Hello FEU! Another FEE3 come and gone, and that means it’s time for another FEE3 Viewing Guide!
But before I get to the individual showcases, I’d like to share some thoughts about the event itself! Just some observations from a longtime community member who’s watched every minute of every showcase for several years now. When you watch this much FEE3, you start to notice things.
The Year of Trailers
This one isn’t really a surprise; the community has been quite vocal in their preference for shorter showcases, and for the most part they got them! Personally, I feel somewhat neutral on trailers; there were a lot of great trailers this year, but there were lots of great “traditional” showcases this year as well! What matters most to me when watching a FEE3 showcase is detail; I want to know what makes your project unique; be that story, mechanics, design, or presentation! There were lots of great showcases this year, but while I wouldn’t say there were any outright bad showcases, there were some where I had to dig deeper and check out either the project’s thread or even ask around in the community for more details on a project to really get a sense of what makes the project special. Not meant to be a criticism or roast, just something to think about.
We had a ton of traditional showcases this year hosted either entirely by the project creator, or sometimes in tandem with a let’s player actually controlling the game and asking the questions. Personally, I really dig these every time we get them; it’s a great way to spice up a longer traditional showcase, since you aren’t just getting 30-50 min of gameplay, but also 30-50 min of the developer discussing their work! Even better when they have someone for their commentary to bounce off of! There were still some traditional showcases this year without developer commentary, many of which I quite enjoyed, but I think for people insecure that people won’t want to watch a longer showcase, developer commentary may just be a special ingredient to improve their showcases.
Bless lowres (Or, the LTC Showcase Meta )
Another great approach to a more traditional showcase we saw this year was to have someone (lowres) LTC (or Low Turn Count) a chosen chapter from the developer’s project. And I’m gonna be honest; it was awesome literally every time! What both surprised and impressed me was that these showcases weren’t that much shorter than a classical let’s play showcase. However, lowres did a great job giving the story and presentation room to breath, something I don’t think I had every really seen in a vanilla LTC before, and they spent often just as much time discussing strategy, the design of the map, and the available units, as they did actually playing the maps! It was very refreshing, and fantastic for showcasing what makes those projects special; I wouldn’t want literally every showcase to be an LTC, but I do hope we see more LTC showcases in the future (from lowres or otherwise, and once again, great stuff lowres!)
So Many Roguelikes!
We’re spoiled for choice in roguelikes, with both FE or FE adjacent experiences; two hackroms, an LT project, and even a FE inspired original game! I don’t have too much to say here, other than it’s cool that we have so many roguelikes, and that all of them seem suitably distinct from one another; I recommend that rougelike enjoyers try out each of them in turn until they find whichever one or two most suit their genre preferences!
Telephone and Community Projects are Alive and Well!
I’m glad to see the flames of cooperation are still burning bright; we have two healthy and impressive telephone projects in An Unexpected Caller and Lineages Tied: Daughters Of Braghedunn (Formerly Lex Telephonis), a sequel to the original telephone hack in Tales of Kotor, and while it’s not a telephone or traditional community hack (such as a blitz), Embrace of the Fog makes fantastic use of community sourced submissions and content!
Lex Talionis is Coming Into It’s Own!
While years past have had several excellent LT projects (including the wonderful Absolution by Zess Dynamite, which I’m sad to see had to miss this year’s event ), this year felt like (to me) the first major wave of high profile LT projects; projects both up and coming and nearing completion that stand alongside the most impressive, more classical hackroms, often with features that cannot be or would be difficult to replicate with the existing FEBuilder or a Buildfile. I don’t have much to say about this, other than I think it’s rad, exciting, and I hope to see the trend continue!
Tons of Vanilla Fire Emblem (But not in the way you might expect!)
There were tons of projects this year that leveraged vanilla (official) Fire Emblem characters and/or settings in creative ways, ranging from fan sequels and anthologies, full on remakes, and a few crossover projects for good measure! Normally I’m more interested in fully original custom content, but honestly, I was continually impressed with how the community leveraged well known and often beloved settings, characters, and in some cases even maps to create exciting, lovingly detailed, and intriguing new experiences!
Tons of Vanilla-Like Fire Emblem
There were also tons of project this year that I would personally categorize as “Vanilla+”; projects with original settings, characters, and content, but that try to ground themselves more in vanilla’s sensibilities and feel (without falling into vanilla’s failings and pitfalls ). While there are tons of incredible and interesting tech and resources that can be used in projects these days, and there are plenty of projects I love that divorce themselves moreso from vanilla, it’s awesome to see so many projects attempt to do more with less, and leverage the more simple and fundamental mechanics and principles of vanilla FE. As what can be done with FE8, LT, Tactile, and all other engines grows, I hope we continue to see a wide variety of quality projects develop!
High Quality, High Effort, Big Comedy
People who know me know I generally prefer more serious projects. And this year there were several showcases that were basically shitposts (I’m not going to pretend there was anything wrong with that; I enjoyed them, they each got a laugh out of me, and I’m happy they were included). But there were also several fully featured, high effort, zany, farcical, or otherwise comedic projects that seriously impressed me. Similarly to what I discussed above in regards to Vanilla+ style experiences, while I think that I will always prefer more grounded and serious projects, I’m very happy to see such care and effort placed into zany crossovers and farcical comedies, and I think this community is a better place with room for projects like these in them!
We’re Entering a New Era (Probably)
This year marks an interesting point for the FEU community, both for project developers and the hackrom/fangame audience. Many of the most beloved and/or well known projects from the past few years have been completed and released, while there were tons of promising new projects debuting for the first time this year! There are of course several returning, highly acclaimed, in development projects, as well as some unfortunate absences that I hope we will see return next year . However, I suspect that we as a community do not and cannot even know how impactful and/or excellent some of this year’s newcomers will be in the time to come; which projects will we look back on in 2, 3, or more years from now, able to reflect on how much they’ve grown and developed, all starting here with a single showcase? I for one am eager to find out .