Fire Emblem[a] is a fantasytactical role-playing game franchise developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. First produced and published for the Family Computer (Famicom), the series consists of fifteen main games and three spin-offs. Described by its creators as a “role-playing game simulation”, the gameplay revolves around tactical movement of characters across grid-based environments, while incorporating a story and characters similar to traditional role-playing video games.
A noted aspect of gameplay is the permanent death of characters in battle, removing them from the rest of the game should they be defeated. In the newer titles, from Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem onwards, players get the choice between Classic mode, where characters permanently die, or Casual mode, where fallen characters revive for the next battle. The series title refers to the “Fire Emblem”, usually portrayed as a royal weapon or shield that represents the power of war and dragons, a recurring element in the series. Development of the first game began as a dōjin project by Shouzou Kaga and three other developers. Its success prompted the development of further titles in the series. Shouzou Kaga headed development of each entry until the release of Thracia 776, when he left Intelligent Systems and founded his own game studio to develop Tear Ring Saga.
No games in the series were released outside of Japan until two characters, Marth and Roy, were included as playable characters in the 2001 fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee. Their popularity eventually convinced Nintendo to release the next game, The Blazing Blade, in Western regions under the title Fire Emblem in 2003. Many games in the series have sold well, despite a decline during the 2000s which resulted in the series’ near-cancellation. Individual entries have generally been praised, and the series as a whole has been lauded for its gameplay, and it is cited as a seminal series in the tactical role-playing genre. Characters from multiple games have also been included in crossovers with other franchises.