The Fire Emblem franchise hasn’t had a huge following here in North America, but it’s been sort of a big thing in Japan. It’s one of those Nintendo franchises you just expect to come around every few years, but apparently that almost wasn’t the case. The franchise has been seeing declining numbers over the years, with each release selling fewer and fewer copies, according to series producer Hitoshi Yamagami; so much so that Nintendo almost pulled the plug altogether.
He had the following to say in an interview with Spanish magazine Hobby Consola:
“Truth be told, sales are dropping. The sales manager of Nintendo, Mr. Hatano, told us that this could be the last Fire Emblem. Due to this progressive descent in sales, they told us that if the sales of this episode stayed below 250,000 copies, we’d stop working on the saga. I remember when I came back from the meeting and told the team, ‘My God, what are we gonna do?! The end has come!’ Our reaction was clear: If this was going to be the last Fire Emblem, we had to put everything we always wanted to include.”
According to unofficial numbers through VG Chartz, the latest entry, Fire Emblem: Awakening, has sold over 500,000 units in Japan, having been on sale for over a year there. Here in the US it’s sold around 250,000 units and a little over 100,000 in the rest of the world with retail sales sitting at over 880,000. Nintendo has mentioned over the last few months that the game has sold very well through the eShop as well, mentioning it anytime they release statements about digital sales, but never giving firm numbers.
The game has had a very good reception being praised in numerous reviews, including ours. I think it’s safe to say that we’re going to see another entry into the franchise and maybe Nintendo wasn’t quite expecting the reception this game received, and that’s a good thing.