So, like, Byleth’s inclusion really upset me. Might have been the worst inclusion for me that I can think of for both Smash 4 and Ultimate in terms of general feelings, honestly. The guttural disbelief I felt when I realized what I was looking at, the thinking this was a joke, the thinking I was being duped out, the realization I wasn’t, all of it felt like Corrin or Piranha Plant (both reveals which I did not care for, to say the least) but to a more extreme. It felt like experiencing deja vu and that was the worst part.
I know a s*** ton of people are upset and disappointed and I’m not writing much original here. However, I’m gonna try to address the main thing that has bugged me about the inclusion: The divide. It feels not just divisive, but purposefully so. Sakurai and his team aren’t stupid. They had to have known the reaction to Byleth, or at least, a large part of one. He made note of it in his Corrin interview and that was one a half FE character ago. The trailer itself is tongue and cheek in regards to swordfighters and the like. And him being the final character in the Fighter’s Pass, when most everyone who would’ve gotten it already had made their purchase wouldn’t make their decision based on Byleth seems really suspicious to me. Which makes me feel, just, all sorts of off. Even with Hero, they tried to amend it to the Western audience with Banjo, as if being careful with it all. But with Byleth, it just seems like they don’t care.
And that’s a common statement I see. Sakurai doesn’t care what we think and he shouldn’t. That general line of thought. And if that’s the case, then alright. He’s a director that doesn’t care, I guess. It’s an odd thing to want to applaud, I think, but have at it.
And just the general thing I keep hearing from him on this being a celebration of gaming and all. I don’t understand how Byleth fits alongside everyone else on the Pass. It just feels… off. And I hear people say “Well, Three Houses is the best-selling FE game so it deserves it.” But how many times can we use that excuse? Awakening was the best-selling, so it got three characters. Then Fates was the best-selling, so it got Corrin. Now Three Houses was the best-selling, so we got Byleth. But what about other franchises? Xenoblade Chronicles 2 was the best-selling Xenoblade game, so it got a Mii costume and that sold better, iirc, than both Awakening and Fates (not combined, just generally speaking) but that doesn’t matter. Three Houses was the best-selling FE game, but there are a lot of games and franchises that sold better and are selling better, but they’re not being gifted a character with each release past a threshold. Hell, we don’t even get a Pokemon character per Generation like how we got FE characters at this point with one for each new game.
But sales don’t matter, right? Sakurai just loves Fire Emblem and Three Houses is great and all of that good stuff, so sales don’t matter. Then why does everyone go to it whenever explaining why Three Houses deserved a character. Why is that the jump made, almost immediately? Do they matter? Do they not? And if they don’t, are you saying that Sakurai bias does exist? And if not, what is the reason chosen over other first-party Nintendo games. Why was Corrin the only first-party DLC newcomer last game. Why is Byleth the only one you actually had to fully pay for this game? What about other franchises? I remember when people would say Spring Man and Rex and Elma and Inkling and all those characters were locks in Smash 4 and Ultimate because of “shilling” or whatever. But it seems like this tie-in mindset only ever really happens with Fire Emblem. Why? Is it Nintendo bias? Do they not care to try to sell or push other games such as Astral Chain? Daemon x Machina? None of them?
I guess, in the end, I just really don’t understand. I am not even really making a point with all this. I’m just venting my thoughts. This is probably the last time I’ll outwardly make thoughts like this on Byleth so I wanted to get it all out. It upsets me, largely cause it confuses me. What is the motive? Is there one? Is it really just “whatever the f*** Sakurai wants”? Is that a good thing? Is it only a good thing when one is personally appeased by said decision? Can it be a bad thing? I don’t know. I’ll tryto stop caring now. I just don’t understand the decision. It feels tonedeaf. It still hasn’t even fully registered for me. We actually got Three Houses DLC in a Fighter’s Pass where everyone assumed it would just be third-party, just like Smash 4 DLC all over again, every newcomer is third-party (+ Fire Emblem, for some reason). I joked about the possibility, and here I am, looking right at it. Whatever, I guess.