I have spent at least 100 hours in various playthroughs of Fire Emblem Fates since it released. The game is absolutely fantastic and has endless amounts of replay value and interesting mechanics for new players and fans of the series.
One of these mechanics carried over from Fire Emblem Awakening, enabling you to raise support levels between units, allowing each character to have one S support that allows them to be married to another character.
Married characters then have children, whom the player can then recruit and utilize in their army. Children of units have stats and classes dependent upon the stats and class of their parent units, and can often be powerful, formidable units if built correctly. This is a unique mechanic that isn’t common in any other gaming franchise, making it fair game for improvement and adaptation in other series.
A major way it could be improved upon is the method by which these child characters fit into the narrative of the game; In Fire Emblem Awakening, time travel was a large part of the storyline, which made adult children of your protagonists, and fighting alongside them make some sort of sense.
In Fire Emblem Fates the incorporation of this mechanic has a somewhat flimsy connection to the plot, as it is never really explained how it is possible for the Fire Emblem Fates children to fight alongside their parents, aside from the fact that the protagonists hide their children in pocket dimensions in order to protect them. These pocket dimensions called Deeprealms apparently cause time to move faster than the standard passage of time in the normal realm, causing the children to age to adulthood during the events of Fire Emblem Fates.
While these child characters are interesting (and often times amusing) I would love to see a gaming franchise create a story across decades, where the player character’s children fight alongside an older, wiser version of their parents so that their inclusion seems at least somewhat plausible.
This would give game developers the freedom to create expansive stories that include the adventures of a warrior and then his/her children; developers could even expand on this by making your choices in the game impact what happens when you take the role of the child of your first protagonist, or changing how the child character grows and develops based on how powerful the parent characters are.
It would be nice to see a legacy based storyline, where the first protagonist could have an option of who to marry, which would impact the class and stats of their child, who would carry on the storyline after a certain point. In order to make it inclusive to LGBT characters, they could allow adoption, in which the player could choose the class and appearance of their child, while not having control over the inherited stats of their prospective child. This would allow for same-sex marriages and parents, and would also allow the player to opt out of marrying anyone, adopting a child and raising them alone instead.
The Fire Emblem Children and Marriage mechanic opens storytelling and gameplay doors for all sorts of developers to take advantage of; with storytelling in video games evolving at a rapid pace already, who knows what we’ll see in a year, two years, five years or even ten years. Video games as we know them could be entirely different.