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Fire Emblem: Awakening creators scrapped concepts set in modern day and on Mars

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The creators behind Nintendo 3DS strategy role-playing game Fire Emblem: Awakening say they wanted to make a Fire Emblem that was unlike any other, the game's project manager says, even considering at one point to drop the medieval fantasy theme for something set in the modern day.

Even bolder, Awakening's creators flirted with the idea of setting the game on Mars.

While those ideas appear to have been scrapped early on, according to a new "Iwata Asks" interview, Masahiro Higuchi from Intelligent Systems says, "This time, we wanted to make a different Fire Emblem game than ever before, especially through new visuals, so we made a point of bringing in [art director Toshiyuki] Kusakihara-san, who had never been involved with Fire Emblem before."

"We made proposals that were a complete departure from the medieval worldview so far," Higuchi says, "like Fire Emblem completely in the modern world or the one which has the sense of an fairy tale. But they were too far out, so we couldn't get started."

Producer Hitoshi Yamagami tells Nintendo president Satoru Iwata the ideas for "such a drastic break didn't go very well."

Instead, developer Intelligent Systems chose to focus on bond-building between fighters, integrating a marriage system and adding cooperative two-on-one duels to Fire Emblem's turn-based strategy gameplay. The final product has been well received.

Fire Emblem: Awakening will be released on 3DS in North America on Feb. 4.

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