Should Fire Emblem be linear or complex?

I am wondering about how Fire Emblem plays out based on linear storylines or complex storylines. Like Fire Emblem Path of Radiance is considered as a linear storyline with a certain character’s perspective and making it the hero’s story of fighting in a war and winning it in the end. As for the complex storylines, Three Houses has a complex storyline involving multiples lords and their goals and how it depends on who should lead the future of Fodlan.

Am I making it too complex for both newbies and experienced FE players alike or is the information seems vague and cryptic? Don’t know the difference between what a linear or complex FE game suppose to be.

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This is kind of an odd line to draw, given that Three Houses basically has you pick one “linear” storyline that you follow to its conclusion; I guess Radiant Dawn would be a better comparison since that game features actual frequent perspective swaps.


I don’t think Fire Emblem should be one or the other. It should be dependent on the story that they have envisioned and the characters therein. That said, the execution and planning are mostly what’s important, regardless of which direction that they would take it.

If the base concept for the project is weak or they fail to follow through on plot elements, etc. that they set up, then it probably isn’t going to matter whether it’s linear or more involved, though having something more complex and involved does come with the caveat of requiring more time or having scope-creep that dilutes and spreads the efforts too thin (but is probably something that could be counteracted by having a bevy of assets ripe for reuse and other measures to free up time to spend on having more than one path).

(I feel like Sacred Stones is almost the best example of a game that should have been primed perfectly for this scenario and then failed to live up to that possibility - plenty of experience from FE6 and 7, lots of assets already made, ripe for being able to dive into having two branches through the narrative, and then it was short in length, they really didn’t put much into the plot to make it stand out, and their chosen MC vehicles were just kinda bland and boring. The villain is more interesting than the MCs.)

Personally, I would rather they focus on trying out new plot concepts (particularly ones lacking nobility) as the basis for a title and trying their best to make it as tight as they can even if it would be a linear story (though not necessarily needing to be one). If you stick the landing, whether it was linear or more complex really doesn’t matter.


Linear is overall better, I think Three Houses has good aspects to its story and good characters, but overall FE4 and FE9 are better, and I think much of that is due to just having a single focussed story, no cut corners anywhere as a result of multiple routes. And Fates story was garbage as well, some people claim that Birthright wasn’t that bad, but just because Conquest and Rev are offensively bad, doesn’t stop Birthright from being inoffensively bad.

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I think that the more branches you make, the less content game will have.

For example, You have 100 to amount of work resource with.
If you create two branches, the number of chapters you need to create will increase by a factor of two.
Then, the amount of work you can invest in creating one of the branches is halved to 50.
Therefore, if you evaluate only one branch, It will be comparing 50 and 100, and the content will be diluted if you create a branch.

In that sense, unless the branching of the story is the main feature of the game, it might be better to invest all of the 100 resources to create a game without branching, and if it is well received, to create a story from a different perspective in the next game with the same 100 resources.


I’m sure I’'ll run into this problem, personally.

But, Telltale handed branching rather well and typically, branches will merge over time.

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I enjoy linear games way more than complex games, simpler and usually more effort is put into a single thing.

The risk with complex storylines( with multiple point of view, branches, etc.) is that it’s easy to scatter yourself with everything you want to tell. And the more you scatter, the more confuses it will be and you will probably have to make sacrifices to fit everything in the game. It doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to do a complex storyline and that people should always go for a linear storyline, but with the later it’s easier to focus on your story and gameplay, and then flesh out the world where the story is happening.

To take a Fire Emblem game, Radiant Dawn have at least two main storylines (the Dawn Brigade and the Greil mercenaries, and we could also add Elincia’s Knigts). And even though it’s fun in the early game to see what is happening in Daein and then in another part of the Continent, it get problematic in the 3rd act of the game were the Greil Mercenaries take most of the screen time, Elincia’s groups getting incorporated into Ike’s one while the Dawn Brigade only get the crumb. Which is sad, because Daein’s side dilemma are very interesting and they have some nice moments of valor. Here we have a complex storyline badly handled, because the multiple pov end up damaging each other.

On the other hands, to show that complex storyline when well handled can be great, the basic idea of Radiant Dawn is great. During Path of Radiance, we are constantly fighting Daein and seeing them as the evil guys who invaded our homeland, but later in the game things became more nuanced. Radiant Dawn was supposed to go one step further, not only we see the consequences of PoR war from the eyes of the people of Daein, but then after the liberation of the country (focused on Daein pov) we see the next big conflict from both side. It could have been great, if the screen time of both sides were equalized during the war.