A brilliant way to start the New Year, with the official Western website for the upcoming Fire Emblem Fates going live and confirming the expected release date of February 19th 2016 for North America and Canada (sorry Europe, no news for you guys yet).
Fire Emblem Fates, unlike previous games in the series, will release as a two-parter (Birthright and Conquest) with different narrative options and a third path available via DLC (Revelation, called Forbidden Kingdom in Japan). Birthright and Conquest follow the same storyline up until Chapter 6, at which point the narrative splits depending on which version of the game you're playing.
If you chose Birthright you're siding with the peaceful and diplomatic kingdom of Hoshido, for Conquest you'll choose the proud and warlike country of Nohr.
And the different versions contain different characters. Whilst Birthright contains 27 unique characters, Conquest has only 26. Some of these characters have unique job classes that don't exist in the other version, and there's an interesting marriage twist too.
Speaking of which...
Birth, Marriage, Death
Like previous games in the series, each version of Fire Emblem Fates has different characters available to utilise as battle units and create interactions and relationships between.
The ability to marry and produce children via matches between party members has been around for a while in the series (ever since 1996's Genealogy of the Holy War), and Fire Emblem Fates continues this tradition, though the different versions do make things a bit trickier.
By having two specific units fighting together - either as an offence / defence pair or attacking alongside each other - the bond between them grows. In non blood related male / female (and in certain cases male / male, female / female) pairs this bond can deepen into love, producing children as a result.
Here Comes The Stork...
The children born then join up with your army, becoming playable units themselves who can also form relationships with other second generation characters.
It may sound like a mainly role-playing mechanic, but breeding is actually very important because it allows you to fill out the ranks of your army. Fire Emblem being a strategy based series, it makes sense to approach the child producing section with a similar mindset.
In the previous game, Fire Emblem Awakening, the child characters were determined by the mother whilst taking their hair colour from the father; in Fire Emblem Fates it's the other way around. The child character itself is determined by the father whilst they get their hair colour from the mother.
The exception here is the main character, the female version of Corrin (the Avatar/player character) and Azura (the main player companion), each of whom birth two children. One a child specific to their character, the other determined by the male they mate with.
The good folks over at Kotaku have put together a complete list of all the different child characters produced by the various fathers across both Birthright and Conquest, so check that out for further details and a more detailed run down about the different children and their classes in Fire Emblem Fates.