However, Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem introduced Casual Mode in Japan, and Fire Emblem Awakening brought the mechanic worldwide. In Casual Mode, player units that fall in battle will retreat rather than dying, letting the player use them again after the battle with all of their experience and items intact. This made the game much more forgiving and welcoming to newcomers and less skilled players. With the player now guaranteed to keep their army and beloved units, a lot of the stress of the game evaporates, and it becomes a more straightforward strategic experience. One could easily argue that Fire Emblem Awakening saved the franchise with its worldwide success.
Ever since Fire Emblem Awakening, the series has seen a significant rise in popularity. The Fire Emblem Fates sold well despite middling fan reception, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses was a major success. The franchise has also seen a Warriors spinoff that is about to release a Three Houses-themed sequel, as well as a mobile game and several characters crossing over into Super Smash Bros. Casual Mode can be seen as a likely reason for this surge in popularity. With the series becoming more welcoming to newcomers with the option of playing without permadeath, that gave the franchise the chance to grow and thrive the way it has in recent years. With Fire Emblem Heroes earning millions of dollars, the series’ success is unquestionable.
As it stands, Fire Emblem has become one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. Its fanbase has grown to rival some of Nintendo’s most famous names, and it seems to still have plenty of momentum. Fire Emblem‘s rise was driven by great gameplay and characters, but Casual Mode helped to open the door for a new legion of fans.