Fire Emblem enthusiasts from around the world are undertaking the fandom’s largest group project to date. The Fire Emblem Compendium aims to gather fan art inspired by Nintendo’s popular strategy series, with one very ambitious goal: to curate illustrations of every single character from the franchise’s fifteen titles.
Series fans will immediately understand this project’s daunting scale. Fire Emblem is far from lacking in-game personalities; at 703 characters, the Compendium is covering every playable unit, as well as villains and side characters. Nintendo has undoubtedly pushed Fire Emblem as a flagship title since the success of 2012’s Awakening by incorporating it’s more popular characters into a number of games, most notably Super Smash Brothers. The Compendium pays respects to recognizable faces like Marth, Roy, and Lucina, but sheds equal light on more obscure characters.
The project is coordinated primarily through Discord and Twitter, where artists have gathered to encourage each other to keep up with their submissions. Since it’s inception, the website attracted hundreds of artists. The Compendium’s founder and organizer, Yayster is among many fans happily working together:
“I think the project surprised all of us in how successful it was. We knew there was interest, but the amount of applications was staggering! We actually crashed Google Sheets – something I didn’t even know was possible – and even after two hours of working through applicants, we were still on the first two minutes of submissions. It felt really humbling to have such a level of interest, and so many people interested in sharing their love of Fire Emblem”
Characters are the core of every Fire Emblem title. With the launch of Fire Emblem Heroes, it’s become abundantly clear that Nintendo sees great potential – and dollar signs – in the strength of their character design. The mobile title has introduced long forgotten faces to fans both old and new. The game’s main attraction is it’s massive roster, with each character drawn by professionals tapped by developer Intelligent Systems – usually artists already famous for their work in Fire Emblem titles. Heroes is a dream for those of us who always marveled the series’ official art, and with the Compendium fans are given a space to show off their own artistic interpretations of the series.
The project is a true love letter by fans, for fans. All levels of artistic skill are welcomed; the only qualifier is the artist’s dedication to the series. Community organizers set a reasonable two-week deadline for all submissions. Artists were invited to pick a first and second choice of character they wished to illustrate, on a first come first serve basis. As of launch, the Compendium has plans only for an online edition. After two weeks, nearly half of Fire Emblem’s massive roster has already been submitted to the main gallery. There is no set deadline for the project’s completion, but it is safe to say that Fire Emblem fans are the dedicated type (anyone familiar with the series’ infamous ‘permadeath’ feature understands what I mean).
The Compendium’s success is a boon to not only Fire Emblem fans, but gaming culture overall. The hard work put in by participants legitimizes games as a positive influence on a new generation of creators. By organizing such a spectrum of talent under one banner of series love, we get to see first hand the kind of impact a game can have on all kinds of people. Fans and developers seem to be living in a state of mutual respect for the series; there’s more to Fire Emblem than its sales numbers.
However, those very numbers were nearly the death knell for the series prior to Awakening’s success. Perhaps the fandom saw the threat of something they love going away forever, a fate that unfortunately befalls many franchises. Needless to say, Fire Emblem is an anomaly in a time where games face more critical scrutiny than ever before. It is one series that truly managed to tip the scales in it’s favor.
The Fire Emblem Compendium can be viewed at fecompendium.com