is a crossover role-playing video game developed by Atlus and published by Nintendo for the Wii U home console. read more
is a crossover role-playing video game developed by Atlus and published by Nintendo for the Wii U home console.
The game is based on the two companies' respective Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series. The game was released in Japan in December 2015, and will be released internationally in June 2016. The gameplay uses a turn-based battle system in which the characters merge with beings known as Mirages to fight enemies, employing a variety of attacks and abilities, including creating combined attacks with multiple characters.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is set in modern-day Tokyo, with real-life locations such as Shibuya and Harajuku being featured. Tokyo has become beset by attacks from an alternate dimension called the Idolosphere, with beings known as Mirages harvesting an energy called Performa from humans. The story focuses on a group of young people who become allied with friendly Mirages by chance, and are recruited by Fortuna Entertainment: while outwardly a talent agency, Fortuna is dedicated to preventing invasions from the Idolosphere.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE was first proposed in 2010 by Nintendo producer Kaori Ando, who envisioned a crossover between the Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei series. Although initially reluctant, Atlus agreed to the collaboration, and much of the early work went into deciding what genre of game it was going to be, and how best to incorporate both series while creating an original game. The game began full production in 2013, and notably featured musical numbers produced by Japanese entertainment company Avex Group. The game was announced two months after development began as one of many third-party collaborations for the Wii U. Due to its Japanese setting and aesthetic, its Western release uses the original voice track with subtitles rather than an English dub.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is a role-playing game which combines elements of both the Shin Megami Tensei RPG series and the Fire Emblem tactics series. This largely lends itself to the main characters, who merge themselves with Mirages based onFire Emblem characters during battle. For example, the main protagonist, Itsuki, merges with his Mirage, Chrom, one of the main protagonists from Fire Emblem Awakening. Outside of battle, players can interact with characters, visit shops, and access a texting system. When exploring dungeons, players can attack on-field enemies to stun them, allowing them to have an advantage in battle or avoid them altogether. Battles in the game incorporates systems from both games, including Fire Emblem's rock-paper-scissors mechanic of melee weapons and Shin Megami Tensei's elemental properties. In additions to the various skills each party member possesses, some skills trigger Session Attacks where all party members attack in a combination. During these sessions, sub-characters can be called in to attack, and pairs of characters can activate combined techniques. Unlike most Wii U titles, the game is not compatible with Off TV Play.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE is set in modern-day Tokyo, Japan. The story uses multiple well-known city districts such as Shibuya and Harajuku. In the universe ofTokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, everyone holds an energy called Performa that enables them to pursue their dreams. Performa attracts beings called Mirages, who hail from an alternate dimension called the Idolosphere: while some Mirages harvest Performa for evil motives, others form alliances with humans to protect the real world. Those who form alliances with friendly Mirages are referred to as Mirage Masters. The main cast are employees and associates of Fortuna Entertainment, a talent agency that secretly acts as a hub and recruiting organization for Mirage Masters.
The main protagonist is Itsuki Aoi, a young boy who becomes involved with Fortuna Entertainment by chance, and initially interested in the business. The other human main characters are Tsubasa Oribe, an optimistic and hard-working classmate of Itsuki who seeks to become a pop idol; Toma Akagi, an impulsive man working to become an actor in a tokusatsu show; Kiria Kurono, a famous idol and veteran Mirage Master; Eleonora Yumizuru, a half-white actress; Mamori Minamoto, a cooking show host with a taste for Shōwa period clothing and music; and Yashiro Tsurugi, a superstar male idol who is initially hostile towards the party and their ambitions. The group are aided by Maiko Shimazaki, a former Gravure idol who is the head of Fortuna Entertainment; and Barry Goodman, a strict instructor from overseas with a love of otaku culture. The Mirages who ally with the Mirage Masters are Chrom, Virion and Tharja from Fire Emblem Awakening, and Caeda, Cain, Draug and Navarre from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. A different Mirage is Tiki, who provides assistance to the Mirage Masters and is portrayed in the real world as a popular vocaloid.
The game takes place in Tokyo, following the lives of the young members of the Fortuna Entertainment talent agency. These youths become "Mirage Masters", who have the power to merge with Mirages, souls of warriors from another world, such as Chrom. While some Mirages are kind-hearted and help out the Mirage Masters, others seek to cause chaos and draw power from the emotions of innocent people, and it is up to the Mirage Masters to stop them.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE was the brainchild of Nintendo producer Kaori Ando, who voiced his wish to make a Fire Emblem crossover to fellow producer Hitoshi Yamagami in 2010. Ando's initial vision was for a collaboration between the Fire Emblem and Pokémon series, but this was rejected as a similar collaboration was being developed in the form of Pokémon Conquest. Ando redrafted his proposal and submitted it a week later as a crossover between Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei. Atlus, the developer of the Shin Megami Tensei series, had previously worked with Nintendo on a game titled Itsumo Purikura ☆ Kuradeko Puremium for theNintendo DSi and 3DS. When the project was originally pitched to Atlus in 2010, it was assumed that they were not interested after their unenthusiastic response and later said they were too busy to undertake the collaboration. Over a year later, Atlus inquired as to whether the subject was still open for discussion, and it transpired that they had been highly enthusiastic while still being too busy with other projects. Shinjiro Takada, who was also working on Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2, was appointed as producer. While he had viewed Fire Emblem as a rival and quality goal for his own work, he was honored to be given the chance to develop a title related to Fire Emblem. The game's directors were Mitsuru Hirata, who was supporting director on Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, and Eiji Ishida, who worked on both Strange Journey and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Hirata was originally the project's sole director, but seven months after the game's public announcement, Ishida was brought on to co-direct so the amount of work needed for the title could be managed. According to Ishida, it was the company's first original game for high-definition consoles. Full development began in 2013.
During the early production, what type of game it would be became crucial to whether Atlus or Fire Emblem developer Intelligent Systems would develop it. One of the problems that needed to be overcome was the form of the initial proposal, which was for a simulation game similar to Fire Emblem developed by Atlus. Atlus, who were better known for making traditional role-playing games, were unsure which series to emulate. The decision was eventually made to create something along the lines of a traditional role-playing game (RPG), so Atlus took on primary development. Their first concept turned out to be a grid-based strategy game with strategic positioning elements similar to Fire Emblem, but they were eventually convinced by Yamagami and staff from Intelligent Systems to keep within their own skillset rather than attempting anything radically different. The final product was visualized as a game only Atlus could make, incorporating elements from both series while standing as an original title that could be enjoyed by fans of both Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. During these early stages, proposals were also made for a 3DS version, but this never materialized. Despite its ultimate form, some of the conceptual ideas were taken from early plans for Fire Emblem Awakening to take place in a modern-day setting. The inclusion of a sharp symbol in the title, which represents a semitone high note in musical notation, denoted the game's status as a unique hybrid of the two series. The inclination of the logo was also designed to represent the game's altered perspective on the Fire Emblem series. The game's cutscenes were created by Studio Anima and Studio 4°C.
The scenario was written by Yo Hadzuki and Makoto Miyauchi. Hadzuki was in charge of the main narrative, while Miyauchi handled the side stories for the main cast. During the early scenario development, it was thought that the main characters would be reincarnations of Fire Emblem characters, but this was dismissed as it would link it too strongly to the Fire Emblem series. When going through how to help incorporate Fire Emblem characters within the "Atlus mythos", they decided to use a concept from Japanese Shamanism called the "kami oroshi", which stands for a deity possessing and communicating through a priest or ritual dancer. A further extension of this was the incorporation of the kagura ritual dance, which in turn led to the inclusion of the entertainment theme. The character of Itsuki Aoi, who is not directly associated with any branch of Japanese media and entertainment, was created to introduce the setting and characters from an outsider's point of view. He was also a rarity among Atlus protagonists in that he took an active role in conversations with other characters. The side stories were created so the player could better understand and empathize with the struggles of entertainers in the industry and their private lives. Part of the team's struggle was both balancing the main story and side missions, and making both appealing to players. During an earlier stage, there was no divide between these two mission types, which ended up clashing with major story events and prompting players to ignore the side stories. To counter this, "Intermission" periods were created where side story chapters could be accessed. In the end, the side stories became a large part of the game's thematic base, causing Yamagami to consider them something more. The general infusion of pop culture and the performing arts into the title was Atlus' take on traditions within Japanese Shamanism where the dancing of priestesses brought them closer to the gods they worshiped: in the game, it is through their performances that the main characters draw the attention of the Mirages and summon them into the real world.
Aesthetically, the game used Fire Emblem elements as motifs, but took its setting and premise of a clash between worlds fromShin Megami Tensei. The battle system was originally going to be similar to a Fire Emblem game, but while it did incorporate elements such as the Weapon Triangle, it ultimately became a turn-based RPG battle system. After Atlus was made primary developer, the story was set in modern-day Tokyo and written around a group of young people facing challenges together. The game takes place in multiple locations around Tokyo, including Shibuya and Harajuku. The modern setting provided challenges for incorporating Fire Emblem characters, as characters in medieval armor just dropping into a modern setting would have looked strange. Among the considered possibilities were introducing Fire Emblem characters as human party members. In the end, it was decided to make them summoned helpers similar to the demons of Shin Megami Tensei, drawn into the real world from their Idolosphere dimension. So as to make real-world locations as realistic as possible, the team went on multiple scouting trips, taking photographs of locations like the Shibuya 109 department store. They originally wanted to mimic the chosen areas of Tokyo very closely, but they needed to consider how this might make travel times between locations overly long for players: this was done by imcrementally reducing the scale of environments while keeping the scenery and aesthetic intact. According to Hirata, the process of designing Shibuya alone took between one and two years. Battles were designed around the concept of a stage, with an audience made up of Mirages raised into excitement by the party's performance. In-battle rewards of money were designed to be "ohineri" (paper-wrapped offerings) rewarded to the party for their performance. An early version of the battle transition screen was an "assistant director" using a clapperboard, then offering in-battle commentary. These elements were completely cut from the game. Other elements that were cut included booing from the audience when the party made mistakes during battle and a high amount of camera movement during battles.
The game's art director was Fumitaka Yano of Atlus. The main aesthetic chosen for the game revolved around bright colors, a noted shift from the majority of Atlus' previous games. The bright colors were designed to emulate the focus on the entertainment industry, with various shades and effects portraying a colorful world. In contrast, the dungeons were designed around fantasy motifs and meant to embody the Mirages having been robbed of "expression". The game's dungeons were based around real-world locations, and had a gimmick inspired by this: for instance, one dungeon inspired by Shibuya 109 was themed around fashion. The main characters were designed by toi8, a Japanese artist noted for his work on .hack//The Movie. When he was approached, he was finishing work on the cover of a light novel and wondering what he would be doing next. While his previous work used a low color saturation, for Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE he used high color saturation suited to its setting. According to Takada, the team asked toi8 to design the world in this way to create "a feeling of both friendliness and splendor". The Mirage characters were designed by Hideo Minaba of Japanese design company CyDesignation, and were based on characters from Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light andAwakening. They were designed to contrast with toi8's character designs with the deliberate exception of Tiki, having a machine-like appearance. This was due to the long battle the characters had been facing: their armor reflected the dark events they had faced, and parts of themselves unneeded for survival have degenerated. Minaba had been a fan of the Fire Emblem series, and encountered difficulties designing the characters. His main aim was to remain true to the original characters while emulating the sharp and dark character style of Atlus games.
The game's music was composed by Yoshiaki Fujisawa, who was famous for his work on Love Live!. Fujisawa was contacted in late 2013 by George Aburai, an in-house composer who also worked with multiple well-known entertainers at Avex Group. Fujisawa found the composition difficult as he was more used to composing for television series rather than video games. To help him, Atlus' sound team gave him advice about aspects such as the timing, feel, and emotive elements of tracks. Ultimately, he found working in the environment fun, and was pleased when he first saw a test video featuring one of his songs. As a central story theme was the entertainment industry, the soundtrack was filled with vocal tunes and "groovy" tracks.
The game features stage performances involving the main characters, which were produced and choreographed by Aburai for Avex Group. Aburai formed a group from various areas of Avex Group to work on production. After forming his team, Aburai worked to analyze the personalities and traits of the main cast to determine how their performances would play out, in addition to other factors such as their professions' impact on their portrayal: an instance of this was Tiki's song "Beastie Game", which drew from multiple musical genres to reflect her status as a vocaloid. "Reincarnation", sung by Yoshino Nanjō as Kiria, needed to be redone around ten times until it fitted properly with the character's personality. The performances made use of full motion capture, and the 3D animation for the choreographed performances was handled by Studio Anima. Due to the performing aspect of the game, the team were faced with the difficulty of finding voice actors and actresses who could both act and sing.
The game was officially announced on January 23, 2013 as part of a Nintendo Direct presentation under the working English title Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem, announced as one of many planned collaboration projects with third-party developers for the Wii U. The trailer featured artwork of characters from the Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem series, and concluded with the message "Development in Progress". There was much initial speculation by journalists as to the game's genre due to the trailer's vague nature. Atlus confirmed the following day that the game was an RPG, and that it would be developed by Atlus and produced by Nintendo. At the time of its announcement, many parts of the game had yet to be developed and finalized, as it had only been two months since the beginning of development.
The lack of reports after the initial announcement raised concerns that the game had been cancelled. During an interview at theElectronic Entertainment Expo 2014 concerning Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. and whether its development was affecting Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, Yamagami confirmed that the game was still in development and on schedule. In April 2015, a gameplay trailer was released during a Nintendo Direct broadcast, which also confirmed the game's Japanese title and release window. Its official western year of release was announced at E3 of that year. First-print runs of the Japanese release included codes for special costumes inspired by other Atlus games. In addition, Atlus produced a "Fortissimo Edition", containing a special box, an original artbook, a six-track CD release including "Reincarnation", and DLC outfits for the playable characters. A Wii U bundle was also created, featuring similar content in addition to special stickers and special lyric cards. Between its original reveal and its release, Kiria's stage costume for her number "Reincarnation" was altered to be less revealing. Downloadable content was created for the title as both promotional material and post-release content, which included downloadable scenarios.
Its Western release date was announced in a Nintendo Direct on March 3, 2016. Due to the game's Japanese setting and focus, the Western version of the game will feature Japanese audio with subtitles rather than an English dub. Its localization was handled by Atlus staff rather than Nintendo's internal localization division. Atlus was chosen over Nintendo due to fan expectation of the type of localization common to an Atlus-published title, and the wish to make the game appeal to long-term fans of the company's work. Possible changes to content were attributed to Nintendo's varying content requirements and regulations for the regions the game will be released in. It will release in North America and Europe on June 24, while the Australian release will be a day later on June 25. A limited edition similar to Japan's "Fortissimo Edition" is to be made available as an online exclusive through Amazon.com and GameStop: it is titled the "Special Edition" in North America and "Fortissimo Edition" in Europe.
According to Famitsu, the game debuted at #13 with 23,806 units, having a moderate sell-through rate. At release, the game ranked as #8 in Nintendo's weekly download charts. The following week, it dropped to #16, selling another 9094 units, bringing total sales up to just under 33,000 units. By mid-January, it had dropped to #27, but its sell-through rate had increased. According to Media Create, the game reached #14 on their charts, with all versions selling 26,340 units. By the following week, it had dropped out of the top twenty. According to Dengeki Online, the game had sold 32,896 units by January 2016.
Japanese critics were generally positive. Famitsu gave it a score of 34 points out of 40. The reviewers generally agreed that it had an interesting and entertaining premise, along with well-designed gameplay typical of an Atlus title. One reviewer noted being disappointed by the lack of Fire Emblem references. It was also awarded Dengeki Online Award 2015: Dengeki referred to the game as a "masterpiece", calling it one of the best recent RPGs and applauding the evolved Megami Tensei battle system and lighter-toned story.