Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes Routes guide: How to Unlock Hidden Story Branches

Branching Routes are an integral part of Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes - in fact, they're arguably more plentiful here than they were in Three Houses, the main-line Fire Emblem game upon which this spin-off is based. Understanding the route branches is important, though - and it's all to do with a familiar face, Byleth. 

Understanding how the story can branch in Three Hopes can help you to navigate through all of the content the game has to offer - and together with our character recruitment guide, it'll help you to see everything Three Hopes has to offer:

Story Branches and Hidden Routes in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes

To drive home how significant the branch route setup is in Three Hopes, consider this. Prior to DLC, Three Houses had three main story rotues, plus one extra story you could experience depending on your choices on one of those four routes. Three Hopes dials it up to 11, offering a secret branch for each of the main story routes in the game - making for a total of six story routes across the game. The secret routes ultimately lead to the best ending of the game.

In Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, all of the story branches happen in the second half of the game - which on paper makes it a lot more simple to get them all over time. Another way in which branching routes are different to Three Houses is in how they're triggered - instead of through dialogue, Three Hopes has its story routes triggered by gameplay decisions in the midst of crucial missions.

Because of the nature of these branches, from here on this guide will have heavy spoilers - but it will detail every route in the game.

Each of the core three story routes in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes has two variants - and to unlock both, you'll need to recruit a familiar face... Byleth.

How to Recruit Byleth and Unlock the Hidden Story Branches

One thing that makes the story branches in Three Hopes easier to understand is to tell you how they're triggered - and it's always the same way, broadly speaking. The hidden story path and ending for each of the three main routes in Three Hopes is always unlocked by Recruiting Byleth and Jeralt. The catch is that exactly how to recruit Byleth changes significantly for each house - and several of the methods are actually quite fiddly, making them quite different to the other character recruitment and unlock methods.

We're shortly going to get into the Byleth & Jeralt recruitment methods for each house, and therefore how to unlock the story route branches that lead to the true ending - but before we do, some quick tips...

First, one piece of crucial advice: Use Bookmark Saves. You might not have known these exist, as the game glosses past them, but they'll save you a lot of trouble. To use them, at any point during a battle you can pause the game, open the menu, scroll down to System, and be greeted with the Bookmark Save option. You can only have one bookmark save at the time, but it exists as a sort of save state of your progress in the mission. Note: These are only able to be used on Casual mode. If you're playing classic, then load the save you've made before the battle started if you need to retry.

It's like a soft version of a full save game, basically. For these Branch Route missions, where your tactics are pushed to their limits, placing one at the right moment will save you from restarting the entire mission each time you mess up. It's a built-in way to save scum - if you're cool with that, it'll likely save you time and headaches. 

With Byleth and Jeralt in your party you can achieve each route’s best ending and unlock chapters 15-17. These chapters will share similarities across each of the routes. Make a save before the mission if you have the time and patience, to see all the differences that will pop up throughout. You'll also be able to give these new characters their favorite gift items or annoint them the Dancer class, if you so wish - they function as normal playable characters.

The entirety of Part II for Scarlet Blaze and Golden Wildfire will be different depending on which side of the branch you’ve found yourself, whereas in Azure Gleam it’ll be chapters 13-15, and the final chapter. These alternate chapters lead to the best ending of FE Warriors Three Hopes.

But how to reach those different stories? Here goes:

Scarlet Blaze (Edelgard/Black Eagles) Hidden Route Branch

Alois is key to unlocking the secret story branch during Edelgard's Scarlet Blaze story route in Fire Emblem Warriors Three Hopes.

The story branch of Scarlet Blaze, which is the name for Edelgard's Black Eagles house's story route in Three Hopes, takes place during Chapter 10

Play the mission normally, you will even have time to recruit Yuri without too much pressure, up until the point where you can use the Resonant Lightning Strategy. Note: Having this unlocked and using it is critical to getting the Alternate path. If you don't have this as an available strategy, retreat from the mission and clear more of the War Map. If your War Map is cleared though, you should already have this. Shortly after initiating this strategy, Byleth will be separated from their employers when the bridge connecting them is destroyed. When this happens, you need to make sure your army is all on the right side of the map, ideally right near the gate before it opens.

Arval will trigger a Sub Mission to fight Byleth. Ignore both of them. Engaging with the Ashen Demon at all will lock you out. This is why it’s a good idea to keep your army all on the right side. It keeps them all away from Byleth and close to Rodrigue. Byleth will immediately try to make their way back, which will take some time but not that much. Even if you make it through to Rodrigue and then engage Byleth, you will be locked out.

If you see yourself fighting Jeralt at any point, reload a bookmark save. This is a sign that you've been locked out of the Alternate Route.

You need to book it. Alois will be guarding the gate to Rodrigue’s area, so send all your units to him in an All-Out Offensive. Spam special attacks or weapon arts, whatever you need to do to take him out as fast as possible. As soon as Alois retreats, break through the gate as fast as possible and clean house fast.

Once Rodrigue has been defeated, the main mission will be cleared and Jeralt will appear off screen to mention his surprise at you killing his mercenary band’s employer.

After a few cutscenes, Jeralt and Byleth will join you.

Azure Gleam (Dimitri/Blue Lions) Hidden Route Branch

For Dimitri's Blue Lions, the Three Hopes route is the Azure Gleam - and their branching story moment comes all the way in Chapter 12

You’ll need a keen eye to achieve success here, not breakneck speed and/or time management. Slow and steady for the most of it will win the race, it’s a complicated one.  Proceed as normal in the beginning, clearing the first objective of fighting the four targeted enemies. Once you’ve cleared this, take a moment and stop. 

The gimmick of this fight is that Jeralt’s Mercenaries have placed ambushes for you. Playing this how you typically might, with your army spread throughout the map, will have disastrous results. Especially if you’re on New Game +, and have a powered up army. Going too fast and smashing away could leave you locked out without even realizing it.

At this point it’s a safe idea to keep your army in the middle or at the bottom of the map while you wait for “Locate Ambushers” Strategy to pop up. This will be a good place to put a Bookmark Save. Initiate it, and then stop and look at the map. A moving arrow will appear through a certain path, starting around the middle of the map. Jeralt’s ambushes will also now be marked briefly. Avoid the top right and bottom middle of the map, this is part of the ambush. This is crucial, follow this path exactly. 

Going off on your own and getting caught in any ambush will cause Byleth to appear in front of Randolph at the top right of the screen. If this happens, you will be locked out of the Alternative Route. In this path both Alois and Fleche will appear, requiring you to defeat them. No matter what you do here, you cannot get back on the main route because fighting Byleth will cascade into eventually fighting Jeralt.

A side mission will appear at the bottom right of the screen. If your entire army is on the left side of the screen, you can take a moment to send a few units directly down to do this if you feel like it. You will eventually find Fleche guarding the gate to her Brother’s area, with no Byleth in sight since you haven’t been caught by the mercenary. You will have to kill Fleche, and the mercenaries will now discover you didn’t fall for their tricks. 

Relax for a moment, you’re in the clear. They will now attempt to attack the allied base, and you can use the strategy to close the gates if you have it chosen. Keep your strongest unit (or maybe a few of them, if you’d like) near the closed gate to get to Randolph. Send out your other units to defeat the mercenaries. Take out the ones near the bottom first, and immediately send those units back to the gate. For the ones in the middle and the top of the map, you don’t need to send them back to the gate but… better safe than sorry. After this is done, Randolph will open the gate and join the fight… alongside the Ashen Demon.

Byleth will start at the bottom middle of the map, and attempt to chase after you so you can’t kill Randolph. Arval will trigger the Sub Mission. Ignore both it and Byleth. Keep your units away from them. If you’ve made it this far and your positioning looks good, maybe it’d be a good idea to make another Bookmark Save. Now you’re back to speedrunning. Send your units to Randolph in an All-Out Offensive. Or, send a very strong Shez with a loaded barrel of special attacks and run in. 

Kill Randolph without engaging in Byleth or fighting Jeralt, and you’ve done it.

After a few cutscenes, Jeralt and Byleth will join you.

Golden Wildfire (Claude/Golden Deer) Route Branch

To advance to Claude's hidden route and ending, you'll need to jump through some strict hoops to recruit Byleth.

Claude's bright Golden Deer house gets a slight name shift to the Golden Wildfire - and their route branch, and opportunity to recruit Byleth, shows up in Chapter 10.

Unlike the two above routes, the Golden Wildfire stage does not seem to have a Strategy that is essential for Byleth's recruitment. You can just spend 20 points to trigger the usual recruitment process for Ashen Wolves' Yuri Leclerc, and the remaining 10 points on one of the minor strategies available.

The key to Byleth and Jeralt's recruitment process in this stage is how well you can clear almost all of the given missions save for one (where Arval tells you to actually fight Byleth). This includes the time-limited combined mission where you have to gather intel on enemy positions by defeating Alois in the eastern sector and rescuing scouts in the southwest. If these missions went well, Claude will then attempt to lure Byleth by moving to the north sector. Yuri will show up as an enemy in the middle of this phase, so don't forget to wait for the strategy initiation if you want to recruit him.

Once Claude has reached the luring position, Byleth will appear around the northwest corner, just in front of the still-closed boss stronghold. The map should look something like this:

When the map looks like this, you're ready to spring your trap to unlock this story branch.

The general idea of this ploy is for Claude to lure Byleth to the southeastern stronghold just north of the allied HQ, then block the entrance, and have the army rush towards the boss room from the southwest. This essentially means that your army will literally move in a clockwise direction.

Immediately after Claude's ploy begins, send most of your party members to standby at the southwestern corner, but have one character or two escort Claude because there will be more enemy ambushes that stall his movements. If this is not addressed, Byleth would eventually catch up with Claude and lock you out of the alternate route.

After the western gates are opened, order the entire army to rush through the newly available route to reach and fight the stage boss. However, Byleth will also try and head back to rescue Fleche. Strongholds under allied control that stand in the route will help stall a bit more time, but not for too long before Byleth turns them back to red. So you will have to kill Fleche quickly before Byleth even gets a chance to directly engage your army.

If everything is done correctly, Jeralt will give up off-screen in the dialogues. After a few cutscenes, Jeralt and Byleth will join you.