Intelligent Systems has created some of the greatest turn-based RPG’s ever. From Fire Emblem to Paper Mario, they have created games that have incredible longevity. Even though some of their franchises like Fire Emblem seem to be thriving, others have seemingly gone dark. One of these franchises is Advance Wars.. This strategy RPG franchise hasn’t seen an instalment since 2008 and there is no word on anything coming out in the future. So is this franchise dead in the water? Or is there even a sliver of hope? Let’s discuss the possibilities.
The latest Advance Wars news in recent memory was in December when Nintendo trademarked the series once again. Does this mean there may be an announcement in the future? It sure could. There could be something in the next Nintendo Direct, like the next game in the franchise or maybe even a re-release to see if there is still interest in the series, like the Crash Bandicoot N’Sane Trilogy did. But it may not be what fans want, for example it could turn out to be a mobile game (I’m sure Advance wars could work as a mobile games, but developers always find a way to dumb gameplay down and draw it out). Nintendo even trademarked multiple Advance Wars products so there could be a few renditions in the franchise that are coming out in the next few years. So what’s the bad thing about trademarking? Well, it often leads to nothing. It could just because Nintendo/Intelligent Systems renewed their trademark and ownership of the franchise so they don’t lose ownership.
There is sort of a curveball in this argument, and that is Fire Emblem. But how does Fire Emblem fit into this discussion? Well it’s made by the same developers that make Advance Wars, and it features the same kind of top down strategic gameplay. Fire Emblem’s popularity blew up in 2013, when it’s new game, Fire Emblem Awakening came out on the 3DS, and it’s become more and more popular ever since. Advance Wars hasn’t had a game come out since then, so we still don’t know whether or not the series could have piggybacked off of Fire Emblem’s popularity. The other issue is that the two franchises have a few key differences. Advance Wars doesn’t prioritize story or characters as much as Fire Emblem does. In Advance Wars, you just get random unnamed soldiers who you can just send out to die and there isn’t any story relevance to their death. The plot of the Advance Wars games are usually pretty basic and just background noise to actual gameplay. Fire Emblem is much more about their characters, whether they be main characters or just side characters, and the plot of their games always take centre stage. People who play Fire Emblem obviously love the gameplay, but they obsess over the characters, especially since in Awakening they can get married and have kids. I’m sure lots of Fire Emblem fans also love Advance Wars, but the differences in gameplay and structure might not mean there is a ton of crossover.
There is another game, however, that might help Advance Wars get another release, and that is Wargroove. Wargroove is an indie game made by Chucklefish that is identical to Advance Wars in terms of gameplay. I know that Wargroove is on a lot of people’s radar even though it has older-style graphics much like the classic Gameboy Advance Wars we all love. If it does sell well, maybe Intelligent Systems will take notice and consider developing a new game in the series. Wargroove also has a lot of different modes, gameplay changes and a lot of cool new ideas that the Advance Wars series could learn from.
No one can tell the future. Hell, there could be a Nintendo Direct tomorrow where they announce a new game in the franchise and it could sell millions, but in the same eye, we could never, ever get a new game in the series. I think there is some chance that we get some news in the coming months, that trademark could mean something, but I’m not exactly betting money on it. Until then, pick up your Gameboys and let’s play the Advance Wars map builder together!