Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War

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Name: Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War (Japanese: ファイアーエムブレム 聖戦の系譜 // Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu)
Abbreviation(s): FE4
Developer: Intelligent Systems, Nintendo
Publisher:
Reveal date:
Release date: 1996
Platform(s):
Type:
External links: Official Fire Emblem Site (JP)
See also:
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Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is the fourth game in the tactical role-playing game series Fire Emblem.

Story Overview

The game takes place across two generations. The player starts out controlling an army led by Sigurd, who leaves his duchy of Chalphy in Grannvale to rescue Princess Edain, who was kidnapped by the invading kingdom of Verdane. Sigurd is sucked into further battles across the continent of Jugdral. Opposing Grannvalian dukes frame him for the death of Prince Kurth, and he is forced to flee to Silesse. At the end of Chapter Five, Sigurd and most of his allies are tricked into returning to Grannvale by Arvis, who pretends to welcome them before having them killed. The second half of the game takes place 16 years later and follows Sigurd's son Seliph, who grew up exiled in Isaach. Seliph must free Jugdral from the oppression of the Loptyrian cult, which has stripped Emperor Arvis of power and turned his son Julius into a puppet possessed by Loptous.

Fandom

FE4 is a Japan-exclusive game, and has no official translations, so the Western fandom is rather small, though it is one of the most beloved Fire Emblem entries in the Japanese fandom. However, the English-speaking fandom has grown in recent years due to bookofholsety's high-quality fan translation Project Naga, and the increased popularity of the Fire Emblem series in general.

Reception

Fans have praised the game's darker story compared to other Fire Emblem titles, its gameplay-story integration, and its 'mythological epic' style and scale. The complex story, morally ambiguous villains, and ties to Norse and Celtic mythology make it a popular subject of story-based discussion and analysis among fans.

Though Genealogy of the Holy War is well-loved by many, some fans feel that it is over-hyped by its proponents. Fans that prioritize story complain about the long maps, which often take hours to complete, as well as director Shouzou Kaga's infamous fondness for difficult-to-understand game mechanics. Fans that prioritize gameplay have criticized the lack of varied victory objectives, weak enemies with little class/stat variation, and ease of creating overpowered children through the marriage system.

Shipping

Genealogy of the Holy War has a large shipping fanbase due to its marriage and child systems. Each female character has two children, whose stats and weapon rankings will depend on their father. By pairing up units, players can create a unique game experience. The only canonical ships are Deirdre/Sigurd and Ethlyn/Quan, with the player otherwise free to do as they will.

This freedom has led to several ship wars in the fandom. Lachesis in particular has been at the center of a major ship war over whether Finn/Lachesis or Beowulf/Lachesis is the better pairing. To make matters worse, the game and Mitsuki Oosawa's manga adaptation heavily imply that Lachesis is in fact in love with her brother, Eldigan.

Lewyn also has several popular partners, namely Erinys, Sylvia, and Tiltyu.

Other pairings:

  • Azelle/Tiltyu
  • Ares/Lene
  • Ayra/Lex
  • Leif/Nanna
  • Julia/Seliph (particularly popular in Japan)

The slash fandom for Genealogy of the Holy War is quite small, due to the game's emphasis on creating viable child units. The most popular slash pairing is Ares/Seliph, with many newer fans also enjoying Oifey/Shannan. Both of these pairings take place in gen 2 and therefore don't interfere with the game's marriage system.

Incest Controversy

Genealogy of the Holy War's depiction of incest has been a controversial subject in the Western fanbase. Though the canonical half-sibling pairing Arvis/Deirdre has been criticized on occasion, most fans feel that their marriage receives enough in-game condemnation to be acceptable. However, fans regularly post threads on forums like r/fireemblem and SerenesForest criticizing the potential for player-controlled incest, such as Ayra/Holyn (which makes Ayra's children very powerful units) and Julia/Seliph (the two have a very high 'love growth' and often end up paired by accident). Fans have also used the implied feelings between Lachesis and her brother Eldigan to attack Lachesis' character. Oddly enough, Claud/Silvia flies under the radar despite them seemingly being related, too: they both have Bragi blood, and a conversation in chapter 4 briefly suggests she might be his long-missing sister. This is debunked by two official supplementary books stating that they're actually distant cousins[1], which may account for the lack of flak it gets.

This controversy does not seem to exist in the Japanese fandom, where Julia/Seliph is a very popular pairing.

Fan Works

Fanfiction

The English fanfiction community is small, with 1090 works in Genealogy's AO3 tag as of 11/16/2021, many of which are crossovers with other Fire Emblem games.

ROM Hacks

Genealogy of the Holy War was a very popular base for ROM hacks among Japanese fans in the early to mid 2000s. There are several reskins of the game centered around characters of different holy lineages, such as Tordo no Keifu and Fala no Keifu.

The best-known hack is FE4 Binary, a rebalancing hack that aimed to improve the gameplay experience. Some changes it made are controversial among fans.

Fanvids

Meta/Analysis

External Links and Archives

References

  1. ^ Silvia profile