Fate series writer Kinoko Nasu recently held an interview with 4Gamer’s Mafia Kajita, talking about his involvement with the writing of Fate/Grand Order, the state of the game, as well as what will happen after the second story arc, Cosmos in the Lostbelt, is completed.
Check out the highlights below:
- Nasu reveals that he writes the chapters he’s in charge of, the interludes and voice lines for newly created Servants and surrounding events. As the supervising writer, he writes the intro and outro for each main chapter, the main parts of the scenario, and also supervises the text written by others. To elaborate, he says that writing-wise, he’s about 20% involved with events, and 30% involved with the main scenario.
- While he wrote the flavor text of the Craft Essences for the first year himself, by Arc 1.5 he couldn’t handle it all himself, so it’s mainly left to Delightworks, who have gotten more and more used to the Fate style. That said, he still writes some of them, like ‘TEAM Phoenix’.
- Nasu elaborates on how each Servant takes around half a year to complete. It takes around 1-2 weeks for their writer to read through the reference work and come up with the character setting, then around 1-2 months for the illustrator. Next is drafting the action sequences, which are then handed to Delightworks, who make the animations in 4-5 months while recording the voices. It’s a long process only made even tougher with events that have multiple new Servants, such as with the summer event this year.
- One of Nasu’s biggest influences gaming-wise was Final Fantasy IV, with Glory of Heracles III being close as well. For FFIV, it left him with a sense of loss upon completion, and impressed upon him the power of what games can do. Since then, he has wanted to incorporate that feeling of catharsis from seeing a story through to the end into his games. He’s happy that he was able to incorporate that into FGO as the actual “end of the world”, something that is usually left to classic, orthodox RPG settings, rather than visual novels, which focus on “the world two characters share”.
- Writers were usually quite low on the pecking order in game development, especially in mobile games. They were usually outsourced, their decisions could be overturned by the director’s, and were generally seen as a nuisance. In such an environment, previous games Nasu was involved in like Fate/Extra CCC were quite the exception. Nasu feels that FGO has had an effect on taking back “the value of good stories”, raising the value of scenario writers as a result. He sees that as returning the favor to the subculture that cultivated him into the person he is now.
- Chrono Trigger was the biggest influence on FGO, and by the conceptual stage, Nasu already had in mind that he wanted elements where the protagonist would join in battle. As a result, the tone of the story shifted from having the protagonist’s battles be the full scale of the battle, to being about the protagonist’s own battles in the scale of the world. Chrono Trigger was also the influence for choosing different time periods in the game.
- Nasu agrees that by now, FGO’s gameplay systems are outdated. The improvements added to the game have helped, but building upon such an outdated base has led it to becoming a warped amalgamation like Kowloon City. And just like Kowloon City, in order to fix the base gameplay, they will have to tear the entire thing down and rebuild it from ground up.
- …Except, it’s not that simple, especially at the current scale. All Nasu and the dev team can do is work to have players say, “Even so, it’s still fun”. As long as they can keep the basic “fun” that games provide, Nasu believes that fun can be provided by FGO at its current state.
- Regarding the current grinding gameplay loop, Nasu agrees that it goes against what they want to achieve with FGO, but it’s hard to change core gameplay systems. They can only repay the players’ “love” with “growth and progress”. Nasu would of course love the game to be one where it’s fun just controlling the characters. He personally also agrees with adding a skip feature for grinding already-completed quests, but believes Noble Phantasms should never be skipped, lest the game becoming all about efficiency and losing all charm.
- Regarding whether FGO will ever change game clients as it reaches the limit it can be changed and improved, Nasu says that he’s discussed this with Takeuchi, and at the very least it won’t change until current FGO ends. However, Nasu feels that the timing of that will overlap with the time he feels he’s done all wants to with FGO. He has some ideas in mind for if he decides he wants a completely new sequel.
- Regarding current FGO, the plot is set to end after Arc 2, as stated. That’s why Nasu plans to do everything he wants to do with by the end. What he’s scared of are players wanting a continuation afterwards. It would be very hard to write a continuation of “after the end”, although it isn’t impossible. Nasu jokes that just like Undertale, he could have people see the best ending, then make players walk the worst ending… Putting aside the jokes, he hopes players will feel that same sense of loss he felt after finishing FFIV when they are done with Arc 2.
- The gimmick and plot for the final chapter of Arc 2 has already been decided upon. Aniplex has given the okay as well. However, there is one thing Nasu is bitter about. During the period he was thinking about how to end the story, he played New Danganronpa V3, and ended up cursing writer Kazutaka Kodaka’s name for being able to cut it off so cleanly the way it was done.
- As a final message, Nasu states that he would love to make FGO a game without complaints or dissatisfaction. He understands the many voices and requests over the various features of the game, and as a true creator, wants to make content that will leave players wanting for more. For example, he has “Combination Noble Phantasms” as an idea to spice up gameplay and the visual appeal. In his mind, they would be like Combined Attacks (a completely unique attack using both units) or Combination Attacks (both units attacking at once) in the Super Robot Wars series, happening between compatible Servants. If designed correctly, such a system could improve the satisfaction of pulling out big attacks several times over… provided they can make the process speedy enough.
Fate/Grand Order is available for iOS and Android.