The 3DS game library is expanding quite a bit in 2012. People in Japan and Europe will both be able to enjoy an entirely new, lengthy Fire Emblem, for example. Fire Emblem: Awakening was discussed at today’s Nintendo Direct conference, with an April 19, 2012 launch confirmed for Japan and a general 2012 release window opened for Europe.
Exact details on the game and its story aren’t readily available. We do know players will create a custom avatar and assist the Kingdom of Iris’ prince as he takes part in a global conflict. Players will journey across the country to fight. Fire Emblem: Awakening will also introduce a new feature called Dual Battles to the series, where it seems characters can team up for an attack.
Fire Emblem: Awakening will be among the first 3DS games with paid DLC. (Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy is the first.) The first round of DLC for the game will be free until May 31, 2012 in Japan. After that people would have to pay for both the original DLC pack and future updates. The European DLC schedule has not been released yet, which is understandable as the game doesn’t even have a solid European release date.
Fire Emblem: Awakening will also make permadeath optional. Permadeath is a hallmark of the Fire Emblem series. If someone falls in battle in almost every entry in the series, it means that character is dead and you can no longer use him or her again. The 3DS version will allow that feature to be turned on and off, to make it more accessible to newcomers.
No word from Nintendo of America yet, but I think we can safely treat this news as a worldwide announcement. Almost every recent Fire Emblem release has been localized, after all.