While the Fire Emblem series has gotten pretty big in the west after standouts like Awakening and Three Houses made a big enough impact in the market, western audiences haven’t had any official means to play some of the earlier entries in franchise, including the original game that started it all. Nintendo is about to remedy that, as Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light will be available to download on Nintendo Switch, fully localized, on December 4….until some undetermined date when Nintendo is going to remove it from the eShop.
Yes, despite widespread criticism of Nintendo attempting to emulate some kind of Disney Vault nonsense with its recent Super Mario 3D All-Stars compilation (which is set to leave the eShop in March), the company plans to remove this fully localized version of the first Fire Emblem from its digital storefront at some point. There’s no date given, but in some tiny text on Nintendo’s website for the game it says the following: “Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light will only be available for a limited time.”
This is clearly a calculated business decision to entice people to pay the $5.99 up front so Nintendo can see more sales in a short amount of time, but given that ports like these are often the only ways that console and handheld games can be preserved, it’s an extremely callous move on the company’s part. And since this the only time that Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light has been localized in English, it seems especially irresponsible to not keep it in a place where fans who come in later than whatever arbitrary timetable someone at the company decided was enough time for them to allow people to try the original game or not. It’s also odd that the announcement trailer for the localization leans so heavily into the fact that this is something western fans have never gotten to experience, as the entire thing will be obsolete in probably a few months.
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While the digital version will be one option, Nintendo is also releasing a physical “30th anniversary edition” of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light for $49.99, complete with artbook, a replica of the original box with an instruction booklet and a map, and a mini Nintendo Power collectible.
If you’re looking for a more modern Fire Emblem experience that isn’t going to magically disappear at some undetermined date and time, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is also available on Switch and features some social sim elements not found in the original game. For more on that, be sure to check out our guides before you go. Including some general tips to help you get started, or if you’re indecisive about which of the titular houses you should pick, we can help you with that, too.