Extra, Extra! Read Our Fate/Extra Interview
Last Ranker developer Imageepoch and Marvelous created a role playing game based on the Fate/Stay series for PSP. Later this year, you’ll be able to play Fate/Extra in English with Japanese voiceovers. Aksys announced they will release the PSP game in North America and they even have plans for a special edition (sorry, it won’t come with a Saber figure).
After the news at Anime Expo, we grabbed Mike Engler, editor, to tell us more about Fate/Extra and what the North American version will be like.
Heads up readers, the comments are swimming with spoilers. You may want to avoid the discussion section if that kind of thing bothers you.
During the Anime Expo panel there was a roar from fans excited about Fate/Extra coming overseas.
Mike Engler, Editor: I wasn’t there for that, but I kind of ghost on forums and sort of lurk. People were saying “oh, we can totally forget about seeing Fate” because what other companies were saying and how the PSP in general people are giving up hope. I was saying, “Yup, just wait another week.” There have been times I just wanted to announce it, but I guess its best that we waited until we did. More people got to go insane and cheer, which I got to hear none of which.
How long have you been secretly working on this project?
We started gearing up for the project around December. Dove in for real on the text around January. I’ve been grinding through ever since, so it’s been about six months.
Due to the size of the game, there was another person who helped me. I have to give a shout out to Hope who basically saved my sanity because Fate is an incredibly large game.
Last time you were joking that Jessica from Xseed would have to run for the hills because of all the text in Trails in the Sky. Is Fate/Extra going to make you do the same?
It was a big project, but like I said I had someone helping me so the workload was reduced quite a bit. Fate, while large, isn’t quite in Trails in the Sky territory.
One of the main themes in Fate/Extra is what it means to be human. Can you elaborate on that?
Let’s see if I can do this without spoilers. There might be spoilers in this so read at your own risk, but I’ll try to do my best.
Fate/Extra takes place in an alternate universe, literally virtual reality. For those who are familiar with Fate Stay/Night you know the Holy Grail War took place in the real world and a lot of people got caught into it as collateral damage. For reasons, which I won’t get into because of spoilers, the Holy Grail War migrated into this virtual reality.
The main character who you play as, their memory loss goes far beyond amnesia. When you first start, you start with a totally blank slate. The only thing you can tell is your gender because you can tell that by looking down. In Fate/Extra you can choose to be either male or female.
The way the story unfolds it really goes into the basic tenet of what it means to be alive. As you play through the game, as you encounter different people and different antagonists, they have their own view on how the world should be and also how you should live in it. Is the meaning of life to strive for things? Is it to keep the status quo? The story itself is very deep and it was very long. For those of you that like text heavy RPGs, you’ve found your game.
How do these different ideas work with a branching story and multiple endings?
How the story tends to go is it branches out, but in the end it starts converging as a whole. For the most part, everything starts kind of the same and will end kind of the same. However, depending on what Servant you choose, what gender you choose, and what dialogue choices you make certain colorings will change. A lot of this I can’t talk about because it will start going into story spoilers.
How do the dialogue branches compare to other games you’ve worked on like the Agarest titles?
Fate isn’t nearly as long as Agarest. By our calculations, not counting dialogue choices, just general main branching points there are 16 different paths. Within those 16 paths, depending on how you interact with your Servant and NPCs there is a different strata of conversations.
Fate/Extra seems to have some similarities with the Persona series.
Yeah, it definitely has a Persona vibe. You have your “real world” location and then you go into other areas to fight.
It goes by day and the game is divided into weeks. On the school side, the game isn’t quite as intensive as Persona. Like, in Persona, you can ignore the dungeon completely and just do the dating-sim aspect. Fate is a little more skewed towards battles. You’ll spend more time fighting enemies and progressing the story that way, but there is a definite benefit to talking to NPCs in the non battle sides.
For the diehard Fate fans, how did you make sure you’re Aksys’ localization stays close to the series they love?
I did a lot of research on the game. Unlike other games I’ve worked on where I have leeway on terminology, there is a lot of terminology and the way the characters act [in Fate/Extra] – they [fans] aren’t even demanding it, it’s straight expectation. Personally, I watched the entire anime series. James, our PR guy, is a huge Type-Moon fan. If I had any questions he could tell me the back story.
Fate/Extra doesn’t follow in line with the Fate stories, it’s kind of like a side story. But, there are a lot of things from the Type Moon universe that make an appearance. For that, I tried to stay as faithful as possible. Some of the reoccurring characters that appear in Fate/Extra, act how they act in the main storyline. They speak how they speak in the main storyline. I made it a point that a lot of the fan focused stuff stayed in the game.
How are you going to make the game appeal to people who don’t know who Saber is?
It’s sort of like The Simpsons. You don’t have to understand the cultural references to find it funny, but the more you know about pop culture and American society the deeper the humor gets. With Fate, on the surface it is a very solid science fiction story, but if you’re a fan you’ll start to see the different layers.
The good thing about Fate/Extra is it’s a self-contained story. It is not geared 100% to Fate fans only. For those that are familiar with Fate and Type-Moon in general, there will be a lot of things where they will be like “Wow! What the heck?” There are a lot of references, but if you don’t know the universe it won’t affect your enjoyment.
If my existence was on the line… wow that was a tough one. You put me in a corner, I guess it was fated I would be asked this. Sorry! Because I like throwing the dice quite a bit, I would roll with Caster. Caster, she was my favorite character to do, a lot of fun. Her dialogue is awesome. If you’re not a betting person and you just want to survive, I would roll with Saber.
Saber would’ve been my choice, actually.
Caster, she’s just a lot more fun to talk to. Saber, this particular Saber, let’s just say she is… very demanding. Very self-assured and I don’t deal well with people like that. I don’t want to have an argument with my Servant when fighting someone who is trying to my life.