Nintendo surprised fans around the world this morning with the announcement that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon And The Blade Of Light would finally be getting an English release after 30 years. Coming to the Nintendo Switch as a digital download on December 4, 2020, this will be the first time that the original title will see a release overseas. Sadly, Nintendo is following a similar strategy to that of Super Mario 3D All Stars, meaning this is a limited time release.
On the official eShop website, the game’s description clearly states, “Meet Marth and recruit some of the most beloved Fire Emblem characters in their 8-bit glory as you play through all 25 chapters of this classic Famicom tactical role-playing game, localized and released for the first time in North America—for a limited time.” That sucks.
If you want a physical version of the game, a collector’s edition package will at least give you some physical goodies to adorn your shelf. Coming with a replica NES game box, you’ll also receive a mini Nintendo Power poster, the “Legend of Archanea” deluxe art book, an instruction booklet and a world map, and a download code for the title. Yes, there will not be a cartridge for Fire Emblem.
While I’ve wanted a release of this title ever since Super Smash Bros. Melee back in 2001, I don’t think Nintendo is going about this the correct way. Having a digital version is perfectly fine and I understand why the company might not want to create a cartridge. What I can’t understand is the limited release strategy. Why is Nintendo copying Disney’s much-maligned “Vault” strategy for its back catalog?
What makes matters worse is that Nintendo isn’t even stating when this title will vanish. As stupid as Super Mario 3D All Stars might be, we don’t know when Fire Emblem is going to suddenly vanish. Will the game only be available in 2020? Will it have six months before getting delisted? Why isn’t this just being included on the Switch Online NES app?
The price for the download is pretty appropriate at $5.99, but this is still an exceptionally scummy way to play with fan’s hearts. It also does a disservice to not only the Fire Emblem brand, but Nintendo’s reputation. I hope the company reconsiders this limited time thing, especially in an era where digital downloads exist.
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