Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, the game that kicked the turn-based strategy series off, is finally getting an English version on Switch on December 4.
The game will be $6 to download, but Nintendo is also releasing a special 30th Anniversary edition of the game for $50 complete with a replica box, game cartridge, newly-localized game manual, map, and 222-page art book. There’s a hitch though, and stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light will only be available to buy digitally until March 31, 2021.
Nintendo’s new Disney-like vaulting system aside, if that’s what it takes to finally be able to play Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light so be it. Released in Japan for the Famicom back in 1990, the first Fire Emblem saw Prince Marth try to reclaim his thrown from evil forces in through a sequence of grid-based battles where permadeath would see beloved character die forever if they fell during combat.
It wasn’t until the seventh game in the series, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (called just Fire Emblem in the West), was released on Game Boy Advance in 2004 that fans outside of Japan finally got a taste of Intelligent System’s tactical JRPG series. Prior to that people were simply left to ponder the mysteries of which colorful anime hole Super Smash Bros. Melee’s Marth and Roy had crawled out of. Now those two and their comrades have all but taken over the latest Smash Bros. It’s about time Marth’s story got told properly.
Update - 8:58 p.m. ET, 10/23/20: When asked why Nintendo was only selling Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light until March 31, 2021, a spokesperson for Nintendo only responded with the following statement:
Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light is the first Fire Emblem game in the beloved franchise, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary through March 2021. We are excited to offer the game localized in English for the first time to commemorate the occasion.
It appears to imply that the original Fire Emblem’s 30th anniversary just happens to end on the same day as Nintendo’s fiscal year.