The Shin Megami Tensei/Fire Emblem crossover game sounds like something out of a dream, but is very much a reality. But it almost ended as a dream.
Originally the concept of Nintendo director Kaori Ando, Genei Ibun Roku #FE the idea of a crossover between Nintendo and Atlus' popular franchises was proposed back in 2009. "Our initial contact with Atlus was back in 2009 when we developed the game Itsumo Purikura ☆ Kuradeko Puremium." Nintendo producer Hitoshi Yamagami said in an interview with Weekly Famitsu. "Afterwards, Ando said 'I want to make a game that mixes Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei,' so I went to Atlus with the proposal."
The proposal presentation apparently did not go as was hoped. Atlus' response was "Let us think about it." which in Japan is generally a nice way of saying "no." Afterwards, Nintendo was told, "We're too busy and can't do it right now."
As those familiar with the Japanese will know, it is exceedingly rare in Japanese business customs for someone to outright say "no" to anything. Most people will give vague excuse-ish reasons that sound doubtful yet optimistic. However, in reality, they might as well be kicking you to the curb and hanging a sign on the door that says "no dogs allowed." Yamagami seemed understandably crestfallen at Atlus' response, yet clung to the hope, however scant, that things might eventually turn around. "I was really bummed about it, but it wasn't as though they had straight out said no, so I told Ando, 'I'm sure we'll cross paths with them again some time.'" Yamagami recalled.
It was over a year later when Yamagami received an email from Atlus' Naoto Hiraoka asking, "Is that talk still open?" Yamagami immediately pounced on the opportunity and the talks resumed.
While it may have seemed that Atlus was just being nice and the crossover was never to be, it turns out that they were extremely enthusiastic about the idea and were literally too busy to invest the manpower for development at the time. "At that time, we were in the middle of making Devil Survivor 2." Atlus producer Shinjiro Takada recalled. Takada himself by his own admission had always perceived Fire Emblem as a rival title that he looked at as a goal. "That Nintendo wanted to collaborate with us with such a big title was a huge honour and I really wanted to do it." Takada said.
Currently, all features of the game have been assembled and implemented. The developers have entered the fine-tuning phase where they tweak and debug the game into a finely-oiled machine. According to the director, the main story will take about 30 hours to finish with nearly the same amount of time in subquests and other features.
Genei Ibun Roku #FE is scheduled for release in Japan on the Wii U this Winter. A Western release is scheduled for next year.
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