Following yesterday’s dramatic E3 trailer for Three Houses, a few media outlets had a chance to try out a demo build of the game. Among them were Gamespot, who posted an insightful gameplay preview.
In this roughly 8 minute video, they showed off various gameplay snippets and talked about the game flow. As we now know, the game is divided into two parts: the “school phase” and the “war phase” 5 years later. Apparently the school phase lasts a full year or 12 months.
According to Gamespot, the weapon triangle is no more. Also, children do not make a re-appearance and romance has yet to be confirmed, but you can definitely build relationships, at least during the school phase. Finally, you can recruit students from other houses for the war phase, although we don’t know the exact limitations.
That’s about all the important new details, but there’s actually a lot more if you study the video in depth. Fans may be interested to know that the legendary heroes of Fódlan, previously translated as the 10 Greats, are the 10 Elites. Also, Byleth’s mystery crest is the Crest of Flames and his/her sword is the Sword of the Creator.
Also, as a reminder, Three Houses will be featured in today’s Treehouse Live segment (which can be viewed here). Apparently it’ll be the first game featured, which kind of makes up for its absence yesterday. Treehouse Live starts at 9 am PT/12 pm ET, so at the same time as the Nintendo Direct.
Otherwise, please keep reading for a full analysis of the Gamespot video!
The first thing to pop up is a window showing Dorothea’s suggestion to switch her study goals from Sword and Reason to purely Sword. All suggestions come with a blurb from the student themselves. As we learned earlier, you can choose to accept or decline suggestions.
This seems to be related to the Set Goals option during weekday classes, where you can choose up to 2 Professor Levels (aptitudes or skills) for students to focus on. For those unaware, Professor Levels expand on traditional weapon levels. Increasing them lets you use better equipment, learn new skills and combat arts and access better classes.
Studying is just one facet of the monastery/academy. During weekends, you can explore the monastery grounds. In the footage, it’s currently the 8th month, the Verdant Rain Moon. I named it the Falling Rain Season, but I like their name better. This appears to be the 5th month assuming you start on the 4th one.
The male protagonist–Byleth–is standing near the Dormitory – 1st Floor. This is located towards the west side of the monastery. Later on, we learn he’s actually left his personal quarters. You can also see a dog, as well as an owl (a relative of Feh’s perhaps?) flying in the distance.
More importantly, his Stroll Gauge aka “actions points” has a maximum value of 4 when his Instructor Level is at D+. This means he can take 4 actions today. Also, the current mission is “Head to battle on Magdred Way”. Presumably this is related to the main story. Magdred is also a location you can visit during the 6th month.
The game doesn’t take place entirely in the school; you can engage in traditional Fire Emblem battles outside the academy as well. The above shot shows Dimitri as a Cavalier or Paladin triggering a powerful Gambit Boost. This occurs when you use a Battalion’s Gambit with allies nearby.
We see the calendar for the Verdant Rain season next. It seems most of the footage from the video comes from this month. There are at least two birthdays (on the 3rd and 21st), but otherwise not a lot going on. Maybe the player has already completed most of the tasks and side-activities.
Importantly, when starting a new teaching week, players have the option of completely skipping the teaching part (when you create a lesson plan, tutor, set goals, etc.). This may be helpful for those who are more interested in the battles. Of course, it’s hard to tell how effective the automatic tutoring will be…
Each week, you can assign two students a Group Task. Edelgard and Bernadetta are already assigned to “Sky Watch”, which we’ve seen before in Famitsu and the official site. From the looks of things, you can assign multiple group tasks, provided you have enough action points (4 right now) and students.
Next, we get a new glimpse of the Set Goals screen. As mentioned, you can select up to two Professor Levels for students to focus on. Looking at the list of foci, there’s nothing that looks crazy. Although I forget Dorothea has a strength in Sword. Huh, is there a Mage Knight or Fighter class waiting for her?
Here’s a quick screenshot of Caspar wanting to take an exam to promote from a Noble to a Soldier class. The exam asks for D or higher in Lance and it seems he’s achieved that, allowing for a 100% pass rate. After Noble/Commoner, everyone has access to the four Beginner classes: Myrmidon, Soldier, Fighter and Monk.
We saw the calendar earlier, but here’s a better look with all the menus available. The options available are, with the older translations in brackets: Explore (Stroll), Seminar (Class), Battle (Venture), Rest (not many ways to translate this!), Marketplace (Shop), Certifications (Examination) and Skip.
Explore is exploring the monastery, Seminar lets you give weekend lessons or take them yourself, Battle involves optional skirmishes and paralogues, Rest restores motivation, Marketplace refers to shopping for weapons and supplies, Certifications is for taking exams and Skip is to skip to certain days or side-activities.
Here’s your Personal Quarters! This looks like the top-most room along the western dormitories. There’s a Bulletin Board in your room, which you can use to quickly check Quests. Nearby to the east is the Officer’s Academy containing the three classrooms belonging each of the three houses.
Are you feeling hungry? Well, it’s around dinner-time for me. In the Mess Hall, you can enjoy Today’s Special or the Full Menu. Both options let you share a meal with others. After choosing, you can pick from a list of dishes. Each dish requires certain ingredients. Also, you can see who enjoys this dish.
To save you the hassle, here’s all the highlighted dishes:
You may have noticed that the people who enjoy a particular dish can include students from different houses–and even teachers. So far, we’re not sure if you can recruit other students or teachers during the school phase; this simply allows you to interact and gain support points with them.
Also, when selecting the Pickled Rabbit Skewers, there’s a young boy in the bottom-right corner of the list, below Claude, who we’ve never seen before. We don’t know if he’s a student–although this is probably unlikely since Lysithea is said to be the youngest and he looks way younger than her.
I have a feeling he may become a playable character during the war phase, once he’s all grown up. It’d be funny if he was kind of like the Donnel or Mozu. Although by that time, you’re probably halfway through the game.
Moving on, we get to see the English version of the monastery map. To the east of the Officer’s Academy is the Reception Hall, then the Knight’s Hall further east from there. You can use the map to fast-travel to landmarks and check the locations of students and teachers, etc.
Of note, it’s confirmed that “Lysithea” is the proper spelling for the mage prodigy from the Golden Deer. Likewise, “Catherine” is the tough-looking lady who was seen flying through the air with a sword. But there’s one more: a new character called Rodrigue in the Knight’s Hall.
The map also indicates instructors you can speak to, to undergo Faculty Training. In the footage, these are Catherine and Jeralt, indicated by the hourglass icon. You can spend action points to boost the protagonist’s Professor Levels, which we’ll also see much later on. It’s cool that you can receive training from your father, Jeralt, too.
Now for something quite different. This screenshot shows the classes that your students can progress towards. I believe this screen can be accessed via the Lesson Plans menu. We can see all the (male) Beginner, Intermediate and even Advanced classes! Also, the scroll bar suggests there may be a higher tier below Advanced…
For those who haven’t been keeping up (or need a refresher), the Intermediate classes are: Mercenary, Thief, Armored Knight, Cavalier, Brigand, Archer, Brawler, Mage, Dark Mage and Priest. See this page for more info.
This is the first time we’ve seen the Advanced classes, so I’m just gonna guess them: Hero, Swordmaster, Rogue, General, Paladin, Wyvern Rider, Warrior, Sniper, Gladiator (completely made this up; it’s the Gauntlet/Fist class), Sage and Bishop.
By the way, the class system is quite different in this game. When you class-change, your Level isn’t reset. Also, you can wield pretty much any weapon in any class, but Magic is restricted, and Gauntlets are for foot-based classes only. Also, there isn’t a predefined class tree; you can hop to any class provided you meet the exam conditions.
Speaking of exams, here’s Edelgard trying to become a Cavalier. The exam demands C or higher in Lance and D or higher in Riding. She doesn’t meet either and has a 0% success rate. Ouch, better get back to studying… Interestingly, Knight is now called “Armored Knight” like in the Japanese releases. Finally!
Also, we’ll come back to this menu later.
It’s the same calendar again, but with some slight differences! Next to the top four options are percentages for “global activity”. From what I understand, these reflect the choices made by players across the world. So if you’re curious to know how many people went to Battle or were lazy and chose to Rest, you can find out!
Pressing the “-” button also opens the Statistics (Rankings in the Japanese version), which I assume provide detailed information about the global activity. Another thing, there’s a “House vs House Lance Tournament” happening, presumably on the 24th. These seem to be the arena-like battles seen in the previous trailer.
Let’s check out some battles next. Above is the zoomed-in, low-angle camera that we saw in the debut trailer. This camera shows all the soldiers in each battalion and serves as a happy medium between the in-battle scenes and the traditional birds-eye view map.
But if you prefer the traditional zoomed-out camera, it’s still there of course! Here we see the Blue Lions in action. Felix is about to trigger a Gambit for Byleth. In the background, you can see breakable fences (indicated by a breakable icon) near the top-left corner of the screenshot on the right.
As the player selects Byleth as the target, we learn something new! Byleth’s golden sword is known as the “Sword of the Creator”. This too was teased by thanibomb earlier. By “creator”, I’m assuming it’s referring to the Goddess. Are the three house leaders’ bone weapons also weapons of the Creator? Or perhaps lesser versions?
Anyway, this particular Gambit is called “Stride” and provides some sort of buff. I think it’s what I called “Godspeed Preparation”, which buffs movement of nearby allies by a whopping 5 tiles.
The post-battle screen confirms my suspicions, as we can see Felix’s Battalion: the Seiros Holy Monks. Earlier, we learned that the Seiros Monk Squadron can use Godspeed Preparation–and I am pretty sure they’ve been localised to “Seiros Holy Monks”.
Well, isn’t this fancy? This is the first time we’ve seen the battle preparations screen and it looks vastly improved. Options include: Fight (in the middle), Units (probably where class-change and assigning Assistants occurs), Inventory, Save, System, Quit, Marketplace, Support and Map.
Also, pressing “X” will show the conditions for the battle. Of note, the marketplace sounds really handy. In most games, you could only purchase items before entering a battle, not during the battle preparations phase. The support option also suggests that support conversations are triggered outside of battle.
Here’s Edelgard’s Certifications menu again, but showcasing a lot more of the classes. You can check them all out above. When the cursor goes to Noble, we can see the description, which refers to the legendary heroes. They are officially known as the 10 Elites. Hey, I was close with the 10 Greats!
We learn that during a student’s birthday, you can invite them to a tea party. Sounds fun. Oddly though, Edelgard’s birthday is on the 22nd of the 6th month, yet you can invite her to tea during the 8th month. Maybe on birthdays, you have an extra-special tea party? Anyway, this costs 1 action point.
There’s a Gift option, which I think lets you choose an item to give as a present. In the previous Famitsu article, we learned that flowers grown from the greenhouse can be gifted. Maybe this boosts support points? The remaining option is “Lost Items”, which is probably returning an item found on the floor like in Animal Crossing.
We jump to Pegasus Knight Ingrid about to take on a fearsome foe. This is a “Demonic Beast”, a new type of foe that occupies multiple tiles. The one she’s fighting is called a “King of Beasts” and it wields a “Cracked Crest Stone”.
Hmm, we’ve seen a Black Beast wielding a Crest Stone of Gautier before. This is highly suspicious. Although it’s called a King of Beasts, I wonder if it’s actually a lesser monster with an imperfect (broken) crest. While the Black Beast is a stronger one with a complete crest? By the way, the beast seems to be inflicted with Distress, from an earlier Gambit.
Check out an English Level Up screen! The stats are HP, Strength, Magic, Dexterity (formerly Skill), Speed, Movement, Luck, Defence, Resistance and Charm. I dunno why they decided to rename Skill all of a sudden, even if it’s not wrong. Maybe there was too much confusion with special skills? We may learn what “Charm” does later.
Here’s the result of sharing a meal. Linhardt seems to be teasing Caspar; it seems the pair have an interesting relationship as Caspar remarks about Linhardt in an earlier Famitsu article. Anyway, the player earns support points between the protagonist, Linhardt and Caspar, plus increased motivation for the two students.
Yo! It’s female Byleth. She was oddly missing from the new trailer. She seems to be unleashing a critical hit and her crest at the same time. Hang on, her crest is now the “Crest of Flames” instead of the “Crest of ???”. In case you didn’t know, that’s a synonym for “Fire Emblem”.
Also, I believe her crest is now at full power, if you look carefully at the shape of the icon (above her name). Now the icon matches the artwork of her crest. When it was the Crest of ???, its shape was cut in half. That said, it might be possible for her crest to grow further; who knows?
After the battle, we can see she’s Level 20 with experience to gain. Most likely, Level 20 isn’t the maximum Level, especially considering Levels aren’t reset after class-changing. We can also see her at Level 21 slightly afterwards. Any guesses what the final Level will be? I’m thinking 50 to 60, if there are Supreme classes.
We’re back at the academy, in a new area. Nearby, there’s an “amiibo Gazebo”. I have no clue idea what purpose this has, but at the least, we definitely know there’s amiibo support. Hopefully we’ll find out what kind of support soon!
Back to eating! By the way, I’ve already had lunch by this point of writing. That’s how long these things take, haha. The player has chosen a Daphnel Stew and is in the process of choosing people to invite. In the right screenshot, you can see two more characters with confirmed names: Seteth and Manuela.
Seteth is the character who I previously had as “Ceteth”. In the leaks, he was translated as “Setes”. Funnily, his English name turned out to be neither but a mixture of both! Anyway, he seems to start as a Wyvern Rider.
We jump to Dimitri using a Gambit on the King of Beasts. Now we can see the beast in battle! It’s certainly a big ‘un. Looking at the beast’s head, I can’t help but notice it resembles the white dragon from the E3 2019 trailer. It has similar horns and a flat area in-between that seems to have a crest. Is this actually a baby dragon or a mutation?
Here’s the next big scoop. You can potentially recruit students from other houses for the war phase 5 years later. Although I dunno what compelled the player to try and persuade Lorenz of all people. I’m sorry Lorenz fans. It seems you must meet certain conditions to recruit students.
In Lorenz’s case, he’s not convinced right now. Instead, you’re told to come back when your Charm stat and Reason Professor Level are higher. Also, from what I can tell, students might not join you straight away. Instead, when the war phase starts, they may decide to join you then. So this is probably investment.
Furthermore, I don’t think we know how many students can be recruited this way–and who. I doubt you can, say, recruit the house leaders considering they’ve got their own personal agendas. That said, there’s an option called “Mission Assistance”, which may let you temporarily borrow their help during the school phase.
Lastly, Rhea is a possible instructor for Faculty Training during weekends. Wow, you can learn straight from the archbishop herself! She can boost the protagonist’s Sword, Fighting, Reason and Faith levels. Of note, the protagonist has three stars in Faith, indicating a hidden talent. Also, you can give Rhea a gift. Aww.