So, a bit more about that Fire Emblem-Shin Megami Tensei crossover...
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. The # is pronounced as "sharp."
That's the official name of the much-vaunted crossover RPG bringing together design elements of two long-running Japanese franchises, Intelligent Systems's Fire Emblem series and Atlus's Shin Megami Tensei (best known in the US for their Persona games). Until yesterday, it wasn't a sure thing that it would be headed Stateside, despite the critical and commercial success of other recent entries in those two series -- but according to yesterday's Nintendo Direct, we'll be seeing Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE's dainty mecha-pegasus hooves grace the Wii U this summer.
Maybe by then we'll figure out how to say "Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE" three times fast without stuttering, but for now, let's try to break down what this crossover game is and what it will do.
Persona gameplay with Fire Emblem motifs
The simplest way to describe what we've seen of Tokyo Mirage Sessi -- OK, I'm just calling it Tokyo Mirage from here on out -- is that it will combine the 3D exploratory roleplaying game systems seen in Atlus games like Persona 4 and character and aesthetic elements drawn from Fire Emblem. Unlike Fire Emblem, Tokyo Mirage is set in contemporary, urban Japan, and similar to Square Enix's The World Ends with You, it makes use of real-life fashion capitals Shibuya and Harajuku as the foundation for its environments.
In other words, it's like 90% Persona with a thin peppering of Fire Emblem on top, which is a bit of a bummer. But bear with me here.
Story-wise, Tokyo Mirage is a mishmash of a dozen anime tropes, focusing on a group of pop idol singers who can summon individuals known as Mirages (which resemble Fire Emblem characters but are functionally the same as Personas or the demons of other Shin Megami Tensei games). Outside of gameplay, it appears we can expect to see other little nods to Fire Emblem, but don't expect The Further Adventures of Chrom and Lucina, or anything like that.
...Actually, if you're expecting a single, coherent narrative throughline of any sort, at all, this is probably not the game for you, sorry. I haven't played the Japanese version, but everything I've read makes it sound like typical JRPG gobbledegook. And hey, that's fine! I like rich stories, and I also like games where I can just shut my brain off and admire the pretty characters. Tokyo Mirage seems heavily oriented toward the latter. If it ends up actually telling a recognizable story as well, that'd be a bonus for sure, but it's best not to go in with something like that in mind.
The Old Razzle-Dazzle
This has been called the Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem game, but really, you could call it a three-way crossover with Shin Megami Tensei, Fire Emblem, and Love Live, the wildly popular rhythm game-slash-anime about a set of teenage pop stars. That property isn't in Tokyo Mirage by name, but two of its key people are: Yoshino Nanjo, who plays a main cast member of Love Live and appears as a central character here (and as the vocalist in the song below), and Yoshiaka Fujiwara, who oversaw music for Love Live's anime and serves as the game's main composer.
It's fairly common in the Japanese voice acting industry for voice talents to sing as well as act, and many of them have garnered huge fan followings. We learned today that the North American edition of Tokyo Mirage will retain its Japanese vocal cast, which is economical of course, but also caters to the niche market it already appeals to. In addition to Nanjo (who plays Eli in Love Live), here are some of the other voice actors we can expect to hear when the game releases this summer:
- Kaori Fukuhara (Tsukasa from Lucky Star) as Mamori Minamoto
- Ami Koshimizu (Ryuuko from Kill La Kill) as Maiko Shimazake
- Tomokazu Sugita (Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya) as Chrom (reprising his role from Fire Emblem: Awakening)
...And I could go on. Here's a whole list put together by a fan on one of the major Fire Emblem fan boards. If you're not into Japanese voice actors, rattling off a lot of these names might mean nothing to you, but if you are in that fandom, it's another reason to cheer for an original audio track in the Stateside release of a game.
Is This Game Even Any Good?
Honestly, probably not. It sold pretty poorly when it released in Japan last year. But who cares? Magic pop idols! Chrom is a Persona!
...I am here for this.
Kris Ligman is the News Editor of ZAM. You literally cannot stop them from writing articles like this. Follow their nerd ramblings on Twitter @KrisLigman.