Fire Emblem Warriors is an upcoming hack and slash game featuring heroes from the popular strategy games. Staff writer Heather Alexandra and Kotaku editor in chief Stephen Totilo sat down with Masahiro Higuchi from Intelligent Systems and Yosuke Hayashi from Koei Tecmo to talk about the game and whether or not it will have Donnel the villager.

Over the course of our interview, we covered a spread of topics relating to Fire Emblem Warriors gameplay and the future of the series.

On developing the game and keeping an element of strategy:

Yosuke Hayashi, Koei Tecmo: The original games are simulation RPGs, so there’s strategic element here like the weapon triangle. We wanted to maintain the action of the Warriors games while keeping those strategic elements.

On leveling up characters and changing classes:

Hayashi: Yes, we definitely anticipated people wanting [to change classes]. You can level up and it will change the character’s appearance as well.

On hardcore mode and losing characters:

Hayashi: We know Fire Emblem fans are both hardcore and casual players, and much like we have options for both in the Fire Emblem series, we also offer [a hardcore mode] in this game. You can choose a more difficult mode where you have to think strategically or else you’ll lose characters, or a more casual mode where you will not lose characters.

Totilo: There is permadeath?

Hayashi: Maybe not in the same way as the main Fire Emblem games, but in a way that might make more sense for a Warriors game.

On marriage and support systems:

Hayashi: We decided not to include romances in this game, since those stories take place in the main series games and we didn’t want to intrude or add twists to them. But there is still bond-building between characters. We have support conversations where the characters will build trust and forge friendships.

On how they chose which characters to add to the game:

Masahiro Higuchi, Intelligent Systems: When we were selecting characters for the game we definitely put strategy first, and that came down to weapons with sword users, axe users, and lancers. We wanted to choose characters that would make up the classic classes and add tactical elements for the gameplay.

On whether or not it will have Donnel, the best character:

Higuchi: We can’t reveal all of the characters in the game, but we know Donnel is a fan favorite. It was definitely a lot of fun thinking about who we might include, but if we included everyone, it would be so much work for Koei Tecmo.

On appealing to fans of the series when choosing characters:

Hayashi: We really wanted to choose characters from around three games that make sense from a fan perspective. That’s why we chose Shadow Dragon, Awakening, and Fates to focus on.

On the possibility of a player-created protagonist:

Hayashi: We talked about it at the start of development, but we decided the story would be more about the heroes from the other games. We made two protagonists who were a bit younger in age because we wanted the heroes to lead them.

On Shadows of Valentia’s release and remaking older games:

Higuchi: We don’t have concrete plans for any more remakes, but if the opportunity arises, I’d love to do a remake of Famicom Wars.

On other potential series that Koei Tecmo wanted to make into a Warriors game:

Hayashi: [The idea for] Fire Emblem Warriors came about naturally when we were creating Hyrule Warriors Legends. We were dealing with some development challenges with the 3DS hardware, so we add the ability to switch between characters and send characters to different parts of the map and that made us think: “That would be really good for a Fire Emblem game.”

Totilo: You don’t have plans for Pikmin Warriors? Wave Race Warriors?

Hayashi: [Laughing] No, no.