Official artwork of Roy from Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi.
|Debut:||Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)
Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (2002, Japan only) (Fire Emblem series)
|Console of origin:||Game Boy Advance|
|Japanese voice actor:||Jun Fukuyama|
Roy (ロイ Roi?) is the main playable hero in the sixth installment of the Fire Emblem series of tactical role-playing games. Roy was included in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a playable character for the purpose of "previewing" the sixth game, which was released in Japan after Melee, making him the only character thus far in the Super Smash Bros. series to be included for that purpose. His appearance in Melee, along with fellow Fire Emblem character Marth, increased global interest in the general franchise, prompting the series to be released internationally from the seventh installment onwards.
While HAL Laboratory obliged to include Marth as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Melee by popular Japanese demand, the sixth installment of Intelligent Systems' long-running Fire Emblem fantasy tactical-RPG series, Fire Emblem: The Sword of Seals (Fuuin no Tsurugi), was nearing the end of its development. Nintendo decided to include that game's main character, Roy, as a playable character in addition to Marth to serve as a preview of the game for Japanese audiences, making Roy the only character in the Super Smash Bros. series to be featured for that purpose. It was a successful ploy to Japanese audiences for both Melee and The Binding Blade, but since this involved a game franchise never distributed outside of Japan beforehand, Nintendo was wary of keeping the unfamiliar fantasy swordsmen in Melee in its North American and European releases, but decided to keep them in based on the approval of western gamers. Roy and Marth, as new and original anime-inspired characters with rather effective fighting abilities, became popular enough in Melee that the Fire Emblem franchise gained international attention from the gaming community.
Intelligent Systems followed up with the franchise's seventh installment, subtitled Rekka no Ken ("Blazing Sword") but whose North American version is simply titled "Fire Emblem", designed with the international scene in mind rather than Japanese exclusivity. To this end they made it a prequel to The Binding Blade, set in the same Fire Emblem universe and chronology twenty years before Roy's quest, and starring Roy's father Eliwood, whose somewhat older resemblance to Roy was meant to appeal to players of Melee. The game's story is laid out with ten introductory chapters starring one of Eliwood's allies, Lyn, meant to introduce players to the Fire Emblem style of tactical play, and the other 20+ chapters are the main game itself. Blazing Sword's story is also structured so that knowledge of The Binding Blade is not required, and if the sixth game were played after the seventh, it would feel like a direct continuation.
Roy, in the best tradition of Fire Emblem protagonists, is an upstanding and thoughtful fifteen year-old young man in The Binding Blade with a natural proclivity to help and support others, and while he would prefer to avoid bloodshed, he maintains a strong resolve to see peace return to the continent of Elibe, the medieval high-fantasy setting of both games. Unlike most young protagonists, however, he is perceptive and cunning for his age, such as tricking a traitorous vassal in his group into exposing himself, and he often reacts calmly and tactically to disturbing news. Roy is also quite oblivious to the obvious feelings that some of the women in his army develop for him. Also steeped in series tradition is that his in-game unit is the only one belonging to the Lord character class, giving him initially shaky base stats but allowing him to become a high-performance unit by the game's end. He has no particular flaws apart from his late promotion, but his defenses are somewhat low.
Roy is studying in the province of Ostia, away from his home province of Pherae, both of which are in the nation of Lycia, when the militant nation of Bern begins to conquer various other nations on the continent; while his father Eliwood turns ill, Roy is called in to lead Pherae's army alongside the other armies of the League of Lycia against Bern and its ruler, Zephiel, who displays a mysterious thirst for world domination. Zephiel's errant younger sister, princess Guinevere, escapes Bern and comes to Roy in defiance of her brother's motives, hoping to negotiating a treaty with Lycian nobility. Roy quickly agrees to her proposal to search for a peaceful means to end Bern’s aggression, and it is in part this encounter that will eventually lead him on a journey across Elibe to save the continent from what could end up being a war with powerful dragons from a different dimension. He is ultimately successful in his endeavors when he defeats Zephiel. However, if all the legendary weapons of Elibe were gathered by meeting certain conditions ingame, the weapons would start glowing and pointing toward the location of the Dark Dragon, Idenn. A few extra chapters take place which results in the defeat of Idenn. Afterward, depending on certain ingame factors, different characters experience slightly different endings, but generally peace returns to Elibe and everyone lives happily ever after, with various rebuilding of respective countries. Roy is notable for having the most potential wife endings, depending on who he supports.
Roy has not appeared in any game or media since Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade and Super Smash Bros. Melee (aside from a brief cameo at the end of Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken/Fire Emblem as a child), but he remains a contender in Melee competitive play. It is interesting to note that since Fire Emblem games weren't released abroad when Melee was released, Roy and Marth were not given English voice samples, retaining their Japanese-language taunts and voices in English versions. Some mistakenly believe that Roy and Marth have a storyline connection because of their appearances together in Melee, but there is nothing to suggest that any of the continents depicted in the Fire Emblem games Archanea and Valencia (Shadow Dragon/Monsho no Nazo, Gaiden and Shadow Dragon), Jugdral (Seisen no Keifu, Thracia 776), Elibe (The Binding Blade, Fire Emblem), Magvel (The Sacred Stones), or Tellius (Path of Radiance, Radiant Dawn) - exist in the same world, or in the same universe and chronology (other than Archenea and Jugdral, which, according to designer notes, exist thousands of years apart).
Roy and Marth were a primary subject of the "tier wars" at GameFAQs that lasted between 2003 and 2004, determining which among these two very similar fighters were the better character, and in the end Marth won out over Roy by a very large margin as demonstrated by the current tier list. Today, Roy is considered an inferior clone of Marth in Melee, but he has a loyal fanbase nonetheless.
Sword of Seals
Within Fire Emblem: Fūin no Tsurugi, the Sword of Seals was the second sword wielded by the Legendary Hero Hartmut, the founder of Bern, a military nation in Elibe. It was used to seal away the Dark Dragon and end the Scouring, a war in which humans fought and exiled dragons to another dimension. This particular blade is capable of reacting to the emotions and feelings of the one wielding it, as well as generating fire. Although it doesn't do so in Super Smash Bros. Melee, the Sword of Seals is capable of healing the wielder and unleashing long-range attacks using the fire it generates.
It is not until late in the game (Chapter 22) that the Sword of Seals becomes available. At this point, the weapon is awakened by the Fire Emblem and reacts to Roy, class-changing him into a Master Lord. This weapon can attack up to twenty-five times (both direct and indirect) and can be used as an item to heal Roy. In addition to this, it also has increased effectiveness against all dragon-type units (war dragons, wyvern riders, mamkutes, etc.). Also, at the end of the extended campaign, Roy uses the Sword of Seals to seal away the power of Dark Priestess/Dragon Idoun.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
As a Playable Fighter
Roy makes his Smash-series debut (and by extent, his altogether game and North American debut as well) as an unlockable character in Melee. He can be battled to be unlocked one of two ways: beating either Classic or Adventure as Marth on any difficulty without Continuing, or playing 900 Vs. mode matches, clearly the first method is incomparably easier than the second.
Roy fights with his sword, the Sword of Seals, and his B-moves all involve the sword's fiery powers. The Sword of Seals is Roy's blade of choice, and is used in most of his attacks, excluding grabs and throws. In contrast to Marth's Falchion, the Sword of Seals is most powerful near the center of the blade rather than the tip, and has a multitude of fire-based attacks.
Roy is a clone of Marth in that they feature pretty much the same movement and attack style, but their specifications are different. Roy seems at first to be a slower and stronger version of Marth, but he is actually almost the opposite; he has a relatively fast dash, a fast and long dash-dance, and a fast fall that gives speed to his Short hop aerials almost as well as Marth, and his Double-Edge Dance is very useful in battle, but his moves actually do rather low damage, and it is hard to land his primary killing move, his Forward Smash. It was determined professionally that Marth can KO better with his swordplay, which has a sweetspot on the tip of the sword, while Roy's sweetspot is more in the middle. Roy's Forward Smash and Flare Blade are decent at edgeguarding, has a great grab range (like Marth), and has a potentially effective move in his Counter, but it is his lack of a projectile, short recovery, and easiness to be juggled and combo'd, added with his low general damage, that ultimately make Marth the better fighter. Roy is mainly popular to use in the single-player modes of Melee.
- The son of the lord of Pharae Principality, Roy was studying in Ostia when the Kingdom of Bern invaded League of Lycia. His father fell ill at this time, so Roy assumed leadership of Pharae's armies. After his fateful meeting with the Princess Guinevere, his destiny became inextricably linked with the fate of the entire continent.
- Fire Emblem (Japan Only)
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Roy's official artwork appears as a sticker. Roy is also referenced in the title of Winning Road - Roy's Hope, an included song from his game that can play during the Castle Siege stage. He seems to have been partially programmed, however, as hackers have found data for him inside Brawl's disk.
- Roy is the only character in Super Smash Bros. whose Smash appearance predates his first appearance in a non-Smash game. (Melee was released in 2001, his game released in 2002.)
- Due to an overall lack of significance in the Fire Emblem series as a whole, and no upcoming titles to promote, Roy, along with Dr. Mario, Mewtwo and Pichu (and Young Link to a lesser extent), does not return as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Many people consider his spiritual successor to be Ike, the main character from the (then) two most recent Fire Emblem titles, and who also uses fire elemental sword attacks.
- Hacking has revealed leftover data in Brawl for "ROY". Some take this as signs of a planned character, but it is also likely, if not more so that it was for referential purposes by the programmers, or the result of imported data from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
- Roy made a cameo appearance as a child at the end of Fire Emblem (the prequel to Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade). Because Fire Emblem (subtitled Rekka no Ken in Japan) was the first in the series to be released outside Japan, the relevance of the boy's appearance is largely missed by most Westerners.
- The title of the 6th Fire Emblem game is sometimes translated as "The Binding Blade", despite the "Sword of Seals" being the literal translation of the game's original Japanese title.