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What Could Have Been / Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade

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Due to it being notable for its Development Hell for several years, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has a lot of content that were either scrapped or changed in the final, moreso than any other game in the franchise from the pre-3DS era.

  • The game was originally subtitled Maiden of Darkness and meant to be on the Nintendo 64 and the 64DD.
    • Judging by the sole screenshot of the original Nintendo 64 version, it would've utilized 2D graphics in 3D environments. Had it been released, it would've been the first 3D Fire Emblem game, predating Path of Radiance, a GameCube title, by several years.
    • The plot was drastically different from the final, but since the only surviving material related to the original plot is a single page of script, very little is known as to how different it really is.
    • Quite a huge chunk of characters were present in the original version of this game, and were completely scrapped in the final, aside from Roy and Karel, though several names were reused for other characters either in the final game or in later titles. Concept Art also exists of several scrapped characters, including a different "Idunn" that had nothing to do with the Demon Dragon herself.
  • Roy had went through a lot of changes during the game's development, even prior to console-hopping into the Game Boy Advance. Most notably, he was originally named "Ike" in the earliest development stage and drawn in the same style as Thracia 776, and his early design from SpaceWorld 2001 (when an artist change was made to represent the final product) showed that he would've been an energetic and hot-blooded boy instead of being a smart idealistic Nice Guy based on the art alone.
  • The Nintendo SpaceWorld 2001 trailer revealed that originally, Lilina was meant to be playable much earlier; joining in the first chapter rather than the eighth one.
  • The game would've used darker/desaturated colors for all of its assets. However, because the Game Boy Advance lacked a backlight, the final game uses garish colors.
  • There was information about a possible prototype build sent by an Intelligent Systems employee's daughter that detailed some content that were cut from the final. However, no screenshots were provided, and it is unconfirmed as to whether or not that prototype is real.
    • Guinivere was intended to be playable and act as a second lord.
    • Thea and Lilina may have been related.
    • Zephiel and Murdock may have been brothers.
    • Zephiel's weapon, Eckesachs, had durability and was intended to be acquired after defeating him. In addition, the eponymous weapon was also intended to be acquired the same way. (The latter idea would later be used in the Fire Emblem: Champion's Sword manga adaption.)
    • Jahn survived his battle and would be fought alongside Idunn as a Dual Boss.
    • There may have been Dark Dragons fought alongside Idunn. Complete with droppable Dragonstones that Fae would have been able to equip. The jury's still out on if they were supposed to be mass-produced versions of the stronger version of the Earth Dragons seen in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Mystery of the Emblem, however.
  • Data exists that suggests that Blizzard might have been intended to have been a long-ranged weaponry. Evidently, Meteor was also supposed to make a return but was not coded into the game. Similarly, the Watch Staff and Bridge Key would've returned as well, only for both of them to be scrapped, whereas the Magestone from the Archanea games also got the same fate, due to reasons specified above.
  • The titular weapon was going to be named after its original wielder (Hartmut), instead of being unnamed like in the final.
  • There are files for a female Mercenary within the game, but it has no sprite. This may have been Echidna at some point in development before she was made a prepromote, or possibly even the basis for Lyn in the prequel.
  • An even earlier plan (revealed in the "Making of Fire Emblem" book) had Roy becoming king of the Western Isles halfway through the game. Which would explain why the Western Isles arc feels the least integrated into the overall plot in the final game: It was originally meant to be a "find a new land" plot.
  • Concept Art for the game from the Making of Fire Emblem book showed that the weapon triangle would've gotten a revamp; swords could've doubled when facing an axe user, lances would've strike first against a sword user, and axes would've ignored the def stat of a lance user. Such an idea never went to fruition, probably due to it being extremely unbalanced.
  • There were two planned official localizations of The Binding Blade that were never released:
    • Shortly after release, there was an English Version of the game planned for release. However, for reasons unknown, it never came to fruition, and whether such a version was ever developed has yet to be confirmed.
    • In 2019, a full Chinese translation of the game surfaced. Apparently Nintendo submitted it to be released on the Chinese copy of the GBA, but it was never approved; if it had been, China would have gotten Fire Emblem years before they ultimately got Echoes: Shadows of Valentia.