One of the most tactical changes to combat made in Fire Emblem: Three Houses was the removal of the franchise’s staple weapon triangle. This combat system acted as a game of rock-paper-scissors. Axes beat swords, swords beat lances, and lances beat axes. While franchise veterans may bemoan this omission, Intelligent Systems director Toshiyuki Kusakihara said there was a good reason for this choice. It simply wasn’t realistic.
Talking to GameSpot, Kusakihara said the weapon triangle was more of a stylistic system and didn’t make sense realistically:
We think that the weapon triangle is somewhat of a stylized system, it isn’t really realistic. If you have a situation where a novice axe user takes down an advanced lance user, well, that makes sense? Probably not. So, we wanted to make something that comes across as more realistic to warfare and have players develop their weapons skills individually.
We wanted to center on developing the skills for these characters, and also give them a lot more freedom in terms of how they develop. So we’re really creating a weapon system that is less restrictive than our previous games.
The weapon triangle first came to Fire Emblem in Genealogy of the Holy War. I think it’s fascinating to note that Three Houses takes a lot of inspiration from Genealogy, yet decided to remove one of the most influential and long-lasting aspects of it. And though the triangle is gone, Three Houses features skills called Combat Arts which may be extra effective against certain types of enemies, so there’s still some form of advantage system in place.
What do you think about the removal of such a long-standing Fire Emblem feature? Are you happy to see the weapon triangle go, or do you think Three Houses be better with it back in place?