Nintendo revealed the latest title in the Fire Emblem series, Fire Emblem if, in their January 2015 Nintendo Direct, and since then various sources have revealed some features new to the franchise. The April 2015 direct revealed that for the first time the game will be split into two versions, each with its own distinct story. The downloadable version, which will be available on the Nintendo eShop, will require the player to choose a faction among two warring kingdoms.
The Hoshido version of the story follows a war with the neighboring country of Nohr, while the Nohr storyline involves a revolution within the country. Once the player makes his or her choice on the downloadable version, the game downloads the appropriate version of the story and locks that copy of the game to that same version indefinitely. Players wishing to experience both of these stories should expect to purchase both, however a version including both stories and a third neutral storyline will be released sometime after the initial versions.
Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu leaked additional information: a revisal of the series’ long standing weapon triangle to include more weapon types, the introduction of the “hidden weapon” class (small knives and shuriken), and the introduction of the Phoenix Mode, which revives dead characters immediately upon the next turn. Phoenix Mode comes just after the introduction of Casual Mode, first seen in the US with Fire Emblem: Awakening, and appears to be a setting which will be merciful to players who struggle with Casual Mode. Weapon durability, one of Fire Emblem’s long-standing rules, will be absent in this entry.
The Avatar returns as the main character, and more customization options will be available than in Awakening. As the protagonist, the Avatar is a member of royalty of both nations: born to a noble house in Hoshido, but raised by an adoptive noble family in Nohr. Early in the game, the Avatar must choose which country to serve, making the other into an enemy.
Nintendo plans to release Fire Emblem if in Japan on June 25, 2015, with localized versions being released in Europe and North America in 2016.