Development of Melee began almost immediately after the release of the first Super Smash Bros. It was created within 13 months which series creator Masahiro Sakurai noted was particularly "destructive" to his own personal life and health. This short development window was due to Nintendo's desire to ship the title as a launch title due to the growing popularity of the N64 game.
Melee was designed to take full advantage of the Nintendo GameCube's higher processing power and feature many characters who could not be included in the first Smash game. The game was first revealed during E3 2001 where a playable demo version of the game was available and with a release date of November 21, 2001 in Japan, December 3rd, 2001 for North America, and later released to the rest of the world by May, 2002.
Melee is widely considered to be an important game for the Fire Emblem franchise as it is the first exposure of Fire Emblem in the west. The Fire Emblem franchise debut in the Smash series in this game through two representatives: Marth and Roy. Leif was briefly considered instead of Roy, however the latter was chosen as a means to promote the upcoming Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade. Prior to localization, the developers considered removing Marth and Roy from the game as the Fire Emblem series was purely Japan exclusive at the time. They were ultimately kept due to the favorable attention received by both characters during the localization, prompting them to keep them in all versions of the game. It is due in part to their representation in Melee and the solid sales of Intelligent Systems's other tactical RPG game Advance Wars that Nintendo would begin releasing the Fire Emblem series worldwide starting with the seventh title Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, simply called Fire Emblem.
Fire Emblem Characters
Marth, the protagonist of Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light and Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem made his first appearance in the Super Smash Bros. series in Melee as an unlockable character. Wielding his Falchion, Marth focuses entirely on sword combat, having no type of ranged or projectile attack. Marth's best damage is dealt when he strikes enemies with the tip of his blade.
Marth's model is based on the appearance in Mystery of the Emblem. Melee is also the first game in which Marth is voiced, and his voice is provided by Hikaru Midorikawa, who previously voiced him in the Fire Emblem anime.
Marth's Victories Phrases
- "今回は僕の勝ちだね。", "Konkai wa boku no kachi da ne?" which translates to "Don't you think this time is my victory?"
- "今日も生き延びることが出来た。", "Kyou mo ikinobiru koto ga dekita.," which translates to "Today, I have survived."
- "僕は負ける訳には行かないんだ。", "Boku wa makeru wake-ni wa ikanai n da!" which translates to "There's no way I can lose!"
Roy, the protagonist of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, made his playable debut in Super Smash Bros. Melee. He was included in the game as a promotional move for The Binding Blade. As a character, Roy's move set is identical to that of Marth but his moves are slower and more powerful. Roy's weapon, the Binding Blade, deals increased damage from the midsection of the blade, as opposed to the tip of Marth's Falchion.
Roy's three victory lines are:
- "苦しい戦いだった。 (Kurushī tatakai datta)", which translates to "It was a painful fight."
- "真の戦いは、これからだ。 (Shin no tatakai wa, korekara da)", which translates to "The true fight is yet to come."
- "守るべきもののために、負けられない! (Mamoru beki mono no tame ni, makerarenai!)", which translates to "For those whom I must protect, I will not lose!".
Fire Emblem Stages
The name of Marth's home continent in the game Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light appears in the game's debug menu among the other stage names. However, no other data for an Archanea stage exists in the game's code. Marth and Roy instead appear in the Temple stage from the Legend of Zelda series.
Fire Emblem Music
When choosing the Temple stage, holding the L and R buttons during the loading sequence will cause the normal Temple soundtrack to be replaced with a medley known as "Fire Emblem". This orchestrated track consists of two Fire Emblem songs, the first being the "Character Recruitment" theme from the first, third, seventh, and eleventh Fire Emblem games, followed by a remix of the main theme music after a short piano solo. Upon completion, the song loops. This song is also played when attempting to unlock either of the Fire Emblem characters and during certain event matches specially featuring Marth and Roy. This song is also known as "Together We Ride".
- In the game's debug menu, Marth's name is "Mars", an alternate romanization of Marth. ADV Films used the name Mars when they released the Fire Emblem anime in North America.
- Marth and Roy were initially planned to be removed from Melee's western releases due to their lack of familiarity with audiences outside of Japan, but this decision was reversed during the debug phase of the western release.
- Former competitive Super Smash Bros. Melee player Ken Hoang used Marth as his main character while he competed.
- Both Marth and Roy speak Japanese in all regional versions of the game, as well as all Smash Bros. games in which they appear through Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. This trait is unique to both characters, as Ike, Robin, Lucina, and Corrin have English voice acting in the Smash Bros. games that they appear in.
- The Fire Emblem franchise is the only franchise with playable characters, but no stages based in their universe.