"Your battle. Your future. Your fate.
Two kingdoms are on the brink of war. Whose side will you choose? Torn between two families, you’re an heir of Hoshido, raised by Nohrian royals. If you choose the path of Birthright, you’ll battle the corrupted king of Nohr beside a family of strangers. If you walk the path of Conquest, you must fight to change your misguided kingdom from within. Command warriors with expert precision and forge deep relationships to master this turn-based strategy game.
Each path is a complete story and a complete game. Playing both will show you two different sides of one brutal conflict."
So opens the description on the official Fire Emblem Fates website which launched recently, confirming the Western (America and Canada) release date to be that of February 19, 2016.
Not Long To Go Now!
Fire Emblem Fates has been high on the list of many a 3DS strategy player ever since it was released in Nintendo and Intelligent System's native country of Japan back in June of 2015. The second instalment developed for the 3DS after 2013's critically successful Fire Emblem Awakening, Fates is the first to be released in not just two, but three different narrative formats.
The three versions, which feature the same characters but follow different storylines, pits you on either side of a brutal conflict between two warring Kingdoms: the peaceful Hoshido and the warlike Nohr. The different versions give you different narrative paths, playable units, items available to collect and weapons to wield.
Choosing Birthright means you side with Hoshido, and Conquest puts you on the battle-lines with the royal family of Nohr. But it's not so black and white; just because you side with Nohr doesn't make you a bad guy, and the peaceful Hoshido aren't the good guys by default. For more information about the differences between them you can check out our quick guide here.
How Are The Versions Being Released?
Prior to the release date being announced there was a ton of speculation around how exactly the three versions would be released, and now we have the official line from the website. So as in the East both Birthright and Conquest will be available as physical releases with those easy to lose cartridges and the third path - Revelation (called Forbidden Kingdom in Japan) - will be available as downloadable content only.
Revelation introduces yet another narrative in which, instead of choosing one side or the other, the player-character goes on a quest to uncover the real mastermind manipulating the war from the shadows.
So as Birthright and Conquest will be physical games they'll run you $39.99 each, and can be purchased from the usual retailers: GameStop, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and Amazon. And if you order from GameStop you can get a cute little character keyring to go along with it.
The DLC And Special Edition Bundle
Purchasing the DLC Revelation on top of the physical copy will cost another $20.00, but you have to have either Birthright or Conquest first. Like with Fire Emblem Awakening there will also be additional maps available to download; one free of charge and another six available for purchase (though Nintendo has not yet clarified a price for these).
Instead of having to shell the full $100 if you want the complete experience though, Nintendo of America is offering other options. Once you've purchased one physical version (eg Birthright) and completed it you'll be able to download a digital copy of the other version (Conquest) for a reduced $19.99.
Alternatively you can try and get your hands on the Special Edition Bundle, which includes all three games, an art book and a neat little pouch carrier for your Nintendo 3DS XL for $79.99.
For further information and to make your pre-order check out the Fire Emblem Fates website here!