Famitsu’s 8/22-29 2019 includes a special interview with Fate series creator and Fate/Grand Order main writer Nasu Kinoko to commemorate FGO’s fourth anniversary.
Part 1 of this article is available here
The interviewer asks how work started on Fate/Grand Order. Nasu says that he began with coming up with a plot that would be how Fate would be with the entire planet as its stage. After that, Delight Works presented him with several popular battle-centric games as samples, but none of them resounded with him, and when he presented his idea of spending a year telling a story about seven holy grails at a meeting, everyone besides him was taken aback.
Delight Works was still a new company at the time, and FGO was Type-Moon’s first game in this genre, and since both companies were in uncharted territory, they decided to take the plunge. That being said, the Fate series was already ten years old at that point, and Nasu says that he felt that they should not betray the expectations of old fans, and he says that the fans who continued believing in them even when the game was unstable at release were a great emotional support to him.
Though games like FGO may have weaknesses like downtime from server issues, Nasu says that they also have their strengths, such as being able to control the timing of things: He says that while some players might be able to clear a traditional game in one or two days, games that have the creators in perpetual control allow the creators to decide on the timing of things, and have players make an adventure last for as long as they like.
Nasu thinks that players who spent a year and a half following the story of part 1 of FGO in realtime and those who cleared it quickly after recently starting on the game have entirely different feelings regarding it, and says that he thinks that there is a fever that only people playing the game at any present moment can feel, which the creators have to cherish, as not doing so would make using the smartphone platform meaningless. The interviewer asks if focusing on realtime experiences might result in a gap between older players and new ones, and Nasu says that part 2 is a direct answer to this, and that he hopes that players who started playing after part 1 ended and experience part 2’s ending in realtime will be able to understand how the ending of part 1 felt.
The interviewer says that the reaction to the end of part 1 on social media was massive, and asks if Nasu uses social media. Nasu says that he does, and elaborates that when looking at opinions from people with similar tastes, they usual turn out to be from a similar point of view, and thus serve as reference. He checks on the opinions of users with issues with the game as well, which helps him to see parts that are problematic or need more care. He says that while negative opinions might hurt sometimes, they are the result of people playing the game, and are thus meaningful.
The involvement of Urobuchi Gen of Nitroplus with FGO is discussed next. Nasu says that aside from his involvement with the Fate/Zero event, Urobuchi has been continuously playing FGO as well, and around the time of the second half of part 1 Nasu invited Urobuchi to handle a chapter of part 2. Urobuchi ended up finishing the script faster than anticipated, and Nasu received it in January 2018 when in Hawaii conducting research for the 2018 summer event.
The interviewer points out Urobuchi’s reputation for killing off characters, and asks if something like that was expected from him for the part 2 chapter he handled, but Nasu says that Urobuchi at the time had come off from writing the script to the first season of Thunderbolt Fantasy, and so he did not expect it to turn out very dark. Nasu says that as Shi Huang Di and Chinese history are both very popular, they needed to be careful with handling them, and that they decided that Urobuchi would be ideal to do so as a writer who is also popular overseas.
Nasu is next asked about his involvement with the writing of the story. Nasu says that he first comes up with the plot for the entire part, and then gives the individual writers materials on what each chapter should do, and how to handle plot hooks. After that the writers come up with the plots for their chapters, and if Nasu gives them the go-ahead they are left to handle the story. He then looks over the scripts once they are completed, and does things like add plot hooks and foreshadowing for the overall story, or adjust characters who appear in more than one chapter.
Aside from his role as a writer, Nasu also handles overseeing the entire project, supervising all text, and managing the servant profiles. The interviewer asks him about his role in managing servant profiles, and he says that it is his job to read the profiles that the writers come up with and point out if they do not fit in with FGO. Additionally, he does things like help out with the writing of event stories when the writer is unfamiliar with a servant that appears in the event (due to writers usually handling a set pool of servants), similar to how he handles dialogue for Chaldea staff in all cases. Ultimately, Nasu handles 30% of main story text and 20% of event story text, and says that FGO runs on 500 kilobytes (250,000 Japanese characters) of text per month. Nasu thinks that this would be normal if it were his only job, but he needs to handle many other things as well, and says that he never thought that he would have to work this hard, but that he takes care of his health nonetheless, primarily with Fit Boxing for the Nintendo Switch.
Part 3 of this article is available here