The latest (8/23-30 2018) issue of Famitsu includes an interview on Fate/Grand Order with writer Nasu Kinoko, character designer Takeuchi Takashi, and main composer Haga Keita of Type Moon, to comemmorate FGO’s third anniversary.
— ファミ通.com (@famitsu) August 7, 2018
The interview begins with the interviewer asking the three how they feel about FGO’s third anniversary, and Nasu says that he is very tired. He then adds that this is in a good way, that three years went by in a flash and that they now have a better grasp of what they can do and what they want to do, and that rather then celebrating three years having gone by, he’s more looking forward to what comes next. Haga notes that many mobile games just end suddenly, and that they are fortunate that FGO has managed to continue for this long. He also states that he is surprised that three years have already passed, a sentiment that Takeuchi echoes. Takeuchi says that FGO was the first game they worked on with no goal, that they work on continuously like a serialisation, and that while the first year was fun, after three years, it is like Nasu said, tiring.
Nasu says that in the first year, players were mostly wondering how the game would turn out. In the second, players started to have expectations, and they did their best to try and meet them. In the third, players’ expectations grew even higher, and they feel greater pressure to have to meet these expectations. They could meet those expectations by working as hard as they could up to the second year, but in the third they have found that in addition to that they also have to find ways to handle stagnation in the game itself. Takeuchi points out that there are parts of the game that have not aged well, and that they have to face these head-on. The interviewer says that handling this sort of game must be difficult due to how the game’s system has to be maintained and updated, and Nasu says that because FGO is a game where players enjoy the world more so than the gameplay, they put as much effort as upgrading the system as in improving the quality of the stories.
The interviewer next asks what in these three years left impressions on them, and they unanimously agree that it was the launch. Nasu says that it was because of the troubles at launch that they constantly stay on their toes, that no matter how well things are going they always keep in mind that it could just all end tomorrow. He says that their managing to continue development and management of the game without going astray despite this being their first time handling a smartphone game is because of this inherent sense of danger.
Aside from that, Nasu says that chapter 7 of part 1 was very fun for him, and that he still remembers how happy he was when the music for the bosses were completed. The chapter was bigger than previous ones, with two bosses, and he wanted to give players the impression that the mid-boss would be the final boss and so told Haga that he wanted a track like something out of a world-famous RPG, and that he wanted something even better than that for the real final boss. Both tracks ended up even better than he had hoped for, and he says that having good art and music made makes him happy and drives him to improve his writing.
Takeuchi brings up the Kara no Kyoukai event as leaving an impression on him, it being the first implementation of the mission system, and how climbing the apartment building bit by bit felt “game-like”. The enemies with ridiculous HP counts are also brought up, and Nasu says that he was surprised when there were people who defeated them without using instant death attacks.
Haga says that 2016’s summer event left an impression on him with how the battle BGM diverged from the other music up till then and that it was from around that point that he started to feel that he could put in more variety in event music. Aside from that, he was also wowed by the new year’s TV special.
Takeuchi and Nasu also mention FGO Fes 2017, and Nasu says that when he saw all the people, all players of FGO, coming in, and thought of how every single person there could be people he could shake hands with, it made him happy enough to give him the energy to go on for another year. He was also surprised at how young the audience was; He had expecting maybe 5000 people around his age. This made him feel that there was meaning in releasing the game on smartphone, a platform used by most middle and high schoolers.
The interviewer adds that FGO also has a large number of female users, and Takeuchi acknowledges this, saying that it has also increased, to 30%. He also says that before release, they had considered using cute chibi characters for battles, but ultimately came to the conclusion that Fate’s essence is more “cool” than “cute”.
The three are next asked how they keep their motivation to work on the game high. Takeuchi is the first to answer, saying that the knowledge that they are working on something enjoyed by many people keeps him going. He also says that he keeps close attention to his health as well, as that is also important. Nasu says that the greatest motivation for him is the desire to bring players to the endings of parts 1 and 2 that he prepared. Haga’s greatest motivation is the threat of deadlines.
Part 2 of the interview is available here.