From niche series to Nintendo staple.

10 years ago today, Fire Emblem: Awakening was released on the 3DS in Japan. At the time the series had a core and devoted audience, but it had struggled to make a meaningful sales breakthrough outside of Japan. There was no doubting the development and storytelling talent of developer Intelligent Systems, though, and the background of the game’s creation is now well known and repeated regularly. It was to be a final push for the series, with presentation, budget and an eventual global release on 3DS — if it struggled, like multiple predecessors had, the series may have died right there.

Instead something rather lovely happened. Along with a slowly reviving 3DS platform, the game found its feet in the West, even if the 3D characters in the game didn’t have feet. We could all overlook that oddity, though, as the game captured imaginations and made it a must-have on the portable. This, remember, is after the West had to wait for it — it’s the 10-year anniversary in Japan, but the 9year anniversary in Europe (it arrived in North America a couple of months before EU). It was still a slightly scruffy and staggered global release, something that is now a rarity with first-party games, but that didn’t prevent its success.

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