Give us a Tellius remake, Nintendo, and I’ll stop complaining all the time about your stupid business tactics. Yes, I am that easy to please.
There’s heavy, heavy rumors of a new Fire Emblem remake. In fact, data mining has exposed apparent proof of one. Everyone thinks it’s a remake of FE4, Genealogy of the Holy War, and… Uh, they’re probably right. But, if it’s not that, it’s abolutely a Tellius remake.
Since the next game will release in probably 2024 and it’s probably FE4 remake, then we have a long way off until the Tellius remake. Especially when it definitely can’t be a single game; it’s just too big for that. So, it’ll be over 20 years since Path of Radiance first came out, and that means 20 years of really big changes to the franchise, to gaming as a whole.
We’re just coming off Fire Emblem Engage, which is a tour-de-force in quality-of-life improvements and satisfying gameplay. The 3D graphics are actually good for the first time in the entire franchise, and any future games in the series have a LOT to live up to. To really do justice to this amazing duology, a Tellius remake needs to be a lot more than an HD upscaled port. Recent Gamecube-era remasters just aren’t cutting it like this AAA franchise deserves.
So, whatever we are getting is gonna be huge. It’s gonna be epic, and it’s gonna be… Well, what IS it going to be?
That’s where this article comes in. I’m going to run down my thoughts about what a remake could entail. It’s not just one game; honestly it could even be more than two. So it’s the kind of project that might take a long time to ever exist. I’ll talk about the main parts of the series that people love, then talk about a Best Case Scenario, and a Worst Case Scenario version of a Tellius remake. My ideas, my hopes, my fears, and the most realistic scenario for how this will eventually shape up to be.
By the way, Nintendo or any other rights holders, you are completely free to utilize anything mentioned in this article without credit or compensation. Just in case.
The Best Parts of Tellius
Two games. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn. Both of them are beloved classics. Great story, wonderful characters, deep and engaging gameplay. Both sold poorly and are extremely expensive today. But those who DID play them, almost invariably love them.
It takes place in a large, diverse continent of seven nations, at a very unstable peace that is suddenly upended out of nowhere when Daein invades Crimea. The story traverses every location, fleshes out every country across both games, and really does a great job at making you feel like the world is a real, living place, which is a problem most other Fire Emblem games have had.
I also copied some of this map’s style for Hands Held in the Snow‘s continent map, and I’m not ashamed.
The story is a gigantic, years-spanning epic, which is typical Fire Emblem style, but it’s told with such grandeur and ambition that it takes you by surprise. There’s racial tensions and ethnic struggles. Nationalism and extremism. Religious institutions and their role in government. The story’s got revived gods and evil dragons aplenty, so it’s still Fire Emblem. But there’s so much there, and with a cast into the hundreds, it better have all that.
And despite it, somehow, this is the only Fire Emblem game in the entire franchise so far, all fifteen mainline games, where the protagonist is not a noble, royal, or lord, and never becomes one.
It’s just Ike, a mercenary’s son.
Also he’s gay.
Trust me, there’s something intensely refreshing about a fantasy story where the main character is a genuine outsider, with no direct connection to the overall mystery. His family’s sure sus, as the kids say, but Ike himself is genuinely just a dude. A dude who happens to fall headfirst into a brutal invasion of his home country, tasked with protecting Elincia before she gets Anastasia’d (the real one, who got murdered, not the movie one).
Ike is gruff, easily annoyed, too young to be a leader. Not always great with words. Extremely loyal. He has a genuine character arc, and he isn’t remotely an audience insert. Any modern anime would make this dude a shitty isekai hero. Not here.
The Tellius games, and hopefully any Tellius remake, hinge on the epic stakes, the gigantic cast, and the perfectly normal protagonist centering it all. And the gameplay helps deliver on all of that.
The battles are so much bigger than almost any other Fire Emblem game. There’s more units, bigger maps, more powerful characters, more bonus objectives, more complex mechanics. There’s a bunch of generic AI-controlled allies in many f the maps. And in Radiant Dawn, where multiple tiers of height actually factor into the gameplay. Flying units, people shooting arrows down from ledges. Climbing up steps.
You don’t even think about that kind of stuff in a Fire Emblem game as being important. Because these are the only two games that experimented so boldly to make sure this was a CONSOLE Fire Emblem. None of this GBA stuff. We’re in 3D now, baby.
So, you’ve got a giant story, a normal protagonist, and larger-than-life gameplay.
That’s the solid stuff, the stuff a Tellius remake absolutely has to nail.
So how could these remakes go?
Tellius Remake Hopes – Optimistic
For one, they could make the graphics a lot better. And fix the extremely aged cutscenes…
But for real, it’s hard thinking of an optimistic scenario for a remake, because of how unlikely a lot of this will end up sounding.
Fire Emblem is certainly in a “golden age” from an objective standpoint. It’s reached levels of popularity I could never have dreamed of when I was a teen. Each new game is a AAA-level event for Nintendo. But it’s also sort of evolved away from many of the things that made me love it to begin with. And many of those things would make a Tellius remake less than perfect to me.
But let’s ignore all that and try to think of it all anyway.
First off, it’s gotta have top-notch production values. Full voice acting for the entire massive cast. Battle animations that shine as brightly as Engage. Every single character, even the least memorable ones, has unique character models, unique animations, and tons of style.
You know what, let’s not just revamp those old cutscenes. Let’s make a bunch of new ones too. Give us 10 hours of cutscenes like a Xenoblade game. This is Fire Emblem, after all, one of Nintendo’s pillar franchises. Let’s treat it like one.
And for my insane optimistic scenario, this Tellius remake really is just ONE game. Maybe it’s sold at an incredible $100 pricetag with a 128GB cartridge, but it’s gonna be one game here. Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn, together at last like was always intended.
To accomplish that, though, you’ve got to also deal with Radiant Dawn’s biggest, glaring problem–the support system. And its total lack of support conversations.
While I think Fire Emblem supports are something of a flawed system to begin with (and I’ll write more on that later), that probably won’t change here. These two games had excellent “Base Conversations” for the first time, giving us more moments with the side characters together than any game before or since. But Radiant Dawn lacked support conversations, which in all other games is the only way that side character development really occurs. Base conversations were nice, but there weren’t quite enough of them to handle it.
So they’re going to have to make support conversations. Hundreds, and HUNDREDS of them, for all 70+ playable characters. And have them be fully voiced. This thing will have a script longer than some fantasy novels. They’ll have to turn the supports from “C, B, A” to something like “E, D, C, B, A, A+, S” just to cover all the games, and have to write so many alternate scripts to account for reaching support levels at different points in the game.
And I’m all here for it. Give us the excess we deserve.
Also, make Ike x Soren the only canon ending.
While under no circumstance do I want multiverses or generic enemy monsters roaming the lands to slay, I’m aware that there’s a 100% chance there will be some opportunities for grinding and replaying old maps. As long as it’s like Fire Emblem Fates Birthright, and treated like it’s not actually a canon part of the story, that’s fine with me. Same with the time dial thing you can use to reset your turns; DON’T give it any in-story justification and I’m totally fine with it.
What I’d like from these modern Fire Emblem games is more of a sense of a world, which is something the Tellius games do a bit better thanks to their sheer length. And a Tellius remake could do that in the most insane ways by giving us a constantly variable overworld hub.
Fates, Three Houses, and Engage all had hub worlds to visit between chapters and hang out in. The former was a magic zone that didn’t interfere with the plot. But the latter two sort of hurt the storytelling because the plot always had to gravitate to the fact that you’re always returning to the hub between story events.
Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn are incredibly linear stories and don’t have any central location to return to, either. Uh, other than the first few chapters of Path of Radiance but you know how that ends… But they do have one thing that’d work well.
The caravan. The base. The place where base conversations happen.
Every chapter, the characters are moving around to different locations. They set up base there for the time and rest, just like any army would. And that’s where you, as Ike (or Michaiah, or, uh, Nephenee maybe?), get to interact with your characters.
Maybe it can’t happen after every single chapter, depending on the story, but when it does happen, the camp will always be somewhere new, like Engage’s overworld exploration maps. Those were criminally underused for how cool they were, and they felt like a dry run for something more ambitious in the future, for sure. I loved walking around the maps I just beat, except there was nothing to do in them. Make them the hub world to do social stuff with the characters, and bam, it’s suddenly great. The caravan will have tents set up and all the makeshift stuff you’d expect in a ragtag army of mercenaries and child soldiers. Cooking, crafting, weird minigames, conversations between characters for you to listen in on, amiibos, and all that.
It’ll take a ton of extra work, but that will not only appease the fans who love Fire Emblem’s social sim aspects, but go above and beyond in making the gigantic cast of the Radiant Dawn half actually memorable. Even when the cast splits into three different groups, you can still check up on each of them. Then the hub before the final battle lets everyone hang out together, and lets the game go full on Mass Effect 3 Citadel on us.
Also, if you really want to blow this out of the water in ambition, it would be fantastic to add in extra character-focused paralogues and bonus missions, whenever the story allows it of course. Give a bunch of the side characters even more time to shine by giving them all personal missions.
Maybe they take place during the story, with Ike, Oscar, and Boyd helping out Rolfe early on. Or they could be flashbacks, like a level taking place years in the past showing a younger Heather having to stealthily escape with her (one-mission only) thief friends after she successfully seduced and stole priceless gems from a countess. Or they could be the result of support bonds, where you get a two-unit-only tavern brawl paralogue with Marcia and Makalov after they reach A-level support.
This is the kind of stuff that would balloon the game into a $100m megaproduction. Or, honestly, maybe not, because they are taking it all from games that already exist, and the smaller fun stuff isn’t even doing too much new. The map designers sure gonna get paid well though.
My Most Controversial Optimistic Idea
Hear me out on this one.
But I want the game balance to be completely thrown out in favor of building on top of Fire Emblem Engage. That game has the absolute best mechanics in the series, to me, and it doesn’t make sense to revert back to the original games just to be faithful. A Tellius remake can be even BETTER if the gameplay is given the uplift that it deserves.
I’m talking a weapon triangle with breaks and chain attacks. No breakable weapons. Every character having a unique skill.
You can add in all the best stuff from the Tellius games, of course. Rescue, Shove, Disarm, Steal, all that sort of stuff. AI-controlled generic Ally units you can partially control. Terrain elevation, of course. And obviously laguz. But if you balance it all around the Engage battle systems, I think it’d make for an even more excellent adventure.
The Tellius games had their fair share of balance issues, ESPECIALLY Radiant Dawn and its pleathora of basically useless units. Rebalancing everything from the ground up to be more like Engage could really help spurn on making even the most Lyre of units become useful and rewarding to players.
After that, I have an even dumber suggestion: Give us a version of the Emblem Rings from Engage, but with the legendary weapons of Tellius.
…I see you there, typing that comment. Hear me out again!
I’m not saying to add in multiverse fanservice stuff. I’m saying to make the really cool legendary weapons of Tellius actually have awesome cool powers. Like, once a battle, you can activate the special skill of Urvan, and you get an ability for 2-3 turns. It won’t be as game-breaking or flashy as the Emblem Rings, but it’ll give you the same type of strategic depth when choosing who gets to wield which legendary weapon. The Engage mechanic is too cool not to try and use again, in my opinon.
Anyway, after that, that’s about all I have, The story’ll be basically the same, with some obligatory rewrites I guess, and inevitably new side characters added in to enhance the hype factor. More of a role for Anna. I’d like Kita Senri to come back as the main character artist, but they’d probably get someone new for remake reasons, which I’m fine with.
That’s my optimistic idea of a AAA, huge budget Tellius remake.
Tellius Remake Fears – Worst-Case
I can make this part a lot shorter, because I don’t want to think in too much detail about the awful ways this remake could go. When I first thought up this article, Engage was still a ways out, and I was a little bit more cynical. Now, though, I don’t feel quite that way.
- New OC self-insert protagonist: Ike’s got a new best friend, Wyrth, a customizable unique unit who the player controls through the entire game and who has lost their memory. Secretly, they are deeply connected to the Fire Emblem that Mist holds, and… Sigh, you know how it goes.
- It’s Path of Radiance only, and a barebones retelling with not much new added. Sales are promising at first, but fall off really fast, and the Radiant Dawn remake never happens. They add in some DLC of the Dawn Brigade, but it’s only for non-canon bonus missions.
- The Griel Mercenaries becomes the central hub for Wyrth to run around in, and the game becomes completely focused on doing generic mercenary missions to raise money. Very grind-heavy, and it really hurts the story where it keeps having to come up with excuses of why you can return to the mercenary base after every story event.
- Base conversations are removed entirely, in favor of extra one-on-one support conversations.
- Emblem Rings make a comeback… As the normal fanservice type things. And they’re lifted directly from Engage without real changes. Now Mia can have Marth make her unstoppable, and Alear is here to help Lyre. Most of the game’s additions revolve around this.
- Oh no, Ashnard has used his evil powers to make a bunch of formless zombie creatures who now roam around Tellius. Good for grinding!
- Laguz are turned into normal shifter characters who transform for combat, then back afterwards. They are all Tiki now.
- Ally Units are largely removed. What’s the point in them, anyway?
- Wyrth can romance Ike, regardless of gender. In fact, the entire adult cast is bisexual now and can romance Wyrth. That’d never make me angry, nope.
- lol you can recruit Black Knight and Ashnard at the end and they can have support conversations with everyone. They’re totally sorry for what they did.
TIME TRAVEL BABY UNITS
Conclusion, In the End
Other than a self-insert player avatar character… I’m pretty confident that none of the worst-case scenario situations would actually come to pass. I’m very afraid about the avatar, though. They didn’t do it for Echoes, but that one did sell a lot worse than the rest of the post-Awakening games.
Let’s just hope they didn’t learn the wrong lessons.
Moreover, I don’t think most of my optimistic wishes will actually come to pass, either. Differing hub worlds, maybe, but a Tellius remake would definitely be split into two games, to milk that production money. And extra paralogues for a lot of the side characters isn’t likely at all, even if it’s incredibly cool an idea.
I imagine a Tellius remake would be pretty faithful to the originals, with just some quality of life improvements, better balance, an obligatory hub world and asynchronous multiplayer mode, and really snappy battle animations. It’ll be the definitive way to play the two games, but won’t be different enough to change the game for the whole franchise. And that’s totally alright!
But I’ll still dream.