Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (lost promotional DLC of Game Boy Advance tactical role-playing game; 2002)
Sometime during 2002, special cartridges of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade that contained at least one of four new trial maps were given out on two promotional events to select winners. The first three were rewards for a Champion's Sword event hosted by Japanese manga magazine V-Jump, while the last one was part of a ranking tournament on the official website. These maps were "Graizel Execution Court", "V-Type Original Map", "J-Type Original Map", and "Defeat Bandits". The first map was based on a location exclusive to Champion's Sword. The second and third maps were shaped like the letters V and J respectively, hence their names. The last one, judging by its name, seems to involve defeating bandits.  The way the maps are obtained is completely different from other downloadable content in later Fire Emblem games, as well as the more obscure Archanea Saga, in that anyone who owns copies of The Binding Blade must send them in order to have the maps installed.
For the V-Jump event, 50 winners could get a cartridge containing "Graizel Execution Court", while 10 could get both the V-Type and J-Type maps. For the Ranking tournament, the highest-ranking winners could get the "Defeat Bandits" map. Due to the status of these maps, they are not present in the original game, and as mentioned above, were installed with the game's special cartridges instead. They are also absent from the Wii U Virtual Console port. These maps seem to use the XMAP data, which is a system that adds an additional sixth trial map from save data.
So far, information regarding these trial maps, as well as both promotional events, are extremely scarce, and none of the cartridges containing them have been known to be dumped online or, at the very least, still exist in some capacity. The only proof of these maps' existence are a single screenshot of the first map and its set amount of Player and Enemy units, as well as a few magazine scans containing images of the first three maps. The last one has no surviving images left.
On September 27th, 2022, a YouTuber under the name of ニコニコタロウ (taketokinoko) made a comment on Filbertian's video on the subject, and claimed that they were among those who partook in the ranking tournament hosted on the site, and still own a cartridge that contained "Defeat Bandits". However, they claimed that the cartridge containing it was unable to function, believing that its battery had broken down, with the other cartridges having suffered the same fate as it.
However, they provided information of what they remembered what the map was like; it was 20 feet tall and 24 feet wide, had large mountains that form a 16x14 diamond, and, at the center of the mountain, were three spaces of grass and a fortress. The player's units start on the left side of the mountains. The enemies on the map consisted of sages who wielded Bolting and Fortify, placed inside the diamond mountain, multiple berserkers and wyvern lords scattered across the map, and a variety of snipers, heroes, and sages are placed on the path. The enemy's castles was located to the right of the mountains, with other castles being control points. They have not provided other data regarding the map itself, such as the number of player and enemy units.
If what taketokinoko believed regarding the fate of the trial maps is of any indication, it is likely that almost all of the cartridges have died out, increasing the chances of these maps becoming permanently lost to time. However, despite an attempt to contact them, they have yet to respond.
Promotional Trial Maps
|Graizel Execution Court||Lost|
|V-Type Original Map||Lost|
|J-Type Original Map||Lost|
Articles about The Binding Blade
- Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade (lost early builds of Game Boy Advance tactical role-playing game; 1997-2002)
- Fire Emblem: Maiden of Darkness (lost build of cancelled Nintendo 64DD tactical role-playing game; 1997-2000)
Other Fire Emblem-Related Media
- Fire Emblem Wii (lost tech demo; late 2000s)
- Fire Emblem: Archanea Saga (partially lost original Satellaview version of "Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem" bonus content; 1997)
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses (partially found Cristina Vee voice recordings from English dub of Nintendo Switch tactical role-playing game; 2018-2019)
- Fire Emblem (partially lost early 4-koma manga anthologies based on tactical role-playing game franchise, 1994-2002)
- Untitled Fire Emblem remake (lost build of cancelled Nintendo 3DS tactical role-playing game; existence unconfirmed; late 2010s)
- NIWA Fire Emblem Wiki page detailing the trial maps from The Binding Blade. This link redirects to a section about the missing promotional maps.
- A section of Pegasus Knight's page for post-game content of The Binding Blade detailing the trial maps. Retrieved 06 Oct '21
- Serenes Forest - Merchandise (Top 10). Retrieved 27 Sept. '22
- Serenes Forest page for download events. Retrieved 06 Oct '21
- Sme on FE Universe - XMAP Chapters [FE6]. Retrieved 6 Oct '21