Fire Emblem: Three Houses was largely developed by Koei Tecmo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses

We’ve long known that Intelligent Systems was teaming up with Koei Tecmo to develop Fire Emblem: Three Houses. What we haven’t quite realized is just how essential this partnership was to completing the game. A new Famitsu interview with Director Toshiyuki Kusakihara from Intelligent Systems and Genki Yokota from Nintendo sheds some more light on this partnership.

How Koei Tecmo came to work on Three Houses

Coming from a translation of this interview by Oni Dino and Corks, Kusakihara and Yokota first stated that another team was brought on to help shorten development time to meet an end-of-2019 release window. The decision for that team to be Koei Tecmo came because of their work on Fire Emblem Warriors:

Kusakihara: Yes, FE Warriors had a lot to do with our decision to work with Koei Tecmo on this one.

Yokota: We decided that we wanted to release a Fire Emblem game on Nintendo Switch by the end of 2019 at the latest. However, it was looking like regular development was going to take some extra time, so we looked into getting another developer in the mix in order to shorten the length of production. At pretty much that exact same time, Koei Tecmo was making FE Warriors for us, and as a result of consulting with Mr. Hayashi (head of Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja), we ended up asking the Kou Shibusawa team to help out. That’s how things went.

Toshiyuko Kusakihara and Genki Yokota

Kou Shibusawa’s team is well-known within Japan for their work on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms franchise:

Speaking of the Kou Shibusawa team, they’re well-renowned for making SRPGs – they’re the best of the best. We knew it’d be great if we could get them on board, so we started hashing plans out again. It was only after we decided to work with the Kou Shibusawa team that we considered their sense of world-building with three balanced kingdoms.

Toshiyuko Kusakihara

What Koei Tecmo brought to the table

However, I think the most intriguing part of this collaboration was just how much Koei Tecmo put into Three Houses. Intelligent Systems only provided a small staff, and as such, Koei Tecmo did a large portion of the work. It all seemed to work out though, as both Kusakihara and Yokota seem impressed with what the team was able to do:

Kusakihara: In regards to staffing, Intelligent Systems provided Koei Tecmo with a minimum crew of several designers, a music composer, and an adviser to the programmers – not including myself, of course. We then left Koei Tecmo in charge of basic game development.

Was there any aspect of this style of development that you were particularly happy with?

Kusakihara: To put it simply, it was just fun (laughs). Koei Tecmo rounded up workers who were fans of the series, so the team was really motivated all throughout development. In the beginning, I was wondering what kind of pace they’d be able to keep, but as it turns out, the Kou Shibusawa team’s development skills are limitless! (laughs) I accidentally got a little greedy there and went overboard on the size of the game.

Yokota: Yeah, we never intended to put this much stuff in the game (laughs). It’s gotta be about twice as big as we set out to make.”

Toshiyuko Kusakihara and Genki Yokota

This collaboration certainly seemed to work out. Fire Emblem: Three Houses has been receiving amazing reviews! We even called it the best RPG of the year so far! I can’t wait to see more from these stellar teams!


Steven Rollins
Steven has been involved in video game reporting for over five years now. In his spare time, he can be found speedrunning, writing fanfiction, or watching as much anime as he possibly can.