Crossover with Shin Megami Tensei was entirely different
I think it’s safe to say that Nintendo’s collaboration with Persona developer Atlus was not what we all expected. When Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (AKA, Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem) was first announced, it was met with a collective “huh?!” When we actually saw footage of the game, we said “Again, huh?!” But can you believe that long before development had even started, Nintendo had a very different plan for a potential crossover involving Fire Emblem? In fact, an initial plan was to have Nintendo’s world of strategic sword and sorcery interact with Pokémon.
According to a Nintendo Dream companion booklet from late 2015 (which was translated last month by kantopia), about five years ago, Kaori Ando, a coordinator and director at Nintendo, approached Fire Emblem producer Hitoshi Yamagami and “proposed a plan” for a crossover title between Fire Emblem and Pokémon.
Ando mentioned that the two franchises were rather similar, stating that “FE and Pokémon’s rules are pretty compatible!” Yamagami did agree with her but the idea didn’t go much further as a similar proposal was already floating around about having Pokémon crossover with another tactical strategy series. That would eventually lead to the 2012 DS title Pokémon Conquest, which was a collaboration with the Nobunaga’s Ambition series, which is set during feudal Japan.
Below is the full translation:
Yamagami (Nintendo Producer): 5 years ago, Ms. Ando proposed a plan [for a crossover], saying “You know, I think FE and Pokémon’s rules are pretty compatible!” Though I agreed with her, by chance the Pokémon group had already proposed what eventually became Pokémon Conquest at the same time [so we were unable to follow through].
Ando (Nintendo Director): Yes, which I was in charge of too.
Yamagami (Nintendo Producer): As the plan was a secret, she was put in charge of that first. (Laughs). And then, it took her less than a week to say, “Here’s the next plan.” The new plan was a collaboration with Atlus. At that time, new games like Xenoblade and Pandora’s Tower were coming out, and, because I myself was quite interested in Atlus’s games, I figured “This could work!” At first, we made informal plans within our own small group, but…
Takata (Atlus Producer): At that time, the organization itself was undergoing changes. and it was almost impossible to deal with Atlus as a second party, and so we almost decided to give up on it. After roughly 2 years, we heard from Hiraoka (board member at Atlus), “Let’s try to collaborate and level up by making an RPG together.” After that, we attempted to contact Nintendo repeatedly, asking “Do you want to bring that RPG to life [with us]?”
Yamagami (Nintendo Producer): We replied immediately with, “Let’s do it!” We then quickly began to draft plans for the game, still only having a rough idea of what it would be. And so, we released an image that showed, “Shin Megami Tensei Meets Fire Emblem” to the public.
Even Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE went through multiple changes in development, going through multiple genres such as tower defense and MMORPG, and it was even considered to be released on the 3DS, before finally settling on an RPG for Wii U.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is available right now and has received mostly favourable reviews. It currently holds a Metacritic score of 81/100.