Last week, as you might recall, I promised to play Fire Emblem: Awakening with permadeath on. I also promised to continue battling no matter what happened: in other words, if any of my party members died in combat, they'd be dead for good.
This was a mistake.
I want to tell you a little bit about the characters that I inadvertently murdered, but first let me confess that I actually let a few people die before making last week's pact. I would restart when my best characters died, but I had no problem moving on without the crappy ones.
Starting last Friday, I stopped restarting. As I Fire Emblemed my way through subway and bus rides, I'd scream at the screen, infuriated when an unlucky critical hit took out one of my best warriors for good. Doubt seized me, begging me to hit restart or run my leader into the middle of the battlefield so I'd get a game over, but I stayed strong. I let people die. I lived with the consequences.
So here's a shoutout to all of the fallen. Some of these people are actually "retired", because the game has to keep them alive for plot purposes, but in my mind, they're all dead. Let their memories never be forgotten.
Died: The Twins' Turf Killed during a side quest. Imagine being the one character who gets killed during a side quest. It's like, you're not even important enough to die in a blaze of glory doing something important. You just died saving some farmers who are probably going to get killed by Risen in six months anyway. Congratulations, Sumia. Your death meant nothing.
Died: Plegia Castle Courtyard Cordelia died doing what she loved: riding a Pegasus to one corner of the battlefield in order to get one of those sparkly things on the ground that could be an item or experience or something, then accidentally moving within range of an enemy archer and getting sniped from the sky like she just got hit by a cruise missile.
Died: The Midmire As a general rule I'm not a big fan of child murder, which is why it pained me to watch the young wizard Ricken die in the middle of the desert, his life cut short before it could even really begin. Ricken will never get to make love. He'll never get to travel the world. He'll never get to go to a Broadway show like he always wanted. His body has probably already turned into sand.
Died: Border Wastes As a Dancer, Olivia had the ability to go up to a character and give him or her the chance to act again. Too bad she couldn't use it on herself. Now she is dead, struck down by an enemy wizard who set her on fire as Frederick watched in horror. R.I.P. Olivia.
Died: Border Pass One day at the office, Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo told me to bring in my 3DS. "Let's test out Street Pass," he said.
In Fire Emblem: Awakening, if you Street Pass with another player, you'll start seeing their army on your world map. You can challenge that army to a battle, and if you win, you can actually recruit the player's main character to join your army. This is very cool — until you challenge your boss to a battle, not realising that his main character is ridiculously overpowered and has a spell that can one-shot anyone in your army. You think about restarting the game, then remember that you made a pact to keep playing no matter what happened.
And that's how the Russian mercenary Gregor, one of my favourite characters, had his life mercilessly extinguished by my boss.
Died: Border Pass A talented assassin and one of my most powerful attackers, Lon'qu was a quiet, reserved man who got nervous around women and was, according to his in-game description, very good at peeling potatoes. Like Gregor, Lon'qu was cut down in the prime of his life, murdered by a cruel man named Stephen Totilo. Miss you, Lon'qu.
Died/Retired: The Searoad [REDACTED], the [REDACTED] of [REDACTED] and [REDACTED], died on a boat. Poor [REDACTED]. He/she had just joined the army and I was really looking forward to pairing [REDACTED] up with [REDACTED]. I had known [REDACTED] for a while, but I never really knew that [REDACTED] was actually [REDACTED] until [REDACTED]. Now it's too late to tell [REDACTED] that [REDACTED]. Oh well.
Note: this section has been edited to remove all spoilers.
Died: Arena Ferox Some dude killed Vaike in my fourth battle. I wish he had died earlier. Just look at this guy. His awful Goku hair. The ridiculous chains around his neck. The fact that he forgot to bring his weapon to a motherfucking war. Fuck Vaike.
Died: Port Ferox Oh, Kellam. Your big gimmick is that nobody notices you because you're generic as hell. So it's only fitting that you were killed during a random battle that I only fought to power up some of my weaker characters. Like you, Kellam. Like you.
"I'm done for," Kellam said as he died. "I wonder if... anyone will notice...I'm gone..."
I'll notice, Kellam. I'll notice.
Random Encounters is a weekly column dedicated to all things JRPG.