Sylvain and therefore has my romance vote.

While we’re still waiting on names and details for several other characters featured in the trailer, some Black fans are particularly excited about these two:

Returning Characters:

  • Marth: the Crown Prince of Altea and the franchise’s woobie.
  • Celica: everyone’s favorite bad bitch from Valentia.
  • Sigurd: the patriarch of the Holy War got a major glow-up.
  • Grima: the Fell Dragon, who some spooky cultists are attempting to resurrect.

There’s a wheel of Emblems that contain other characters from past entries, which fans have identified to be the following:

  • Leif, a Holy War prince.
  • Roy, our Boy.
  • Lyn, a popular Lord who traveled alongside Roy’s father Eliwood.
  • Eirika, the superior twin.
  • Ike, the closest the franchise will ever get to Berserk.
  • Micaiah, one of Ike’s companions and has one of the coolest femme designs in the franchise.
  • Lucina, everyone’s daughter (or wife, if you’re nasty).
  • Corrin, sweet Dragon prince(ss) trapped in Fates.
  • Byleth, who seems to be male in this iteration, which is disappointing to my gay ass but oh, well.

Now that we have all these characters to work with, you might be asking …

Can we romance them???????

The answer is: no idea! And we probably won’t know until closer to release because that’s Nintendo’s way. But romance has been such a popular mechanic in the franchise’s later years, they’d be remiss not to give us at least a lil sum-sum. Many are particularly hoping to see some sweet, sweet action between Alear and Marth. I’d say that’s probably on the latter end of probability, but godspeed you ghost-lovin’ freaks, I hope you get what you want.

So what is the gameplay in Fire Emblem: Engage like?

The most exciting thing about Engage’s gameplay thus far is the fact that we’re returning to the triangle system—yay! Many fans missed this aspect of the franchise, so they’ll be pleased to get some good ol’ fashioned gameplay here.

If you don’t know what that is, the triangle system is just a very simple metric for predicting battle outcomes. It’s like rock-paper-scissors, only stabbier. In essence: Sword beats Axe, Axe beats Lance, Lance beats Sword. That doesn’t mean it works for every fight (some characters are so OP that the system barely even applies to them), but it’s a longtime staple of the series whose return is quite welcome.

The overall gameplay seems to be true to the series with, of course, the added mechanic of equipping an Emblem Ring and subsequently gaining an Emblem Hero’s powers. For instance, equipping Sigurd’s ring will grant you Canto—the power that allows mounted units to move again after attacking. This will apply to characters who aren’t even mounted, which is pretty dope.

For a more in-depth look at the gameplay, as well as some footage of it being implemented in action, I highly recommend watching this video by franchise superfan Faerghast:

Your thoughts?

I gotta admit, thus far I seem to be in the grumpy minority about this game. People appear to be pretty excited about it overall, albeit cautiously. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, and be sure to check back as we continue to update this article over the coming months.

(featured image: Nintendo)

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Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).