One of my favorite video games in recent years is Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Developed by Intelligent Systems Koei Tecmo and published by Nintendo, the game strongly appeals to me for it assemble cast of interesting characters, the fun bigger-than-life story of fantasy style war, the complex storytelling, and the depth in which they explore each of these characters interacting with the world around them. It is, more or less, exactly what I look for when I pick up a game to engage in. Three Houses, in my opinion, is the best game of the Fire Emblem series as well. It is the game that is able to blend the story aspect with amazing RPG elements and has a fun and engaging combat system that can be quite challenging even playing on normal levels. It certainly isn’t a perfect game but, in my opinion, it is one of the best of the franchise and one of the best RPG/battle simulators.
That being said, one of my favorite pastimes is to log onto Pintrest and collect memes of some of my favorite video games. It is always fun to view, laugh, and engage in the fandom of the games without actually having to interact with anyone. Each time I go in I enjoy seeing other fans making the same connections I do with characters as well as laugh at some genuinely funny moments with characters interacting with each other. However, each time I log on and deep dive onto the boards to go through the various images, I am often fascinated by a ranking system in which fans put characters into a lettered category from best to worst. Usually, the rankings starts at S rank and then go down A, B, C, D, and then in lieu of F, or in addition to F, is some hyperbolic inflammatory statement like “piece of shit” or “the worst motherfucker” or something like that. I often find these particularly fascinating for Fire Emblem because, while some fluctuation occurs between personal preference, for the most part you a pretty standard cast that is at the top of the list and a collective of those that are on the bottom. That makes me curious… Why is that? Why is it that the character Sylvain Gautier is almost universally loved while Lorenz Hellman Gloucester is almost universally hated? Why is Shamir Nevrand liked instead of Gilbert Pronislav? These lists can tap into something very interesting about the writing and story telling of Three Houses which is what I would like to explore a little further. The reason being is because Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a unique sort of story that has elements of some of the best writing I have seen in a video game as well as some writing that just woefully falls short of the game that it finds itself in. Luckily this balances out into what is by all account a great story with some poorly fleshed out elements but it is worth exploring for the sake of understanding what is good story telling, what is bad storytelling, and how it can affect a viewer/player’s views of the character based on that premise.
As such, this article is meant to be a deep dive into the art of storytelling. The focus is to showcase how a burgeoning writer can insure their characters are engaging to the consumers of the media that you are attempting to write whether it be book, movie, video game, or Dungeons & Dragons. I intend to split this article into four further sections. The first two will look at aspects of story telling in Fire Emblem: Three Houses at the character level by exploring the characters of the game and their stories. The next will be more macro that explores the overall impact of the world on these characters and what entities like The Church of Seiros and Those that Slither in the Dark represent. Then I will have two sections discussing the games strengths and flaws from both a marco and micro perception. This will showcase how storytelling can enhance a character or woefully ruin a character’s perception in the eyes of the consumer. As a disclaimer, it is suggested that those who engage with this article have a general understanding of the game and understand that spoilers will be part of the dissection.Continue reading “Fire Emblem: Three Houses: A Case Study in How Story Telling Affects Perceptions”