Nintendo of America released new details regarding the storyline and gameplay for Wii's first Fire Emblem game, now subtitled Radiant Dawn.
Radiant Dawn begins three years after the GameCube Fire Emblem title Path of Radiance. The death of King Ashnard, who led his country of Daein to invade the neighboring land of Crimea and lost his life during the great war that ensued, has left Daein in a state of oppression under the war's victors.
Players will experience the story from the perspectives of two groups: the Dawn Brigade, comprised of new characters like Micaiah and Sothe of Daein; and the Greil Mercenaries, composed of Ike, Mist, Shinon and other characters from Path of Radiance. The leadership of the game's many tribes will also serve an important role in the plot, as will Zelgius, the black knight who killed Ike's father.
Radiant Dawn, like all Fire Emblem games before it, focuses on turn-based strategy. Players move their units (characters), of which there are dozens, around a battlefield like chess pieces. Each character is unique, belonging to one of many character classes and having a distinct personality. Consequently, allies who die in battle are gone for the remainder of the game barring a few rare exceptions. Many RPG conventions are also present, as players will visit towns, purchase items (important because most weapons eventually break), level-up their characters and so forth.
Combat is based on a 'rock-paper-scissors' method of fighting - lance beats sword, sword beats axe and axe beats lance, with bows having a separate role outside the triangle. Players can customize their units with special abilities and various weapons, as well as build the relationships between them in order to maximize their effectiveness in combat. Radiant Dawn will bring back elemental magic that follows the "trinity of magic" from previous Fire Emblem games (i.e. fire beats wind, wind beats thunder and thunder beats fire).
Radiant Dawn will incorporate a few new elements of strategy. For instance, untransformed laguz and healing units will be able to use a special ability to defend themselves when attacked. The game will also feature a terrain-height system that allows characters to move from low ground to high in order to gain an advantage over opponents.
Newly added to the North American version will be widescreen support. A "Battle Save" function, new to the Fire Emblem series, will allow players to create a permanent save in mid-battle. Radiant Dawn can be played with the Wii Remote by itself (held vertically or horizontally), as well as with the GameCube and Classic controllers.