New tactical strategy game Fire Emblem Engage has kept information on its new cast fairly scarce. While the game's official reveal trailer shown during the September 13 Nintendo Direct livestream event showed off a number of new playable characters, very little was shown about these characters besides their appearances. Instead, the trailer primarily focused on Fire Emblem Engage'sgimmick of summoning previous Fire Emblem protagonists to aid in battle. However, it was revealed that protagonist Alear is a Divine Dragon, which indicates a fairly unique direction for a Fire Emblem lead.
Alear is described as being a Divine Dragon who protected the kingdom of Elyos from war long ago. For unknown reasons, they were put to sleep for hundreds of years before being reawakened to once again fight for their country. They will oppose the Fell Dragon, and can use the Emblem Rings to summon Fire Emblem characters such as the iconic hero Marth to fight alongside them. Like the protagonists in Fire Emblem Awakening, Fates, and Three Houses, Alear's gender can be chosen by the player, with both male and female versions available.
What Is a Divine Dragon in Fire Emblem?
The Divine Dragons are an ancient tribe of dragons that have existed since the first game in the series, Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. They are one of several types of dragon that exist in the various Fire Emblem settings; other tribes include the Fire Dragons, Ice Dragons, and Dark Dragons. Divine Dragons are typically considered to be direct descendants of the goddess Naga, and are able to wield Naga's powers in battle. Using a weapon called a Dragonstone, Divine Dragons can switch between human and dragon forms. As dragons, they breathe out divine light that is often effective against dark-related enemies. In human form, Divine Dragons often have brightly colored hair and eyes; Alear continues this tradition with two-toned hair and heterochromia.
Very few characters throughout Fire Emblem history have been explicitly identified as Divine Dragons. The first is Tiki, a young dragon rescued by Marth in Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. Other playable Divine Dragons include Fae from The Binding Blade, who has a bright personality and childlike appearance, and Nagi from the remakes Shadow Dragon and New Mystery of the Emblem, who is thought to be a living avatar of Naga. While there have been several other playable dragons, including Myrrh from The Sacred Stones and Nowi and Nah from Awakening, they are referred to more generally as Dragons or Manaketes and not specifically as Divine Dragons.
Alear Is Only the Second Dragon Protagonist
Most Fire Emblem protagonists have been humans. Prior to Alear, only one dragon character has served as the protagonist of a Fire Emblem game: Corrin from Fire Emblem Fates. Corrin, a royal from the kingdom of Hoshido later adopted by the king of Nohr, becomes aware of their dragon transformation ability early in the game. Corrin can use a Dragonstone to transform into a dragon in battle, but can also fight in their human form wielding the sword Yato. Their dragon heritage ends up connecting deeply to the plot of Fates, as they turn out to have an unexpected connection with the game's dragon antagonist, Anankos.
While Corrin is the only transforming dragon to serve as a Fire Emblem protagonist, many previous protagonists were able to claim descent from dragons. In particular, Chrom and his daughter Lucina are believed to be descended from Divine Dragons because they bear the Mark of Naga on their bodies. Descendants of Naga also appear in Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy Warand Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 in the form of the priestess Deirdre and her descendants. Divine Dragons have typically played a major role in the backstory of Fire Emblem games, but Engage marks one of the first times that they have played such a central role.
They Could Mark a Return to Transforming Dragon Units
Alear was not shown transforming into a dragon form during the game's first trailer, leaving it unclear whether they will be a member of the Manakete class or a dragon who cannot or does not transform for some reason. Many fans are hoping that it will be the former. Although Fire Emblem: Three Housesfeatured dragon antagonists and playable characters descended from dragons, such as Seteth and Flayn, no playable dragons or Manaketes appeared in the game. Fans were disappointed by the lack of Manaketes, especially following Corrin's prominence in Fates, and are hoping to see Alear transforming into a draconic shape and wielding dragon breath in battle in future trailers.
Corrin has been confirmed to appear as one of the previous Fire Emblem characters who can be summoned by Alear and their allies. Hopefully, this signifies that dragons in general and Divine Dragons in particular will play a central role in Fire Emblem Engage after being sidelined in Three Houses and its spin-off Three Hopes. Fans will likely continue to theorize until more information regarding Alear and their allies is revealed in future trailers for the upcoming game.
Fire Emblem Engage will release on January 20, 2023 for the Nintendo Switch.