The 2019/8/8-15 issue of Famitsu includes an interview with the two directors of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Yokota Genki of Nintendo and Kusakihara Toshiyuki of Intelligent Systems.
Part 1 of this article is available here:
Fire Emblem: Three Houses- Creator Interview (Part 1)
The interviewer asks Yokota and Kusakihara if they have any advice for new players. Yokota says that the game is balanced so that while each of the three houses may have their own strengths and weaknesses, the difficulty of the game is equal regardless of which is chosen, and says that players should choose whichever they want. Kusakihara adds that the player can also get characters from other houses to join their house as well, and Yokota says that while it would technically be possible to get all the scoutable characters to join in one playthrough, this would be difficult to execute on the a run through the game.
The tea party system is brought up next. Kusakihara came up with the idea midway through development, and Yokota figured that it would be a good addition for players who like the characters in the game. Kusakihara says that the conversation choices in the tea party sequences are made so that the player can get hints from characters’ profiles, and recommends that players read the profiles beforehand. The profiles also have hints for the type of tea characters like.
The presence of S rank supports is pointed out by the interviewer, who asks if there is a marriage system, and Kusakihara says that the player can choose to get raise the support level to S with one character upon clearing the game, and that the system in previous games where characters marrying would result in their children being playable is not present in Three Houses. Yokota says that S ranks were left in because they felt that they should not completely remove an element from Awakening and Fates that was loved by fans.
The new job class change system is the next topic, and Kusakihara says that while it was better to max a character’s level before changing their class in older games, it is better to change classes as soon as possible in Three Houses due to higher classes gaining larger amounts of skill points and stats in battle, meaning that they grow faster than lower classes.
The new class and skill systems, including things like the exams which were included due to the academic setting, was added by Kusakihara early in development, and he says that parts of the system were inspired by the 1999 Koei game Zill O’ll. Kusakihara adds that he added references to Zill O’ll to the game in things like some of the job class names, with permission from Koei Tecmo Games.
Yokota gives advice on the skill system, saying that it is better to focus on a small amount of skills to get a higher job class earlier. The interviewer asks about how students propose changing goals, and Kusakihara says that this feature was included to make the player feel more like a teacher, and that while it may be useful if a player is not sure what to focus on for a character, there is otherwise no real effect in gameplay.
Other advice Kusakihara has to offer is that assigning battalions to all characters as soon as possible makes the game easier to handle. He also says that series fans should take note that support effects no longer apply to characters that are next to each other, but to characters taking part in a link.
The next topic to be discussed is the expansion pass DLC. Yokota says that the first DLC to be released is one to change the main character’s costume to that of a student uniform, and that they have plans to implement costume changes for other characters in the future. The additional stages to be included in the expansion pass will be side stories (not post-game story content), and they are also considering adding new characters, and Yokota says that the pass will have quite a bit of volume. He also says that lunatic difficulty will be added in a free update apart from the expansion.
The interview concludes with Yokota saying that he thinks the game will live up to players’ expectations and hopes they enjoy it, and Kusakihara saying that it is the sort of game that changes greatly depending on the player, and that they would be glad if players also have fun discussing the differences between their playthroughs.