Core Systems Analysis – Fire Emblem Warriors

A core system analysis of Fire Emblem Warriors.

Fire Emblem Warriors is a spin-off of the Fire Emblem series, developed by the same developers that make games in the Dynasty Warriors franchise. While the Fire Emblem series is mainly a turn-based tactical role-playing genre, Fire Emblem Warriors takes more after the Dynasty Warriors series, with hack-and-slash role playing games. Although Fire Emblem Warriors contains characters from the Fire Emblem series and incorporates mechanics from the series as well, the most important systems that define the game come from the Dynasty Warriors series.

The layout of the three core systems of Fire Emblem Warriors roughly follows the structure shown in the diagram above. In the main gameplay, the movement and combat system support each other in the game’s battles. During a battle, the characters you control gain experience and materials that affect your game progression, which can be used to level up, increasing your characters’ stats and unlocking skills that upgrade your characters’ capabilities. This leads to the movement and combat systems being enhanced, which in turn, results in more progression. The systems reinforce and feed into each other to create the main gameplay loop of Fire Emblem Warriors.

The combat system, arguably the most defining core system of Fire Emblem Warriors, is central to the gameplay. Players can choose between many characters to take into a battle, with 19 unique move sets shared amongst all the characters. Depending on the weapon a character wields, characters can also find themselves in disadvantages or advantages due to the weapon triangle, which operates similar to rock-paper-scissors.  Players can perform a variety of combos by stringing together a certain number of light attacks followed by a heavy attack. Depending on the move set, the resulting combo can be useful in certain situations. Players can also perform a special flashy attack that consumes a Warrior gauge, which fills up as they take down enemies. Players can also enter an Awakening state, which temporarily buffs the character they are controlling. Overall, the combat system is the main system which defines how players take down groups of enemies and win battles.

The movement system also affects how certain characters traverse the battlefield. Between all the characters, there are infantry, cavalry, and flying movement types. Each movement type has its own advantages and disadvantages, for example, a flying character can fly across the battlefield and reach areas faster than other units, however they are weak to arrows. Additionally, the player’s character can perform a simple dodge maneuver to avoid enemy attacks and become more agile when fighting enemies.

The progression system mostly takes place in between battles, where players can upgrade their characters in a multitude of ways. However, during battles, by defeating enemies, players gain experience that can cause characters to level up. Players can also get materials that they can use to upgrade characters’ skills. Leveling up causes the character’s stats to increase, while upgrading skills can give a character access to new combos, damage reduction, or increased capabilities. By leveling up and upgrading skills in the progression system, players can grow their characters’ power and beat tougher battles and access more content.

The combat, movement, and progression systems all reinforce each other cyclically. Specifically, the combat and movement systems work in tandem during the game’s battles to create a satisfying hack-and-slash experience. For example, the dodge mechanic of the movement system allows players to weave in and out of enemy attacks, giving combat an extra layer of depth. Additionally, some combos that the player’s chosen character can perform have movement properties that can be good for initiation or finishing. Also, a character’s movement type may give them certain differences in combat. For example, a flying character can transition from an unattackable state straight into a strong initiation attack without less fear of being interrupted. A cavalry character can be able to attack while maintaining more momentum, allowing them to hit and juggle more enemies than an infantry character. 

While the progression and combat/movement systems can be in separate areas of the game, they still influence each other. During battles, the combat and movement systems contribute to the progression system by giving players experience and materials for their characters. In between battles, players can use the experience and materials to improve their characters, which in turn, enhances the combat and movement systems by giving the player’s characters more survivability, increased attack power, and upgraded abilities. Then with these upgrades, players can gain more experience and gather materials, creating the core gameplay loop of Fire Emblem Warriors.

I selected the combat, movement, and progression systems as core systems of Fire Emblem Warriors because I believe each system is an integral part of the game, and the game would be drastically changed with the absence of any of these systems. Because the combat and movement are so intrinsically linked, the absence of one would dramatically change how battles work and the nuance between the characters. Without the combat system, Fire Emblem Warriors would no longer be a hack-and-slash, and without the movement system, it would no longer have the different types of combat and movement types, lessening the battle scenarios. Progression is also an integral part of Fire Emblem Warriors. Without the progression system, there would be no form of upgrades the player can acquire to advance their characters, and combat would be made very repetitive with any change or increase in power or options.

The secondary systems I would decide on are a weapon system and an inventory system. The weapon system allows the player to customize a weapon with attributes that can increase the effectiveness of weapons and the inventory system allows the player to manage their gold, weapons, and materials to do certain tasks such as level resetting and giving blessings. Although these systems add a lot of depth to the customization of your characters, I feel that if these systems were removed from the game, that the game would still have the necessary systems to function as Fire Emblem Warriors.


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