The Devil Is In The Details: Character Customization In Fire Emblem Fates

I’ve talked a lot about character customization in video games before, especially in the now disbanded Geek Force Network in two posts that still exist on the site. There’s no question about how much I love the chance to design my character the way I want them to look using the options game developers have created for the player to choose from. When I ordered my copy of the newest Fire Emblem game Birthright for the Nintendo 3DS, there was one tiny addition to their customization option that has made me unabashedly, deliriously in love with my playable character.

Now I know I shouldn’t really be talking about this game when I’m currently playing another game that should be my main focus for my extended video game challenge. I must admit it’s hard to resist the urge to play a new game when Fire Emblem Fates has been one of the most anticipated releases for this year. My reasoning led me to conclude I can cheat a little by setting up my playable character. I have to be ready for when I can fully focus my attention on Birthright eventually. Customization takes a little bit of time to get right before jumping straight into playing the game anyway, so loading it up on my 3DS made perfect, logical sense.

The customization menus are the same as Fire Emblem Awakening where you get to choose between playing as a male or female, changing their hair color and styles, and what type of personality you’d like your character to have throughout the game. This is where Awakening and Birthright slightly differ with one, albeit, small addition to their customization menu. If you choose to play as a female in Birthright, you have the choice of adding a hair accessory on your chosen hair style. It can be anything from a headband, butterfly, or even a flower.

The most exciting new option to be added to a Fire Emblem game––accessories!
The most exciting new option to be added to a Fire Emblem game––accessories!

You must be wondering why am I making such a big deal about this small difference in customization. Well, for one, I like having a ton of options at my disposal. Small, seemingly insignificant details, like adding a hair accessory, just adds to the overall uniqueness of your playable character. There will be some playable characters who might look similar to other players’ characters, but in essence they will be different and they’ll really be your character.

We all have different ideas of what we want our character to be in our own game and character customizations allow us to have fun and play around with it. I generally like an accessory option in customization menus, whether it’s for jewelry or hair ornaments. I tend to think these tiny details tell a story of who the person is when you look at them. And on a less meaningful note, the ability to add a hair ornament to my Birthright character just makes her so freaking cute! I’ve never made a character in a game who I love as much as I love this one. It’s the kind of feeling a mother has when they can’t help but gush and feel proud of their kid. Frankly, I’m just really proud and happy with the character I made for Birthright.

I appreciate when a game developer creates a new game of a well established franchise and is constantly thinking of ways to keep reinventing the game and making each experience just a little bit different than the one you’ve played before. Adding that tiny touch to the customization menu has already made Birthright feel special and I can’t wait to play out my character’s journey all the way to the end.

Meet Serena, my Fire Emblem Fates character in Birthright. This is the final result I've gone with and OH MY GOD SHE'S SO CUTE!!!!
Meet Serena, my Fire Emblem Fates character in Birthright. This is the final result I’ve gone with and OH MY GOD SHE’S SO CUTE!!!!
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12 thoughts on “The Devil Is In The Details: Character Customization In Fire Emblem Fates

  1. Yeah, the customization is a lot of fun in this game! I spent at least half an hour mulling over how I wanted my character to look in Fates (even naming her was a bit of an ordeal), and in the end it paid off! 😀

    1. I agree! The feeling of, “This is who my character is,” after spending maybe a good half hour or more on them is the best feeling in the world. When there’s a feeling of doubt or a hint of dissatisfaction over how I created my character before I finalize him/her, I tend to scrap what I have and start from the beginning. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s the worst! I want to be really happy about the character I’m going to be playing as for the whole game.

      Oh, and I definitely spent more time trying to come up with a name for my Fates character too! Naming a character isn’t as easy as it sounds, but I think the one I chose for mine suits her. 😀

  2. I love your character! The flower suits her (and you). And I agree that the smallest details can go a long way in personalizing a character. I for one love giving characters scars — usually small ones, but I imagine stories behind them! I did that for my Shepard in Mass Effect, my Fallout 4 character, and now my Fire Emblem character. =)

    1. Haha, thanks and me too! I like the ability to add tiny touches like scars or tattoos. It really colors your character in a huge way. I typically decide small things like adding a scar or tattoo on my character based on what kind of character I feel like playing and what type of backstory I’d envision he/she having. I definitely added a scar to my Shepard because it made sense that as a soldier she should have some sort of mark/memento of tough battles she endured but conquered. Little details do matter too! 🙂

  3. I picked this game up recently. I really enjoy the Fire Emblem series, so I’m looking forward to seeing where this installment takes me. I’d say my favorite titles so far are Genealogy of the Holy War, Path of Radiance, and Awakening. I really liked being able to create a character in Awakening; I thought it was a great addition to the series (it was implemented in the remake of Mystery of the Emblem, but this was the first one that was actually localized, so I think it still counts).

    1. I’ve never played any of the older Fire Emblem games, so Awakening was my first introduction into the series. I definitely enjoyed playing Awakening and was really excited when Fates was announced. I think the three different paths and stories for this installment will make for an interesting story, especially when the experience won’t be the same as the game you just played. It also ups the replay value too, so you get a lot out of the game and your money’s worth.

      1. The nice thing about Awakening is that it got more people into the series. I always thought it was underrated and I’m glad it’s getting the attention it deserves now. I haven’t played Fates yet, but I’d say Awakening is the best game in the series so far. I’d say Genealogy of the Holy War is the best non-localized title (indeed, it’s my favorite game that has yet to see the light of day outside of Japan) while Path of Radiance is the best traditional installment in the series (i.e. linear progression with short chapters and no backtracking).

  4. I like how creating a character actually makes a difference in this game (in that you actually see your character). Most games with a creation feature don’t really make any use of it. You create your character and then spend the rest of the game looking at their back or out from their perspective. Here though, you get a 3D model AND a customized portrait for the cutscenes!

    This is my first Fire Emblem game too, and while I’m not sure if I want to go back and play Awakening now, I do want to continue through Conquest and Revelation.

    1. You made a good point. It’s true that after you create the character, you really don’t get a clear view of what they look like in the end result, just before you click yes to finish up in some games. It’s nice you have the full view and the customized portrait in this game. At least you can be sure this is exactly how you want your character to look as you play the game.

      I’d say go back and play Awakening at some point. I really do love Awakening a lot. If I had more time, I’d definitely do a second playthrough.

  5. It’s possible that I *might* do this exact same thing…start a game just to create a character so that he or she is ready to go when I’m finally ready to play the game! 😀 It’s convenient, right? Because as you say, character creation is really important, and it’s almost like a game in and of itself. So if you take the time beforehand to get your character just right, even if it means staring over multiple times (that’s me and Commander Shepard — usually takes three tries before I get her looking just right), because then you don’t have to worry about it when it’s time to start the game. You can jump in knowing that your character is gong to look as wonderful as possible, and all you have to do is enjoy the game.

    Your Fire Emblem character is toats adorbs! (As the kids would say.) And it’s awesome that something as simple as an accessory can really make a character feel truly complete. I hope you have a grand time with her once you start playing!

    1. You often don’t realize how involved creating your character is until you’re brought to the customization menu. 🙂 So many choices and possibilities to consider! This is why I try not to rush the process or I at least get started on it, even if it means I won’t be playing the game for a while. Luckily, I very rarely have to redo a character over when I create mine in a game. I guess it’s because I tend to be certain of what I want on the first go.

      Haha, thanks! This is exactly why I fell in love with her after I was done creating her. Adding the flower just made her my masterpiece…and a cute one to boot! I’ll also say I cheated a little and played quite a bit of Fates already (6 chapters in…ahem!), but I just had to see her in action! It’s so hard to focus on one game when you have a shiny new one at home. 🙂

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