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Excellence In Game Design: Fire Emblem Fates Menus

Fire Emblem: Fates is a fantastic video game, I think that goes without saying... even though I just did... but did you know that Fates’ menus are also fantastic? BEHOLD.

I know, it’s a lot to take in. Nice usage of screen real-estate, contrasting color palettes between the background and the menu, clear and concise UI options; clearly the designer of this menu knew what they were doing.


That’s all well and good, but the real magnificence of this menu comes from something you can’t immediately perceive from the screen: context. You see, this menu is actually from the “Branch of Fates” section of the game. For those who haven’t played the game yet, this is the point in the game where the player chooses which faction they want to side with for the rest of the game, Chapter 6 specifically. Nintendo figured out that players likely wouldn’t want to replay the first five chapters multiple times for each version of the game, so they created this option at the main menu.

When I first saw this option appear, I was pretty impressed with the forethought that Intelligent System’s designers had taken on the players behalf. However, given I was still going through my Conquest run, I didn’t think much else of it at the time.

Today, on a whim, I opened up the menu just to check things out. For my Revelations play-through I had decided I wanted to adjust my Corrin’s Bane Stat and Talent, just to mix things up a bit. I was a little bummed out at the prospect of having to re-create Corrin from scratch to match my Conquest & Birthright design, but I accepted it as a necessary evil.

Only, I didn’t have to re-create my Corrin. In fact, he was ready to go with just a few clicks of the A-button. They had the forethought to keep a saved copy of your Corrin’s specifications on standby in the Branch of Fates menu option.

Who thinks of that?! I didn’t even think of that! I was so taken aback at the sheer excellence of such a minor aspect of the game, that I felt compelled to come gush about it here on TAY. Game Designers, lend me your ears, when you take the time to incorporate minor ideas like this, we do notice, and we really appreciate it.

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