Here at Kotaku, we like Fire Emblem: Awakening. But a while back, we had to ask: Why on earth doesn't anyone in this game have any feet? Everything else about the characters' design is perfectly normal. But they don't have any feet.
In a new developer interview posted by Nintendo, the localizers at 8-4 (who were responsible for translating the game's English script) asked Awakening's developers about the feet. They asked about some other stuff, too, but really, the most important question was about the feet.
Here's what Intelligent Systems art director Toshiyuki Kusakihara and Nintendo game director Genki Yokota had to say:
8-4: Speaking of doing something different, we have to ask a question a lot of the fans are wondering — what happened with the feet? (laughs)
Kusakihara: (Laughs) Well, they're there...they're just...omitted a little bit. The idea was to add a unique sort of deformation to the characters. As for why it ended up like this... At the start of the project, we weren't entirely sure how many bones and joints we'd be able to use in each character model. As it is now, there's a joint at the knees, and then there's nothing below that for the ankles and the feet. This makes it a bit easier to apply animation to models as well. We found out afterward that, with the 3DS, we had more than enough CPU strength available to flesh out the models a bit, add real ankles and so on. We were like "Well, if there's a next time, maybe there'll be more ankles..." (laughs)
We thought we could make it something that would work well with the characters, but now I'm not so sure. (laughs) So it's hard to give a real reason for it, but...well, I think it's kind of cute, though! (laughs) Isn't it? They look like they're wearing high heels. Aren't high heels the big fashion these days?
8-4: Did you get any feedback about this from Japanese players as well?
Kusakihara: Yeah, some people focused on the feet a lot. (laughs) I think if this was a game that involved people kicking and such, we would have put in real ankles. Instead, you're using handheld weapons for the most part, so we figured we could sort of omit some of the detail down there...
Yokota: We did get feedback about that in the playtesting sessions, but by that point it was like "Well, we can't do much about that now." (laughs)
Kusakihara: A lot of people seemed really preoccupied with the feet... Ah, well. (laughs)
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So, there you have it. They wanted to add a "unique deformation" to the characters… and in the next Fire Emblem game, we can probably expect ankles. Phew.