Fire Emblem: Awakening is described by its developers as a "culmination" of everything the series has produced in the past, but it was very njearly something totally different.
In the latest Iwata Asks, members of Nintendo's internal Intelligent Systems studio told company president Satoru Iwata that the team had no idea what to do after completing the last entry, Fire Emblem: Shin Monsho no Nazo, which was released in 2010.
As development wound down, Hitoshi Yamagami began making wild proposals, including a game called Fire Emblem 2011.
"We made proposals that were a complete departure from the medieval worldview so far - like Fire Emblem completely in the modern world or the one which has the sense of an fairy tale," he said.
"One idea that came up within the team was, well, it was Mars. Fighting on Mars," Shin Monsho no Nazo director Kouhei Maeda said.
"But they were too far out, so we couldn't get started," Yamagami said. "I was like, 'Is that even Fire Emblem?' In the end, such a drastic break didn't go very well."
Instead, the team decided to make a game which pulled together all the best bits of the expansive but little-localised series to date, and came up with Fire Emblem: Awakening.
The tactical RPG is a 3DS exclusive and is out now in the US - although some retailers are experiencing delays - and arrives in Europe in April. It has attracted critical praise for its colourful cast, challenging gameplay, and option to turn perma-death off if you're some kind of wuss. The full Iwata Asks is well worth a read if you're interested in the series at all.
Thanks, Shack News.