Looks like Nintendo is finally catching on to how things work in the age of digital distribution. I'm so proud! Following in the large footsteps of Bethesda, BioWare, and pretty much any development team who puts out an RPG these days, Nintendo is finally following suit by releasing DLC for an RPG. Even more shocking though is that this RPG is not a Pokémon game, but rather it's the latest in their long-running Fire Emblem series.
Remember, these were the games Nintendo withheld from its audience back in the Super Nintendo days. Now, they are using Fire Emblem: Awakening as their launching point into the modern world of DLC packages and expansion maps.
Fire Emblem: Awakening has seen moderate success in Japan, and the added maps contribute a lot to that. What's most interesting is how much they vary from map to map. Some maps are gauntlet runs which up the ante for the already brutal combat the series is known for. Others are goofy character driven scenarios which flesh out the game's large cast in humorous situations like a traditional anime hot-spring episode.
Hopefully, the business model worlds for Nintendo, and they start to embrace the present. The only other DLC packs released by Nintendo so far has been for New Super Mario Bros. 2, so I'm sure that saw quite a few downloads. Perhaps Nintendo is ready to add bonus content to their traditional series, like bonus dungeons for Zelda or additional Pokémon to the Pokémon series.
How should Nintendo use the concept of DLC?
Check out the details for Fire Emblem: Awakening in the press release below. The game will be exclusively released for the Nintendo 3DS on February 4th for $39.99. It will be available both on store shelves and digitally through the Nintendo 3DS' eShop from day one, another bold new step Nintendo is taking. A demo will be available on January 17th.
I've been a huge fan of the series, and I am more than excited to finally buy my Nintendo 3DS on the same day.
Jan. 10, 2013
Downloadable Content Keeps the Epic Adventure of Fire Emblem Awakening Burning Bright
Nintendo has revealed new information about Fire Emblem Awakening, launching exclusively for Nintendo 3DS on Feb. 4. The story of Fire Emblem Awakening begins in the kingdom of Ylisse and centers on Lord Chrom, the brother of Ylisse's Holy Ruler. Chrom leads the Shepherds, a band of soldiers who defend the borders of Ylisse from Plegian bandits. Players create a custom avatar and play as Chrom's right-hand man who is deeply ingrained in the main storyline. In addition to an immersive storyline, Fire Emblem Awakening keeps the adventure going with StreetPass and SpotPass functionality, as well as downloadable content available for purchase. Newly revealed information includes the following:
Downloadable Content: Maps will be available to purchase and download starting on launch day, and others will be distributed regularly. The first downloadable map will be available for free for a limited time only and will serve as an introduction to the steady weekly stream of additional maps. The additional maps will be offered at different price points. Players with a copy of Fire Emblem Awakening and a broadband Internet connection will be able to access the downloadable content through the Outrealm Gate located on the in-game world map, which will be unlocked after the player completes the fifth mission in the main story mode. The content will include additional information about new class types, skills, playable characters, maps with new storylines and special maps that let players earn more experience points, gold or other rare items.
SpotPass: In addition to content that can be purchased from within the game, Nintendo will also distribute new content via SpotPass for free. SpotPass content will be distributed in the launch time frame and will feature new maps with new storylines, characters and items.
StreetPass: Fire Emblem Awakening players can set up a StreetPass Team and exchange certain game data with other players. The StreetPass Team is made up of 10 units from an existing team in story mode. Players can also edit team names and create custom messages for other players to see. StreetPass characters will randomly appear on the world map, giving players the option to recruit the team leader with gold, buy any weapons or items the team is carrying or battle and win to recruit the leader for free. Like the random battles in the main story mode, the player will have full control of battles in StreetPass mode. Players will also earn "renown" based on battles won. A players' "renown" is visible to other players through StreetPass.
Fans can also try out Fire Emblem Awakening prior to launch by downloading the free demo available in the Nintendo eShop. The demo will be available on Jan. 17. When the game launches on Feb. 4, shoppers can purchase the packaged game as usual at retail locations nationwide. Or they can simply purchase and download the game on their own from the Nintendo eShop using a wireless broadband connection. Regardless of their purchasing method, the game sells for a suggested retail price of $39.99. For more information about Fire Emblem Awakening, visit http://fireemblem.nintendo.