Summer: Welcome to the Fire Emblem: Three Houses Chat
since you played it first, why don’t you talk a little bit about how and why you got into fe3h
So my brother has been into the Fire Emblem franchise for a while. we have the GBA one that was, I think? the first one available in the US
he hadn’t played any of the more recent ones, but after the nintendo direct with the three houses trailer we both thought it looked really really good. he got it right around when it came out but i was AFRAID because i had attempted to play the old old GBA one when i was a child, as well as some other jrpgs like golden sun, and i was bad at them.
because i was a child. like 6
but he said it was really fun and there was a lot of room for a beginner, he hadn’t bought me a birthday or graduation present lol and venmod me money for the game and the DLC. and then i played every day for 7 hours for like two weeks and here we are over a year later!
Jillian: and then you talked about it so much that i also bought it, basically
Summer: literally yes. i remember we were doing a video call and our other friends ghosted and i just talked about fire emblem for 40 minutes
Jillian: i was on the fence about it for a while because i had only ever played one jrpg before (which i won’t name) and i didn’t……love it? so i thought maybe i just wasn’t into that kind of game
Summer: same! i remember you talking about that game and was also like yeah i didn’t want to get it For That Reason
Jillian: and i was really worried that even though you loved this game so much i just wouldn’t, and i didn’t want to buy something and try it and not like it, especially after you talked it up so much
it also wasn’t just you—it kind of felt like everybody i knew was playing it for a while
so i was curious
and i wanted to know what the hype was about
and i was getting really antsy waiting for animal crossing to come out
Summer: oh my god you DID buy it like…beginning of march i remember this
Jillian: basically about a week or two before the new animal crossing game came out, i decided i needed a new game to distract me from the waiting, and i impulse-bought fire emblem three houses and that was that
i loved it pretty much right away, because you were right and it’s great
Summer: IT’S GREAT!!!
I’ve been trying to think about like…what’s so great about it?
Jillian: hold on i want to look at your original recommendation
Summer: yes! please
Jillian: “I described this game to my brother as an anime where the commercial breaks are chess, and honestly? It’s the best.”
this is so true and good lol
some of my favorite descriptions of fe3h, which i mentioned in my follow-up letter about it, are “horny magic war school” and “anime chess”
oh my god. yes that’s it
Jillian: but you also mention that the gameplay is very streamlined to your tastes, which i think is important!
Summer: our friend leyla’s discord has a channel for it, called “war crime dating sim” lmao which is so good
Jillian: my favorite discord channel tbh
Summer: SAME i lurk it makes me so happy
but yeah! i think what i’m realizing more and more is that it’s really important to me for games to be like….attempting to please different types of players
and by that i mean, not cynical towards people who don’t necessary like hard games?
Jillian: i do think that’s a lot of why fe3h was so successful
Summer: my boyfriend plays all video games on easy mode and loves when there are things like “story-mode” where you can just play through plot, but i noticed the way some of those games label their modes are really mean!!!
Jillian: i also love playing on easy mode
games with story mode are very important to me
Summer: yes!!! i think that’s why hades, similarly, is really popular right now
games with a really rich story but incredible replay value either because of small details OR ability to change up gameplay
i’m re-playing golden deer right now, and even though i know that story so intimately i’m playing on hard mode and it’s been really fun to seriously focus on battle mechanisms
Jillian: i have not played hades mostly because…again…it doesn’t really seem like my “type” of game and it looks kind of hard?
but saying that here sounds so silly
because that’s how i felt about fire emblem and now look at me
i love it so much
Summer: yes!!!! ok hades is really hard in the beginning but it gets easier as you play more. we can talk offline but yeah
and like not easier because you get better skill-wise but literally the game makes you stronger when you die lol!
Jillian: oh that brings me to another thing that i love about it which is: it’s very replayable! and in fact you should replay it! multiple times!
Summer: CRAZY that the devs didn’t plan for that!
Jillian: wait they didn’t PLAN that?
Summer: they really thought people would just play one route of their $60 game and put it down!
did they say this somewhere
Summer: NO LOL! the repetitiveness of the routes makes more sense, but they really didn’t think people would be out here playing church route AND golden deer
yeah, i can find the interview!
Jillian: oh wow please do
i’m sure there are plenty of people who only play it once but i just can’t imagine doing it that way
i finished golden deer and immediately started blue lions
and now i’m taking a short break, but i’m really excited to get back into it and play black eagles next
Summer: “We had thought that everybody would play around with one of the routes and then enjoy asking each other about their respective routes. It was surprising, though; more people ended up playing all of the routes than we had originally expected.” (source)
Jillian: that’s so funny
Jillian: i love the way each of the routes has its own unique story
and how seeing the story again after you’ve already played it once can change the way you view it
Summer: so my brother started with blue lions, and i started with golden deer. he also watched a playthrough of black eagles—we had all pieces of the story, theoretically, but still played all of them after anyway
Jillian: you’ve said before that you don’t think it makes sense, in retrospect, to start with blue lions
Summer: exactly! i tell people to not start with blue lions because my brother was like “i have no idea what’s going on” and felt like he NEEDED to supplement his story with the others—i did blue lions third and i think it made it so much better
Jillian: i did golden deer first, which you told me to do, and i’m glad i did
i think it’s probably the best route to start with
Summer: yes!!!! claude is the best, but it’s just. the best story! it’s the most holistic
Jillian: BUT i have a friend who did black eagles first and i think it’s really really interesting to see how that colors her view of the other two routes after
yeah golden deer gives you a really good look at everything that’s happening overall
and blue lions is a little more contained to what’s happening specifically in The Kingdom, lol
which is also very fine and interesting, but i can see how that would be confusing for a first playthrough
i know blue lions is sort of the more ~traditional~ fire emblem storyline
Jillian: i haven’t played black eagles yet so i can’t get into specifics on those, but i’ll just say i’m glad i didn’t start with it
i’m very excited to learn more about all of those characters now tho!
Summer: i would have hated starting with black eagles, I would have hated not knowing what i had to do in order to be on edelgard’s side
not that i wouldn’t talk to my lord every month anyway but imagine not getting the option to side with her!
Jillian: if the black eagles route automatically had you side with the church i would hate it
people were really upset about not knowing some small things that happened in routes like that
like if you’re playing on classic, in blue lions, if you don’t save enough duscur soldiers in dedue’s paralogue he doesn’t come back after timeskip
Jillian: there are some plot details that are not just route-specific but that are tied to completing certain extra battles and it’s like…why
why would you hide that in there
it feels too important
Summer: right! especially if you didn’t think people wouldn’t dig SO DEEP
Jillian: but that’s also coming from someone who is kind of all about the plot and lore and everything, and i suppose there are people playing it who maybe could live without knowing all of that
Summer: i need to know it all!!!!
i read all of the endings for everyone before finishing black eagles and blue lions because i NEEDED it
Jillian: i’m someone who buys the DLC to unlock a new area of the map and goes and reads all the books in the library in that new area so i can get extra lore
Summer: yes! and patiently awaits the fanfiction that will be written based off of it!
Jillian: oh i love reading all the endings
i also really love this datamine site that just has literally all the dialogue for every character
Summer: fe3h is one of the richest games i’ve ever played and i just love it so much
i dont even care that the animation is a joke
Jillian: the silly animation is endearing to me
Summer: ME TOO i love it like why are they so awkward
i love the way ferdinand’s hair floats when you change him int oa different outfit post-time skip because they didn’t account for the space between his hair and his default collar
ok i want to ask you a hard question: who is your favorite character in the game
Jillian: i think i know my answer but it’s really close
Summer: this is hard because i have a lot of little allegiances. claude is my instinct, he was my first favorite and i think he’s like…the best character in the game—super interesting, SUCH A GOOD UNIT (objectively has the best lord class), and is middle eastern-coded lol which i never really had in a game before! (besides the gerudo)
but i also love my stupid angry sword boy felix
Jillian: i love claude and felix so much
Summer: and then there’s dedue
Jillian: dedue is GREAT
very very good and important character imo
Summer: who is a fine unit and has a lot of weird stuff tinging his story but as a concept he’s just my favorite. i like….relate to him so much LMAO it’s such a bummer with the way they fail him
Summer: but i’ll never forget literally sobbing at his and ashe’s A support where they talk about keeping the memory of a place and people alive through cooking? like? ok thanks
Jillian: i think i cried at all of ashe’s supports
Summer: why is ashe like that….he’s just so soft…
Jillian: he’s such a sweet good boy
and he loves everyone he meets
ok so claude and felix are both up there for me for sure
and dimitri honestly
but the character i can never stop thinking about is sylvain lol
Summer: LMAO GOD
Jillian: he’s just……….he’s sylvain
i love him
Summer: he’s just so sad????? and horny??????? what a combo
Jillian: i feel like they didn’t expect anybody to really like sylvain this much but here i am
he’s objectively horrible to women and yet i would die for him
he’s so well written
why did they do it so good
i’ve never seen a misogynistic character and been like….ok i get it though
Jillian: on one hand YES i agree because he’s very complex
on the other hand sometimes i feel like they gave up a little bit
Summer: ooo say more
Jillian: ok so two things come to mind
first: his paired ending with felix in routes that aren’t blue lions, where felix runs off alone and sylvain just stays with house gautier by himself and that’s it. doesn’t make any sense to me at all.
he says in one of his supports somewhere that he would have run away from home when he was a kid if he could have! he was abused by his family! explain to me why he would choose to stay there when he could run off with felix!!!!
Summer: oh absolutely. that always drove me nuts
like first of all it’s so sad lol why
no one else has such a tragic paired ending
like dimitri dies in all of his paired endings and that’s sadder than all of them
Jillian: oh we can absolutely get into sylvix in a second
but second: i wish i had a really concrete example of this but post-timeskip especially anytime he’s in a cutscene with blue lions or you talk to him around the monastery, the funny little “haha i flirt with women and don’t have any real thoughts” quips from him get old really fast
because we know that he’s actually a smart and good person
and it would be really nice to uhhhhh get to see that more outside of random supports
Summer: ok so that’s super interesting because the disconnect between gareg mach dialogue and supports / etc is also there with a character like leonie
who is….exclusively nice to you during the activity point days
but in supports is just. a bitch. so mean? so mean!
Jillian: i’m kind of torn about it because on one hand it makes sense that you would only really get to know who a character is through their supports
because if you really care about the plot and the characters, of course you’re going to watch the supports
but it would be nice to see that reflected a little bit in the monastery dialogue etc.
Summer: yeah absolutely
there are so many small things and details that are nearly invisible, it would have been cool to have some that….weren’t?
one detail i love is the way dining hall conversations change btwn character based off of their support level
Jillian: oh!!!! yes!!!!
Summer: but then there are supports where like….if ingrid is dead when this conversation happens, joe brojie reads it a little differently
and it’s like hHOW WOULD ANYONE KNOW
Jillian: and the way certain pairings have special dialogue during meals or some tasks
(but also some pairings…don’t and it doesn’t make sense to me)
Summer: crazy that sylvain and felix don’t have dining hall dialogue
Jillian: i would pay so much money for a DLC that just adds dialogue
Summer: not to make everything about sylvix
oh my god me TOO
Jillian: not to make everything about sylvix but they have one of the best support chains and endings of any pairing in the game so idk
Summer: MORE SUPPORTS….MORE DINING HALL…more anything i’ll give em another $25 for a sylvix dining hall
Summer: my dream DLC pack includes an everyone lives route, sylvix dining hall convo, more queer S supports, and a sylvain/bernie ending where they open a bookshop
Jillian: oh yes
how does that ending not already exist
they have such funny supports
Summer: i love it SO much it’s so silly
Jillian: oh right it’s because sylvain only has like 5 possible paired endings and one of them is with felix, right right right
Summer: cool cool cool cool
Jillian: meanwhile everyone else can basically end up with whoever
Summer: felix has like 20 endings do you ever think about that
this prickly angry little man
Jillian: he’s soft really
Summer: i love him
Jillian: he’s a pisces
ok i don’t even know i have an answer to this but i’m curious: what’s your favorite……part…..of the game
could be an actual battle or plot point, could be just like….fishing or something
i love maps that give you 12 people
that’s so specific but so true
let me use everyone
Summer: i love the quest where you have to keep finding items and trading them and ultimately decide if you want catherine or shamir to like you more
Jillian: lkhsdklgfhsdglksjdf YEAH
i think in blue lions i picked catherine bc i needed the support points
Summer: i LOVE TALKING TO BERNIE!!!!!!!!
through the door!!!!! the one time she lets you in her room!!!!!! the one time she’s out and about because she wants to give you her condolences!!!!
Jillian: she’s so cute
Summer: oh i love the absolute thrill of claude dancing with you at the ball
and realize it’s not route dependent
Jillian: ohhh yes
when i did that in blue lions i screamed
i didn’t realize
Summer: it’s so good!
i love the cut scenes
god i love this game
wait do you have any favorite moments
Jillian: i really love teaching! and deciding what classes i want everyone to be!
Jillian: for my second run i made a whole elaborate kanban board to plan out everyone’s classes and it was so fun
and also very very helpful
i also love everyone’s silly crit lines
Summer: they are ridiculous god
I love the stupid athletic wear dlc outfits
I love FEEDING CATS
Jillian: FEEDING CATS
i love dimitri’s new game+ hair
it’s very important to me
oh i love gardening
and the way you just never run out of seeds
wow i really want to play again right now
maybe i’ll start black eagles soon
Summer: Its very good! Shorter than the others
i do think edelgard was failed in some ways
Jillian: i have a lot of feelings about the church in fe3h that we honestly just don’t have time to get into
the tl;dr is i hate the church and i hate rhea, and i like that they show you a lot of skepticism about the church from certain players, and i think it’s kind of cool ultimately how there really is no perfect happy ending in any of the routes
Summer: definitely. war and ideology: messy! no one is perfect
it’s sad like that
Jillian: it’s like hey surprise you are still playing a game that’s ultimately about monarchy
Summer: basically everyone wants the same things? yeah
Jillian: they just want to protect their people really
and do the right thing, whatever that means to them
Summer: yeah! in that same interview i linked earlier, one of the reasons they didnt do like…an everyone lives route is because they didn’t want to imply there was a Correct route – every lord has their own idea of right.
Jillian: ohhhh that’s so smart
i love that
i can’t wait to read that interview
Summer: golden deer is so satisfying because it like…you address a Big problem, which is an organization that actively harms people because of crests, and take it down
Jillian: i wish that had been in blue lions too???????
Summer: the way that doesn’t happen in other routes, really – makes them feel unfinished, and like the goals can never be achieved of abolishing crest system
Jillian: like why not???
especially when you have sylvain!
Summer: one of the reasons i really love dimitri/dedue’s ending is because it feels like there’s a stronger commitment to change there
bc i think it mentions reparations for duscur
but otherwise: yes dimitri is a “good” person but it’s not in his interest to abolish the crest system
him just becoming king of FODLAN it’s like. OK AND????
Jillian: in a perfect world everyone would live and the three lords would each be in charge of making their territory better and the church would lose its power and everyone would love duscur and the crest system would be abolished! easy!
sometimes i think about the way the aim of each route is to UNITE THE CONTINENT
and how we live in the US which is too big
Jillian: each route is like a triangle with potentially good endings where you only get to pick two
Summer: and i’m like bro that’s not the goal…..a bunch of self-sufficient communities and open borders is the way to go…
Summer: yes, exactly. like i’m not looking to fe3h for radical politics or anything lol
so it’s really interesting to see the way people have kind of discussed the political reality of the game as if there’s an actual….Goodness in any of them
Jillian: sometimes i get way too deep into and i have to be like ok relax it’s a video game it’s fictional we all know this isn’t a utopian society
turns out you are allowed to enjoy a game with an interesting story and some fun battles without moralizing it
Summer: yeah!!! and it’s a video game based off of like. the era of conquest lmfao like come on guys!
Jillian: anyway, everyone should play fe3h
i love it
you love it
Summer: it’s the best!
ok do u have any last thoughts
Jillian: i will always have lots of thoughts about fe3h, probably forever
Summer: ok same
Jillian: please play it and let it take over your mind
that’s all! lol