Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade is a Japanese tactical role-playing game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo. The game was released on March 29, 2002 in Japan as the sixth game in the Fire Emblem series, and the first of three games in the series released on Nintendo's Game Boy Advance handheld.
It was the last Fire Emblem game to be released exclusively in Japan until the release of Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem. The Binding Blade was followed by a prequel, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, set twenty years earlier.
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was the end result of a rocky development cycle that began with the development of the Nintendo 64 project Fire Emblem: Ankoku no Miko, which was cancelled in 2000. This followed internal drama that began the previous year when Shouzou Kaga, creator of the franchise and a principle creative figure in its development since its inception, left Intelligent Systems to found an independent game studio of his own. Nearly all work on Ankoku no Miko was scrapped as development was rebooted and the project was moved from the N64 to the Game Boy Advance. A whole new setting was also devised for the game, separating it from the world and continuity of the original five entries.
- See also: Elibe Series
1,000 years before the events of the game, the land of Elibe was the scene of The Scouring, a brutal war between humans and dragons over the control of the land. Late in this war, mankind forged nine powerful dragon-slaying weapons, the Divine Weapons and the Binding Blade, and gave them to eight powerful fighters who became known as the Eight Legends to use to finish the war. However, the sheer power imbued in the weapons tore apart the balance in the laws of nature when clashed with the dragon's own power, a phenomenon later called the Ending Winter.
After the war, fearing the power of the weapons and the possibility of someone using them to cause a catastrophe, the weapons were sealed away in hiding places across the continent. Over the thousand years, the weapons remained undisturbed, and the continent is mostly at peace.
However, this peace is soon ended when Bern suddenly invades Sacae and Ilia and swiftly takes control of the two countries. They then turn towards the small country of Lycia. Roy then leads the League of Lycia's army against the forces of the militant country of Bern shortly after his father falls ill.
Roy, the son of Marquess Eliwood of Pherae, a district of Lycia, is studying in Ostia, Lycia's capital, when he is called back home to lead Pherae's army to join up with the rest of Lycia's armies at Araphen, in order to defend against possible attacks by Bern, Eliwood being too ill to lead the army himself. Upon arriving in Pherae, he finds that the castle and surrounding villages are under attack by bandits. Eliwood is defending the castle as best he can, but his illness is preventing him from being very effective. Ostia's Princess Lilina, a young mage who had gone to Pherae ahead of Roy, is also holed up in the castle. Roy must fight to save his father and friend.
After defeating the bandits, Eliwood charges Roy with taking Pherae's army to Araphen, and provides him the services of Merlinus, a merchant who works for Pherae. Meanwhile, Lilina returns to Ostia. Roy heads north towards Araphen, and stops at a village near the Bern border to wait for some reinforcements. While he is waiting, a young cleric named Elen runs into him and begs him to help her save her mistress from a nearby Bern castle. Merlinus doesn't like this, but then Bern soldiers appear and they become forced to fight. During the battle, Dieck's mercenary group arrives to bolster Roy's forces.
It turns out that Elen's mistress is none other than Princess Guinivere of Bern. She wishes to meet with a Lycian leader to see if there is anything she can do to avoid the outbreak of war, and Roy offers to take her to see Hector.
Once they reach Araphen, though, horrible news is waiting for them: Bern's army has already attacked and obliterated the combined forces of most of the Lycian territories. Roy's army is able to retake Araphen Castle, and they find Hector locked up in the dungeon—however, his wounds are too serious for him to live much longer. He informs Roy that the major reason for the horrific defeat was that Bern was using Dragons, and tells Roy that he must become the leader of what remains of Lycia's armies, before passing away. Roy decides to head to Ostia to regroup, and inform Lilina about her father's death.
With the Lycian alliance in shambles, the Marquess of Laus, Erik, makes a pact with Bern and the Dragon General Narcian and betrays the Lyican alliance. Roy and his army later travel through Laus's territory and are attacked by Erik and Laus's army, but the latter is soundly defeated.
On the way, they save a village from bandits, and are met by Saul, a representative of the Elimine Church. He reveals that Guinivere has actually stolen the Fire Emblem from Bern, and questions her as to why. He and his bodyguard, the archer Dorothy, join Roy.
Passing through Thria, they stop at Thria Castle in order to pay respects to Hector's cousin Orun, who runs that area. However, treachery is afoot and Orun's advisor, Wagner, has assassinated Orun and taken control of the castle, also taking Sue, a Sacaen Princess, who was under Orun's care, prisoner. He attempts to ambush Roy, but Roy is warned of his plans by a thief in the area, Cath, and he is able to defeat Wagner and save Sue.
Having arrived in Ostia, things are not looking well. General Leygance has revolted and taken control of the city, along with most of Ostia's remaining army, and taken Lilina prisoner. He's planning to keep Lilina as a hostage only for a short time, though; secretly, he wants her to be murdered during the fray. Roy first has to make it to the castle, as the streets of Ostia are swarming with Ostian rebellers, as well as a Wyvern Rider unit lent from Bern. Fortunately, he has some help from some Ilian mercenaries led by Zelot, who were hired by Hector and have refused to join the rebellion. Once he finally makes it inside the castle, he gets further help in the form of Barth's unit of Ostian loyalists, saves Lilina, and defeats Leygance, putting an end to the rebellion.
Lilina joins Roy's quest and tells him that she was entrusted with information as to the whereabouts of the legendary sword, Durandal, by her father. So they head to the cave it is kept in to retrieve it.
While they are gone, however, Narcian and a Bern Wyvern unit overrun Ostia. It seems that the recovery of the city was for naught; however, shortly afterwards, Etruria's Mage General Cecilia and Knight General Perceval bring several divisions of Etruria's army to the city and force Narcian to leave. Having only a fragmentary army, Roy places Lycia under Etrurian protection for the time being.
As part of the deal, Etruria is allowed to use Lycia's army for its own purposes. And so they send Roy and the army to the Western Isles to deal with the numerous bandit problems they are having. Guinivere is left in Cecilia's care.
Bandits do indeed seem to be a big problem on the Isles, as just as soon as they arrive, they come under attack by a group of them. But things are not always as they seem, and after speaking to locals of the area, Roy discovers that it is actually the Etrurian nobility on the isles that, in most cases, is behind the bandit activities.
Roy heads to various areas on the Isles to help the citizenry, where he meets the bard Elffin and the dancer Larum, along with other members of the force resisting the Etrurians on the islands, who confirm that this is indeed the case. And so Roy heads to the capital, Jutes, to end the oppression. It was here where Roy first saw for himself one of Bern's Dragons.
After crushing the head of Etrurian corruption in the Western Isles, Roy begins to return to Etruria to make his report to Cecilia. Before that, however, first they visit a cave near Jutes in order to search for another one of the Divine Weapons, the Thunder Axe Armads. Upon leaving the cave, having found the weapon, though, they are greeted with terrible news: Etruria's Roartz and Arcard have overthrown King Mordred and given Etruria over to Bern. Because of this, Cecilia has been forced to escape from the capital with Guinivere, and Percival and the Great General Douglas have been forced to work for Roartz lest they want the King killed.
Cecilia is gathering an army to fight Roartz in Missur, but Bern's armies are closing on her position, so Roy immediately heads to help her. But it seems they are too late, as King Zephiel defeats Cecilia in one hit, seriously injures her, and captures his sister Guinivere.
However, all is not lost. Zephiel makes the mistake of leaving the defense of Missur to Narcian, who leaves for other places, leaving his lieutenant Flaer in charge. Furthermore, he leaves Guinivere in the care of her personal guard, Miledy, who cares more about Guinivere's wishes than Bern's. And so Guinivere convinces Milady to join the Lycian Army, and Roy retakes Missur. Also, Cecilia's wounds have been treated by Sophia, a Shaman from Arcadia, who was locked in the dungeon with her, and she is well enough to join the army along with Sophia as well.
Bern's army is attacking Arcadia, the City of Dragons. Roy heads to their rescue. A blinding sandstorm reduces visibility and makes it hard to move, but the Lycian Army manages to make it to Arcadia and defeat the occupying force before Bern's reinforcements arrive. While there, they retrieve the Divine Anima magic, Forblaze, from the temple, and learn more about Dragons and The Scouring from the elders.
Roy sets off to return to Etruria to put an end to Roartz's rebellion. However, Fae, a young Manakete from Arcadia, tries to follow him and ends up being captured by Bern forces, resulting in Roy having to go to her rescue. Elffin also manages to convince Perceval, who had come to attack the Lycian Army under orders from Roartz, to join Roy's side, by revealing his secret identity.
Dragon General Murdock informs Narcian that King Zephiel is furious with Narcian for failing to take the Western Isles, Arcadia, and failing to detain Guinivere, and is ordered to take charge the defense of the capital of Etruria, Aqueleia, as well as demoting him from Dragon General and promoting Galle in his stead.
As Roy's army storms the castle, Roartz and Arcard escape out a secret entrance. Narcian falls, and Roy and Douglas reinstate the King. Douglas and the head of the Elimine Church, Yoder, then take Roy to the Elimine Church's tower, also known as the Pinnacle of Light, where the Divine Light magic, Aureola, resides.
Having returned Etruria to its own control, stifling the corruption on the Western Isles, and with Lycia still under Etrurian protection, there remained the occupied countries of Ilia and Sacae, along with Bern itself, still hostile. Roy led the combined might of the Lycian and Etrurian armies through either Sacae or Ilia (depending on certain factors of your gameplay), to hit Bern from the north.
Along they way, they fought Roartz and Arcard, left by the Dragon Generals Brunya or Murdock (Brunya if in Sacae, Murdock if in Ilia) to guard locations in those countries in return for running away from Etruria. During the trip, they acquired one more Divine weapon, and at the border of Bern, Yoder came to join the party with another; the bow, Murgleis (if you went to Ilia), or the lance, Maltet (if you went to Sacae). He also carried with him the Saint's Staff.
Progressing south through Bern they come across the Shrine of Seals, guarded by the Dragon Generals Murdock and Galle. It is a difficult fight, with masses of Wyvern reinforcements, but Roy prevails. And upon reaching the shrine, they find an entrance into its eerie depths... within, they find the seventh Divine weapon, the Dark Magic Apocalypse.
Upon returning to the surface, Roy proceeds to the altar containing the Binding Blade and places the Fire Emblem into the handle, unsealing the sword. Through its power, he is spontaneously promoted to Master Lord.
The army then assaults the capital of Bern. Roy and company invade the castle, and find that Zephiel has locked himself in the center of the castle, in an area which can only be opened from the outside by the Fire Emblem. Unfortunately for him, Roy has the jewel, and Zephiel falls.
Taking possession of Zephiel's Eckesachs, the eighth and final Divine weapon, causes the set to resonate and show Roy the location of the Dragon Temple, where Idunn, the Demon Dragon responsible for creating Bern's War Dragon army, resides. They immediately set off for this location, to try to stop Idunn from carrying out Zephiel's orders even after his death.
Along the way, they run into Brunya, the last Wyvern General standing. She attempts to stop Roy from entering the temple, but ultimately fails, and the last of Bern's resistance dies with her.
However, a more fierce opponent awaited them inside the temple: Jahn, a real Manakete, not one of Idunn's War Dragons. He had remained hidden here for a thousand years regaining his strength after taking a grievous wound in the Scouring, and was the one who informed Zephiel about Idunn's existence. However, even he succumbed to Roy, supported by the Divine weapons.
Finally, Roy entered Idunn's chamber. He attempted to persuade her to stop following Zephiel's orders, but in her soulless state, that was not possible. There was no choice left but to fight her. Striking the final blow with the Binding Blade, which had sealed her 1000 years ago, there was a flash and her draconic form disintegrated, leaving her in her human form, unconscious. Without the power of the Dark Dragon to keep it stable, the weight of 1000 years came down on the Dragon Temple, causing it to fall to pieces.
Guinivere became the new ruler of Bern, despite her fears that she would be despised by the populace for her 'treachery'. Lilina took up her role as leader of the Lycian League and Elffin returned to Etruria. The world was at peace once more, but the work had just begun. There was much repair work needed for areas which had been struck by the war, and many positions previously filled by traitors such as Roartz needed to be refilled.
Idunn was taken to Arcadia, where the elders restored her soul to her body. Despite this, it was expected that she would never recover from over a millennium as a Demon Dragon. However, that was not true as Idunn smiled and laughed after a fruit fell on Fae's head. After experiencing that, Fae went on to tell Roy that she laughed. As Idunn is following her, she feels a warm breeze.
- See main article: List of characters in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
Counting both characters available in the game's main story and through the Trial Maps, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has a roster of sixty-two playable characters. This statistically gave the game the largest roster among handheld entries in the series until the release of Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem.
- See main article: Chapters (Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade).
- See main article: List of classes in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
- See main article: List of Music in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade.
The soundtrack was composed by series mainstay Yuka Tsujiyoko. In addition to its original music, Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade also features versions of songs from Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War; the character recruitment theme of Genealogy of the Holy War is reused as is the general battle theme, which is used as the game's arena and multiplayer battle themes. The player turn's music for the Trial Maps was also taken from the player turn's music from Fire Emblem Gaiden.
Representation in Other Games
Roy appears as an unlockable character in the Nintendo GameCube fighting game Super Smash Bros. Melee. He was originally intended to only be included in the Japanese version of the game in order to promote the then upcoming release of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade alongside Marth, the classic protagonist of the first and third Fire Emblem titles. Roy was planned to be dummied out of the western release of SSBM, but was kept in at the request of localization and QA staff at Nintendo of America.
The appearance of Roy and Marth in the game can be credited with helping bring Fire Emblem games to North America, beginning with Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. Roy and Marth both speak Japanese in Melee, as neither character had English actors at the time and all voices were shared between regions.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl includes a gameplay feature involving collectible in-game stickers that can be used to customize the stats of characters by applying them to the given character's trophy base. Several stickers that appear are of characters from The Binding Blade, including Roy, Lilina, Rutger, and Dieck.
Roy did not return in Super Smash Bros. Brawl . However, data found within SSBB shows that he may have originally been intended to return having both an unused graphics effect file (
ef_roy.pac) and an unused fanfare but Roy likely didn't return due to time constraints.
Roy is once again an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a member of the default release roster. Lilina appears as a Spirit.
- Like its prequel, Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, The Binding Blade draws heavily from Arthurian mythology and the Song of Roland. Characters in FE6 whose names are inspired by Arthurian characters include: Guinivere, Bors, Perceval, Igrene, Gorlois, Niime, Narcian, and Lance. Characters inspired by the Song of Roland include the Eight Legends and Ogier.
- The Binding Blade is the first Fire Emblem game to have absolutely no connection to the continent of Archanea. Gaiden was connected through Palla, Catria, Est, and Zeke, and the Jugdral Series features Naga.
- The Binding Blade is the last game in the series thus far where the camera pans clockwise across the battlefield as a preview before the player is taken to the prep screen. In every subsequent game (even remakes of games that had this feature), the player can only view the battlefield manually.
- In March 2019, cartridges of several unreleased Chinese translations of GBA games, including The Binding Blade, were offered for sale (), and later dumped (, ).
- This makes it the first Fire Emblem game to be officially translated into any language, before Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade.
- An officially released Chinese localization of a Fire Emblem game wouldn't happen until 9 games later, in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, where it's included as a language option in the Japanese version.