4gamer has published an interview with Type Moon writer Nasu Kinoko regarding Fate/Grand Order, conducted by 4gamer writer and FGO official radio show MC Mafia Kajita.
マフィア梶田が切り込む「Fate/Grand Order」。奈須きのこが追求する理想と，やがて迎える終焉のカタルシス #FGO https://t.co/SmXvB9Dpgs pic.twitter.com/SQZ3RlGUdJ— 4Gamer (@4GamerNews) 2018年12月28日
The interview begins with Kajita congratulating Nasu on FGO coming in first in the Mobile Index worldwide mobile game sales rankings, commenting on how the position is one typically reserved for content directed at casual users, and how amazing it is that a title like Fate, originally directed at core users, managed to get there. Nasu says that at the beginning, they were in fact worried that they would not be able to make a social game for casual audiences due to how they only had experience in making products for core users, and that they managed to create something with value by throwing away their greatest weapon and making something easier understand, more focused on entertainment.
Nasu considers the servant system to be a success in how it aided in explaining the game having multiple illustrators. He had considered visual dissonance coming from having multiple design lines to be the biggest problem in social games, and this also applied to FGO, but the Fate system of having characters from different ages helped to alleviate this problem, albeit by coincidence and not design. He adds that Fate’s original character designer Takeuchi directing all design lines as lead character designer also helped.
The interview moves on to discussing Nasu’s role in FGO. Nasu says that as a writer, he handles the chapters he is in charge of, the voice lines and intermissions of servants he is in charge of, and events when it is his turn. Next, as writer supervisor, he handles each chapter’s intro and outro and parts that are critical to the main plot (such as lines and important scenes involving Roman, Da Vinci and Mashu in part 1, or lines for Goredolf, Da Vinci and Sion in part 2), and checks and revises other writer’s work, which is usually 20% of event scenarios and 30% of main scenarios (he notes that this has fallen to 10% from chapter 2 of part 2, since the writers got an idea of part 2’s atmosphere from the first chapter and he wants to give them more freedom to explore their themes). Finally, as director, he looks over the schedule, proposes event content, and oversees and adjust various in-game data.
Kajita comments that this seems to be a lot of work, but Nasu says that while he is the busiest he has ever been, he is still mainly a writer, meaning that what he is doing is not much different from before. Kajita asks if it is true that Nasu also handles craft essence flavour text, and Nasu says that whlie he did rewrite flavour text in the first year, he started to not have enough time to do so from part 1.5 and on, and has been mostly leaving it to Delight Works since then. That being said, craft essences that are connected to popular servants such as Gilgamesh, and bond craft essences have their flavour texts handled by the servants’ writers. Nasu says that bond craft essences are essentially periods to their servants, and that he tells the writers to do their best as the lines in them are the last for the servants. Nasu also checks all visual elements (characters, illustrations, art materials regarding the world setting), but ordering character designs is left to Takeuchi.
Kajita next asks if it is true that it takes half a year to make a single servant, and Nasu says that it does take half a year to complete one. The writer in charge takes 1-2 weeks to create the setting info, and the illustrator takes 1-2 months to handle the art. Once the illustrations are completed the action storyboards are created and sent to Delight Works, and creating the animation takes 4-5 months. Voice acting is recording in the meantime. This takes roughly half a year altogether. This can be problematic in cases where multiple new servants are to be implemented at the same time, and in the case of 2018’s summer event, where 7 new servants and 3 new servant costumes were implemented, work started in December 2017 where they finished creating the setting info and sent it to the illustrators. The art was done by January/February, and all of the remaining time up till August was spent on creating the battle animations.
When the FGO project first started, Nasu told the main writers Higashide Yuuichirou and Sakurai Hikaru that he would need them to decrease their work on other projects to 30% of what it was before, as FGO would require them to focus that much. All of the main writers, Nasu himself included, knew that they would not be able to work as they had before once FGO started. The main writers also handle voice acting direction and checks on how the servants they are in charge of are handled in gameplay.
Kajita notes how there are cases where characters originally designed by Takeuchi are handled by illustrators, and asks how this is decided. Nasu says that Takeuchi wanted to handle as many as he could himself, but could not. At first, Takeuchi took the position of handling characters where he felt fans would be angry if he did not handle the art himself, but ultimately ending up in the position of choosing illustrators that he felt fans would be satisfied with. Takeuchi wanted to handle the art for Rin, but they felt that Morii Shizuki would be able to do a good job.
Nasu next goes on to elaborate on the flow of how a new servant is made. Nasu first creates a framework for the main story, and discusses with Takeuchi what sort of servants they would need and want to fit into it. They then make a list and discuss with the other writers. In part 1 they first came up with a list and had work on the servants distributed between Nasu, Higashide and Sakurai, but in part 2 they started to think of servants more relative to the story and leave decisions regarding servants mostly to the main story’s writers.
Part 2 of the interview is available here