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Breath of Fire is an RPG series developed by Capcom. The first four games are set in the same world, but do not all take place chronologically. As such, there are many changes from game to game, although there are certain recurring themes and character names. This is in similar tradition to the discontinuity between games of Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy, Wild Arms and other Japanese RPG series.
Games in the Series Edit
- Breath of Fire - (1993)
- Breath of Fire II - (1994)
- Breath of Fire III - (1997)
- Breath of Fire IV - (2000)
- Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter - (2002)
- Breath of Fire 6 - (2015)
- Breath of Daifugō - (2003, mobile, Japan only)
- Breath of Fire: Ryū no Tsurishi (Breath of Fire: Dragon Fisherman) - (2005, mobile, Japan only)
- Breath of Fire IV: Honō no Ken to Kaze no Mahō (Breath of Fire IV: The Sword of Fire and the Magic of Wind) - (2007, mobile, Japan only)
- Breath of Fire IV: Yōsei-tachi to Hikari no Kagi (Breath of Fire IV: The Faeries and the Key of Light) - (2008, mobile, Japan only)
As in most console RPGs of the era, the main conflict in the Breath of Fire series is the battle between good and evil. Although this theme is extremely common in RPGs, the Breath of Fire series is unique in its treatment of the subject in that the plot is of a decidedly religious nature. In each installment of the series, the main antagonist is a demon or Goddess, often masquerading as a monotheistic deity; the protagonist Ryu, the last surviving member of the messianic dragon clan, must save the humans from their false god. The plot often involves corrupt or misled religious leaders who are eventually revealed to have helped the foe.
Although religion in games is not an uncommon theme today, it was extremely unusual in the 16-bit era when the series first debuted, and the early Breath of Fire games were a pioneer of this trend. While topics of faith had long since been considered fair game in Japan, they were largely ignored by American companies who feared that the subject was too controversial. Typically, when a game which had any religious references in it was ported to an American console, (usually from a Japanese or PC version of the original) all of those references, no matter how small, were edited out (such as the SNES Ultima games). There were even a few cases of games that were denied American releases specifically because they were deemed as being too religious in content.
The Breath of Fire games are also unique in the fact that, while most RPGs are easily recognized as either Eastern or Western inspired (as in inspired by anime or by usually European medieval sword and sorcery respectively), the Breath of Fire series has shown clear elements of both cultures. Dragons and enemies from both cultures are usually used, and although the series does have a slightly anime feel to it, the morally ambiguous plots owe much more to the cynical early American PC RPGs than to traditional Japanese RPGs, which were typically much more black and white in their presentation of good versus evil. The earlier games' official artwork and especially boxart was also of a decidedly western nature (even retaining a slightly western look, although to a much lesser degree in the Japanese releases). However, as the series has progressed its artwork has shifted to a more traditional anime look, and some of the newer games even feature full motion anime cutscenes.
Finally, where as many RPG series tend to re-invent themselves with every game, the Breath of Fire games have retained essentially the same tone and style of gameplay throughout the entire series. Only the fifth game, Dragon Quarter, differs greatly in these aspects from the original. Some changes are introduced with each sequel, as is to be expected. For example, Breath of Fire III blends the semi-medieval backdrop of the first two with a degree of science fiction, eventually revealing itself as a post-apocalyptic world. In addition, the more recent games have replaced the traditional worldmap setup with a more "point and click" based one, similar to those commonly featured in strategy games. Despite these aesthetic changes, the core gameplay remains intact.
Although a timeline for the series has never been explicitly stated, the first three games supposedly occur in a single timeline. If this is true, the original is definitely the earliest of the three, as II and III both refer to its events and/or characters at points. The timing of the second and third games is more ambiguous, but most evidence, including most Wyndians' complete lack of wings in III, points to them having been released in chronological order. IV 's place in the timeline is uncertain. Breath of Fire V is something of a departure from the other games, and Capcom has confirmed that it takes place in a separate universe.
The character designs have changed little for the core characters. Ryu's character has blue hair, wields a sword and fishes with a rod. Nina's character is a Caucasian-looking blonde female with wings (or clothing resembling wings) who provides magical support. Bleu is (in four of the games) an ageless, enigmatic, powerful magic user resembling a lamia who begins the game in a state of suspended animation.
External Links Edit
- Breath of Fire series portal site (Japanese)