The origins of Tokyo Mirage Sessions date back to 2011, during a point when Atlus was working with Nintendo on an app for the DSi and 3DS. Kaori Ando, a producer at Nintendo, approached her coworker Hitoshi Yamagami with the suggestion that they pitch Atlus the idea of working together on a crossover between Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei. Atlus initially turned down the pitch due to not having the time for the project, but in 2012 reopened talks with Nintendo regarding the idea.
The game was first announced to the public via a teaser trailer during a Nintendo Direct video presentation on January 23, 2013. The teaser consisted of character art from past Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei titles and was presented with the working title of Shin Megami Tensei x Fire Emblem.
For the following two years, information on the game was sparse. Yamagami revealed to the magazine Hobby Consolas in an interview published on July 9, 2013 that the game will be set in the modern era. Nearly a year later, on June 11, 2014, Yamagami and other members of Intelligent Systems held a Q&A during E3 focused on their just-announced new intellectual property Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. During the Q&A, the question of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE's status was brought up. Yamagami responded by saying that development was "on schedule", but did not elaborate any further.
On April 1, 2015, Nintendo unveiled the first proper trailer for the game in a Nintendo Direct, showcasing the game's look, as well as snippets of gameplay, cutscenes, and character interactions. It also showed some of the main protagonists and enemies.
The trailer was set to the song "Reincarnation," which in the game is a number one hit on the charts and performed by the character Kiria Kurono, a pop singer. Though the song has an upbeat tone, the lyrics reference darker desires to destroy, to disappear, and to be reincarnated. Music in general appears to be a central theme of the game, as musical references can be seen elsewhere, such as combat system's UI. In the Japanese version of the presentation, the game's Japanese title Genei Ibun Roku ♯FE, was announced. ♯FE , or Sharp FE, is another reference to music; a major thematic element of the game's presentation.
An E3 2015 trailer debuted on June 16, 2015 during Nintendo's Digital Event. The trailer showed the main characters in more detail, in addition to more snippets of gameplay. The trailer also put more emphasis on explaining how Fire Emblem characters fit into the game's universe as "Mirages." On June 17, Nintendo showcased the game during the Nintendo Treehouse livestream, where they demonstrated live gameplay in action for the first time, including elements of dungeon exploration and combat.
In a Nintendo Direct on March 3, 2016, it was confirmed that the game would retain its Japanese voices, but with English subtitles for western audiences.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE opens five years prior to the game's main events: at an opera attended by a young Tsubasa and Yashiro, everyone apart from Tsubasa vanishes without trace. In the present, Itsuki encounters Tsubasa at the One of Millennium talent audition event, where she is hoping to begin her career as an idol. The compare is possessed by a hostile Mirage, and everyone in the building apart from Itsuki and Tsubasa are stripped of their Performa, while Tsubasa is taken into the Idolasphere dimension. Itsuki follows, and both are attacked by hostile Mirages. Awakening to their Performa, they use it to cleanse the Mirages: their attackers are revealed to be Chrom and Caeda, who ally respectively with Itsuki and Tsubasa. With help from Touma, who is the Mirage Master to Cain, the party free the compare from the hostile Mirage's control, restoring order. Leaving the Idolasphere, they encounter Maiko, who offers them positions alongside Touma in Fortuna Entertainment so they can both forward their entertainment careers and help fight Mirage attacks alongside Kiria and her Mirage Tharja. They are aided by Tiki, who is suffering from amnesia similar to the other allied Mirages.
Further attacks follow at multiple locations throughout Tokyo, each focusing on leading entertainment and media figureheads being possessed by hostile Mirages: these Mirages are revealed to be merely servants of a greater power. During one mission, the group rescue producer Yatsufusa Hatanaka, who later keeps a close watch on them. They also gather new allies in the form of Eleonora and her partner Virion, and Mamori and her partner Draug, who was the former partner of and initially possessed Barry. On many missions, Yashiro and his partner Navarre watches and sometimes acts as an antagonistic force, before Itsuki's leadership and strength persuade him that he can help him avenge his father, the lead singer who vanished five years before. The group eventually find an item called a Dragonstone, which restores some of Tiki's memories. She reveals that she and the other friendly Mirages unsuccessfully attempted to stop the dark mage Gharnef summoning the Shadow Dragon Medeus into their native realm with a ceremony called the Opera of Shadows. Tiki was banished into the Idolasphere, which acted as an intermediate dimension between the real world and her world, and she was instrumental in preventing Gharnef from performing the Opera of Shadows a second time to enter the real world as his native realm had become drained of artistic energy. His attempt sparked the mass disappearance of five years before, and Tiki shielded both Tsubasa and Yashiro at the cost of her memories.
After this, the Cosmic Egg Stadium is consumed by an Idolasphere portal. Heading to the Cosmic Egg, the party are stopped by Hatanaka, who reveals himself to be the willing Mirage Master of Gharnef: the two are planning to perform the Opera of Shadows, summoning Medeus to consume the real world's Performa. The group recover Dragonstones from the conquered Idolasphere realms and restore Tiki's memory: she reveals that they must find the pieces of the Fire Emblem and perform the Opera of Light to summon the power of the Divine Dragon Naga, the only force capable of stopping Medeus. Collecting the Fire Emblem pieces, they learn the story of the Hero-King Marth, a warrior from ancient times who bested and sealed away Gharnef and Medeus. The group encounter and defeat Hatanaka and Gharnef, but their sacrifice coupled with the offering of the Hero-King Marth's soul completes the Opera of Shadows and summons Medeus. Traveling to the final Idolasphere realm, Itsuki is fatally injured by Medeus, but the Fire Emblem gems free Marth's soul, which saves Itsuki and allows the group to perform the Opera of Light and defeat Medeus. The Mirages, with their memories restored and Medeus gone forever, return with Tiki to their native realm.
If all the side stories are completed, a post-credits scene is unlocked where Maiko returns to modelling and makes Itsuki the new manager of Fortuna Entertainment.
In Tokyo Mirage Sessions, the main characters live in Tokyo; a key setting in many Megami Tensei titles. Existing alongside their world is a fantasy realm from which Mirages emerge. The Mirages, which serve a similar role to the demons found in traditional Megami Tensei games, are figures from the Fire Emblem series taken from the original and Awakening. The player characters form bonds with Mirages as a key part of their adventure. Villains from the Fire Emblem series also appear in the game as antagonistic Mirages of some nature, with characters such as Gangrel and Aversa from Awakening sporting demonic redesigns of their own.
An exception to this rule is Tiki, who appears in the game as her younger self from Shadow Dragon. In the game's world, she is restricted to a location called the Bloom Palace, from which she assists the party. An Uta-loid software suite (similar to a real-life Vocaloid such as Hatsune Miku) has also been created using her voice and likeness; a means for her to acquire Performa and maintain her form.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions is an RPG focused around the exploration of dungeons and turn-based party combat. When not in dungeons, the player explores familiar locations in the city of Tokyo and can interact with NPCs and visit shops. Dungeons take the form of multi-level labyrinths with light puzzle-solving and generally share a theme with the location they are found at. Within these dungeons are hostile Mirages that when touched trigger combat. The player character Itsuki is armed with a rapier while exploring the dungeon and the player can gain the initiative by stunning Mirages with a well-timed strike before starting battle.
Combat is turn-based and predicated on discovering and exploiting enemy weaknesses. As in both Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem, enemies are weak to specific magic or weapon types. The weapon types are based on the weapon types from Fire Emblem (Sword, Lance, Axe and Bow) while the magic types are based on the magic from Shin Megami Tensei (Fire, Ice, Electric, Force, Expel, and Death). The player can also trigger Session Attack combos where the other party members follow up the attacking character's blow with strikes of their own. As party members gain affinity, they can also learn Duo Arts where pairs of characters can combine their strength to deal high damage. Battle parties are restricted to a maximum of three party members at a time, but other party members can join in on Session combos while not in the active party if they have learned the appropriate Radiant Skill.
GamePad Integration Edit
The Wii U GamePad serves a variety of functions. One prominent function that it is used for is as a communication tool. A simulation of real-life chat applications like LINE, the player can use it to allow Itsuki to communicate with other characters and advance events in the game. The GamePad UI also distinguishes content related to the main story and sidequest content.
Character Advancement Edit
Mirage Master Advancement Edit
The human Mirage Masters are able to grow in strength and power through a pair of methods. One is by accruing experience points and leveling up. With each level gained, the characters receive stat increases. The other method is by learning Radiant Skills. Some Radiant Skills are command-based and allow the player to perform actions such as teleporting out of dungeons or affecting the frequency with which Mirages appear. Others are passive and offer a variety of effects such as increasing the number of a character's skill slots or allowing them to participate in Sessions while not in the active party.
Mirage Advancement Edit
Mirages, which take the form of Carnages in battle, are able to attain new Carnages when the player has acquired the proper materials to perform Carnage Unity. By using Carnages in battle, the Mirages can then in turn learn skills associated with that Carnage that they can add to their Command, Session, or Passive skill slots. They can also power up skills they've already learned, or overwrite older skills with newer ones.
Class Change Edit
Like in traditional Fire Emblem games, Mirages can use Master Seals to promote to new classes, with branching promotion options. For example, Caeda can promote from a Pegasus Knight to a Falcon Knight or Wyvern Knight. Class changes and other character enhancements such as Carnage Unity and Radiant Unity are performed at a special location called the Bloom Palace with Tiki's aid.
World Exploration Edit
The player explores wards of Tokyo such as Shibuya and Harajuku over the course of the game and can visit shops, businesses and key story locations, as well as talk to NPCs. To travel between major sections of the city, the player selects a location from the world map. If a region of the world map is currently under a Mirage attack, the location's icon on the map changes to reflect its current state.
Side Stories Edit
Side Stories are a special type of side quest offered in the game that function like more complex versions of support conversations seen in traditional Fire Emblem titles. Each party member other than the main character Itsuki, as well as the supporting characters Maiko, Barry, and Tiki, has three side stories. As the player completes each of a character's side stories, the character's title changes, and new bonuses such as Ad-lib Performances or Duo Arts are unlocked. Side stories come in multiple forms; some require no combat or Idolasphere interaction, others require hunting for specific enemies or special items within the Idolaspheres, and yet others are focused specifically on boss fights.
Completion of the game's side stories has an effect on each of the characters' individual epilogues at the end of the game. To get the best ending for a character, the player must complete all of that character's side stories. A special ending for Itsuki occurs if the player completes every side story in the game.
- See main article: List of characters in Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE
The original teaser trailer that debuted in January 2013 featured artwork of fifteen characters from the Fire Emblem series. The artwork used was existing character art originally created for their respective games. Because the trailer was a teaser and did not depict any assets from the actual production, it was not guaranteed that most of the characters that appeared in the trailer would have roles in Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE:
Of the characters listed above, only Caeda and Chrom appear in the game. Marth is referenced and his "spirit" makes an appearance at the end of the game.
Fortissimo Edition and Downloadable Content Edit
On September 11, 2015, it was announced that in Japan, a special edition of the game dubbed the Fortissimo Edition will be released alongside the standard edition in two forms; one featuring the game and some extras, and the other a Wii U console bundle. Both feature an artbook, a special vocal selection CD, free access to two sets of costume DLC, and a priority ticket to the Genei Ibun Roku #FE Premium Live show. The Wii U bundle also features character lyric cards, sticker sheets, and three "support quest" download codes.
Costume DLC for the game was also announced. All first-print copies of the game will come bundled with a code for a set of "collaboration costumes" that dress the party as characters from other Atlus titles, including Shin Megami Tensei IV, Devil Survivor 2, Persona Q, and Etrian Odyssey III. The Fortissimo Edition will also come with codes for an "original costume triple set" which includes a special "Fashion show" costume set for the female characters and swimwear for the entire playable cast.
The Fortissimo Edition (Special Edition in North America) was announced to be released in North America and Europe on June 24, 2016. It contains a copy of the game, a soundtrack for the game and promotional images and lyrics for the songs on the disc, a set of stickers, a concept art book, and DLC codes for Tokyo Millennium Collection, Costume Set, and Hunter Support Quest Pack.
When localization began for the western release of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE, concerns revolved around some of the game's content. Atlus was put in charge of translating the game to English, wanting the game's primary focus on Japanese idol culture to be retained as Atlus had done previously with numerous Shin Megami Tensei games. It was decided that the game would retain its complete Japanese audio dialogue, due largely in part because the game's songs are sung by the voice actors themselves. Nintendo supervised the game and the dialogue, changing aspects of the game so it could retain a "Teen" rating. With some of the changes to the character's profiles and some scenario changes, the original Japanese voice cast re-recorded several lines of dialogue to match the localization dialogue, giving the game more authenticity between the in-game text and the Japanese audio.
The teenage characters, Itsuki, Tsubasa, Touma, Eleonora, and Yashiro, all had their ages increased by a year, with the youngest (Eleonora) becoming seventeen and the oldest (Yashiro) becoming nineteen. Several aspects of the character costumes, PR Videos, and cutscenes received touch-ups and alterations to remove mainly cleavage. Maiko's backstory of being a gravure idol was changed to a fashion model and the chapter involving Tsubasa learning to overcome her shyness as a bikini model was changed to overcoming her shyness as a model in general. Additionally, a new outfit was created for Tsubasa as part of the story to replace the bikini she dons in the Japanese version. All audio and text related to the scene with the new costume was rewritten and recorded to match up with her new attire.
The Hot-Springs DLC, including its rewards, was not localized for the international versions of the game. The other costume DLC packs were released at the game's western launch.
The Japanese title Genei Ibunroku ♯FE is derived from Megami Ibunroku (女神異聞録, lit. Goddess Another Story), the prefix used to designate several spin-offs of the Shin Megami Tensei series in Japan.
The English title, Tokyo Mirage Sessions, abbreviates to TMS, which is the inverse of SMT, the abbreviation of the Shin Megami Tensei series.
The sharp symbol (♯) in the title is used to indicate both the role of music in its story and that this is a Fire Emblem spinoff, considering how a sharp note in music is a variation of the original note. It aligns with the concept that this game is a "variation" of the Fire Emblem series, considering its reimagined setting and different gameplay.
- Early trailers for Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE are prefaced with ESRB bumpers indicating that Nintendo of America originally expected the game to receive an M rating. However, the game ended up receiving a T rating. In the event that it had gotten an M rating, it would have been the first Fire Emblem game to receive an ESRB rating of Mature.
- Several NPCs that appear as clerks or other employees of Tokyo businesses in the game are based on Fire Emblem characters. Anna appears as the salesclerk in Hee Ho Mart, Aimee appears as the salesclerk at Carabia Jewelry, Cath appears as the clerk at Anzu Tokyo Store, and Ilyana appears as a waitress at Cafe Seiren.
- A number of shops and other businesses in the game have names and features that reference demons from the Shin Megami Tensei series.
- In addition to the Mirages based on Fire Emblem characters and classes, there are enemy Mirages based on demons in the Shin Megami Tensei series.
- The game's skill system makes use of skill and magic terminology taken from both Fire Emblem and Shin Megami Tensei. Command skills come from SMT (Zan, Mazan, etc), while Fire Emblem skills (Wind, Elwind, etc) function as Session skills.
- The Binding Shield appears in the game as a school crest on the party members' school uniforms.
- In the game's universe, there is a soft drink branded as Amrita. The drink takes its name from a status recovery spell that appears in Megami Tensei games and as Amrita Soda in Persona games. The Amrita spell also appears in Tokyo Mirage Sessions.
- Excluding Virtual Console releases, this is the first Megami Tensei title for a Nintendo home console since Kyūyaku Megami Tensei on the Super Famicom.
- The project that became Tokyo Mirage Sessions was the second Fire Emblem crossover proposed by Nintendo producer Kaori Ando. Initially, she had proposed a Fire Emblem crossover with Pokémon, but this idea was discarded when the Pokémon/Nobunaga's Ambition crossover Pokémon Conquest began development.
- Each of the party's Mirages have two promotion possibilities that appear to reflect the traditional Megami Tensei duality of Order and Chaos. For example, Chrom's promotion classes are Great Lord, a traditionally more powerful version of the Lord class, and Conqueror, a class that at the time of the game's production was exclusive to the antagonist Walhart in Fire Emblem Awakening.