Siliconera’s been doing a series on Fire Emblem: Awakening recently, and today they shared some of the intricacies of the marriage system. This marks the first time we’ll have such a system in a localized Fire Emblem game, but it isn’t actually the first game in the series to use it. However, they haven’t used it since the SNES days, so it’s nice to see it come back.
A marriage system was something introduced in Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu (or, in English, Genealogy of the Holy War) that set it apart from other installments in the series. Unlike its predecessors, Seisen no Keifu was split into two halves. In the first half, you could build support units between your characters to help them fight better together—a standard mechanic in the series. Depending on which characters you had bond, their endgame stories changed; different characters would get married, stay friends, or not be dead. Also standard. However, in the second act, you played as the children of the couples that got married in the first act. It brought an interesting level of depth to the game, as you’d be trying to keep certain units together to make sure you got the team you wanted for the second portion of the game. The system in Awakening bears a few similarities to Seisen no Keifu’s system, but differs greatly in several key areas.
First off, the game isn’t split in two. Instead, the child units come up in sidequest ‘Paralogue’ chapters. These chapters are unlocked when two of your characters reach an ‘S’ level in their Support conversations—which can only happen between a male and female unit, and almost always involved a proposal. At that point, the characters are listed as Husband and Wife, and a new map (once for each couple) is unlocked where you can find their child. Then, when you head into that map, the child will be wandering there, and you’ll have to reach and recruit them to add them to your army. Now, you probably won’t be able to get your characters all the way to S-rank until near the end of the game, and the Paralogue chapters are slightly harder than the main chapters. Since the children start at a very low level, it can be hard to get them through their chapters alive, and it’ll take a lot of grinding before they’re ready to stand in the front lines.
Thankfully, grinding is actually an option in this game; once you beat a Paralogue chapter, you can use an item to summon monsters there to fight. Since the children can potentially be very strong, the extra time is well worth it. Further adding to the depth is the way the children’s stats are done. Though the child’s class is predetermined by its mother, the stats and its appearance (namely, hair color) are affected by the father. Since the child and chapter you unlock is based on the mother, this means that the father you pick is where the freedom comes in. If you know that a certain mother gives you an archer, for example, you may want to get her a husband that has high speed—at least, if you play archers the way I do. It’s also speculated, but not confirmed, that the father may affect what classes your child can promote to. The child will inherit skills from both parents, though; if the father is an assassin, the child may learn Lethatlity, for example. The children will have extra support conversations with their family; this means that while each mother only has one support conversation string since they always have the same child, there are tons of different father/child support conversations that differ greatly, and are usually funny.
There are two exceptions to the ‘mother decides the child’ rule, though; the Tactician (your player character) and Chrom himself both unlock their own children. These children will be siblings to whoever the Mother’s unlocked child is, meaning there are even more unique supports to find through replays. The Tactician can marry every female in the game, including one of the children. Which is a little disturbing. However, as the children can’t have kids, if you marry the Tactician to the child she won’t have her own kid, making the Tactician’s unique child an only child. Is not that the real crime, here?
Overall, if looks like Fire Emblem: Awakening is going to have a Pokémon-esque level of depth to its human breeding system, and that’s just one more reason to splurge on the 3DS bundle next month.