Masahiro Sakurai Throws Jabs at Fire Emblem in a Friendly Manner

Masahiro Sakurai: "Fire Emblem: Three Houses is about becoming a teacher and then killing a bunch of people as you live your best school life".

January 16, 2020

During the reveal video of Byleth as the newest character joining Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Game Director Masahiro Sakurai threw a few jabs at the Fire Emblem series. Here are all the funny things Sakurai said about the long-running tactical RPG series, be it making fun of its weird names or how it surprisingly wasn’t Nintendo like and family-friendly at all for its time. Note that these are my own translations of the Japanese version of the video. Needless to say, all of this was in a friendly manner, and you shouldn’t think too deeply about it and just have some fun, as Sakurai did.


Sakurai first mentioned how the title Fire Emblem is written in Japanese (ファイアーエムブレム)/Fa i a emu buremu) in a needlessly complicated way compared to what it sounds like when pronounced, which is pretty weird. Moreover, you need to always be careful and spell it correctly in Japanese “or else the Fire Emblem police will come and get you”.

Sakurai kept going and mentioned how Fire Emblem characters “actually kill people” something surprising for a Nintendo game released in 1990. The characters would die permanently too, thought that was too violent and the first game simply said: “this character stopped breathing” when a character died. I’d personally add that Nintendo has long forgone its family-friendly only aura and we’re in an era where all the strip mahjong games ever get Switch ports.

Sakurai also explained how every Fire Emblem character in Smash having a counter move is to reflect the turn-based battles of the series, with a character attacking first, and the defender counterattacking.

Sakurai also counted all the Fire Emblem games so far including remakes and spinoffs like Tokyo Mirage Session. He mentioned how Fire Emblem being the 17th game will freak out some people, especially non-Japanese people, jokingly referencing only part of the series ever left Japan officially.

Sakurai also explained how he plays games whose characters are included in Smash Ultimate. He played Zelda Breath of the Wild before its release to get a feel of the game before adding its Link. This is also when he realized they wouldn’t be able to add BOTW‘s Zelda as a fighter. He did the same with Fire Emblem Three Houses, but could only get a quick feel of the game seeing it has three different routes and different endings.

Sakurai then introduced Fire Emblem Three Houses itself, and how it’s a game “where you become the teacher of one of three classes, and then you all go kill a bunch of people as you live your best school life”.While he didn’t spoil anything major, he shared more serious details too, and mentioned how everyone ends up fighting each other in a big war after a timeskip, making it quite a sad story.

As he kept introducing Byleth and their moves, Sakurai kept repeating “just play the game” if you have no idea what is happening, be it Byleth’s Final Smash, or their color variations, funnily avoiding spoilers.

Lastly, Sakurai threw jabs at the names of the students of each class when introducing the Garreg Mach stage. He mentioned how Dimitri, Dudu, and Ingrid are spelled differently than what you’d usually expect in Japanese, making them hard to pronounce. He added: “Also, they’re from a Kingdom, and Dimitri is the next king, and he might lose an eye in the process (laughs)”. He mentioned how Edelgard’s name is complicated as well. As for the Golden Deer characters, he mentioned how the fourth FE game, Fire Emblem Genealogy of the Holy War, also included characters named Claude and Hilda. Sakurai jokingly mentioned “Well, the series has been going for decades, we’re at the 17th game, and they need to name over 40 characters or so each time, no wonder this happens. I feel bad for them.”. As for Seteth, Flayn, and Rhea, Sakurai mentioned how “Seteth is a siscon and Reah looks like that person fighting in the game’s opening movie, but Flayn seems to be telling me to shut up so I won’t say anything”.

Byleth will be added to Super Smash Bros. Ultimate via DLC on January 28.

Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been loving anime and Japanese games for over 25 years and plays Genshin Impact for its story and exploration. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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