The 13 August 2020 issue of Famitsu includes an interview on Fate/Grand Order with Nasu Kinoko and Takeuchi Takashi to comemmorate FGOs’s fifth anniversary.
This interview includes spoilers for Fate/Grand Order up to the latest chapter of part 2 in the Japanese version
The interview next discusses the advertisements that ran in newspapers in May. Takeuchi says that the project was done by Aniplex in an attempt to do something new to promote the fifth anniversary festival, which was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19. He says that his first impression of the project was that the deadline was very soon, and they had to handle preparations faster than previous anniversary projects. There was more work to be done, and scheduling went entirely different from usual.
The interviewer comments on how the advertising campaign featured all 47 prefectures of Japan, and Nasu says that the intention was to have these advertisements be suggestions to people on where to go for vacations: For example, if someone likes three particular servants, they could go on trips to the three prefectures associated with the three.
Takeuchi also says that the Shibuya station “hijack” was initially planned to be more elaborate, but it was scaled down due to COVID-19.
Nasu says that the individual prefectures and newspapers all reacted positively to the project, coming up with suggestions on what they thought their prefectures’ best spots were, which made him very happy. They thought of this as more than a video game advertisement, and more as something that would help boost tourism. Takeuchi points out that a lot of the locales featured also had rules they had to follow, such as places with no shoes allowed which meant characters had to wear indoor slippers, or places with strong winds where it was requested that characters not be holding things in their hands. Nasu says that this contributed to the illustrations becoming more realistic, and reiterates that the prefectures and newspapers’ cooperation resulted in fantastic results.
The interviewer asks about Artoria and Mashu’s costumes in the campaign, and Takeuchi says that there are reasons that players will come to realise later on.
Next, the interviewer asks how COVID-19 has affected them. Nasu says that they too have seen a lot of work go remote, and a lot of schedule changes. Takeuchi says that the service has to go on, so instead of forcing things through until something breaks, they made a situation where they put everything on hold so that they could make adjustments. Thanks to this, they are now managing to continue working with no problems, albeit at a slower pace. He says that recently, they have pretty much reached the point where they were before, and that they estimate that after summer, they should be back to the schedule they were originally on.
Nasu says that FGO’s schedule as a whole, however, has been delayed, with a large delay in the time needed for the completion of the scenario schedule. It used to take 6-8 months to prepare the contents and materials for main chapters, and the loss in usable workhours means that this will certainly take longer now.
The interviewer asks if the Las Vegas renewal event being earlier this year was due to such scheduling issues, and Nasu says that it was actually because when they had two summer events in a row last year, they did not like how it turned out. As such they decided to have some time in between the events this year, to give players time to cool down in between.
When asked about this year’s summer event, Nasu says that while previous events were things that had players at home go to Hawaii or Las Vegas, there is another summer genre that they have not touched yet that they are doing this year. The interviewer asks if he is referring to horror, and Nasu declines to answer, but says that players might not like it if it were done seriously, and so they’re giving it an FGO-like comical touch. They are in the final adjustments for the event, and he says that he is interested in seeing how receptive players will be.
Next, they discuss the Greek gods that appeared in Olympus. Nasu says that he already thought of how the various mythologies would work before FGO was planned, while he was working on Fate/Extra. Because Greece has a feeling of an ancient advanced civilisation, he decided that Greek mythology would be sci-fi, and that the gods of Olympus would be an immigration fleet from another planet, that ended up in the Aegean sea and called themselves gods. When deciding to use this in FGO, he just elaborated more on this concept.
As for the visuals of the gods, Takeuchi says that they had already decided on having the gods as twelve robots before FGO’s launch, and having I-IV work on Orion and Artemis’ designs was part of this. Artemis’ weapon and background having sci-fi looks to them was foreshadowing this as well.
When work started proper on the Greece chapters, they had I-IV design the gods as twelve spaceships that combined into a giant robot, with Delightworks handling the finishing touches. The gods that did not appear in the game also have designs, as does the final combined robot. The interview asks if Zeus is the face, and Nasu says that he is actually the lower torso, around the groin.
The interviewer asks if other Greek figures who are also gods like Herakles also have machine forms, and Nasu says that they do not: Only the twelve gods of Olympus, directly under Chaos, have such forms. The other Greek gods are new ones born from Earth concepts.
Next, the interviewer remarks on how surprising it was to have the Black Barrel Replica appear in FGO, and how its design is different from the one used by Sion in Melty Blood. Nasu says that with Melty Blood, they had no choice but to make the design simpler, and that because of how dangerous a weapon it is, this is how impressive it actually should be. Takeuchi notes that Nasu originally planned to have the Black Barrel simply be attached to Mashu’s shield, but it looked weak visually, so they changed it to its current form.
They next discuss the alliance that opposed the gods in Atlantis and Olympus. The interviewer points out that since there were around 20 servants, that means there were some who did not appear in the game, and Nasu acknowledges this, saying that there were some who also left, mostly either because they ran away saying that there was no hope, or leaving because they felt there was logically no way they could win. He says that one of the former might appear in the future, feeling bad about leaving.
When asked about how the alliance managed to reach Olympus in the first place, Nasu says that when they were there Artemis had not yet gotten serious yet, and Odysseus had not been dispatched, meaning it was far easier than for Chaldea. It was because they got through to Olympus that Odysseus came to Atlantis, and Artemis went into genocide mode.
Mandricardo is brought up next. Nasu says that Mandricardo’s conception came with the writer of Atlantis wanting to make a servant who would be a friend to the protagonist. However, Nasu was afraid that this would become too heavy a burden, and only approved it after chapter 4. If such a character appeared in chapter 3 or 4, the protagonist would have to drag on the feelings that come with losing such a friend.
Takeuchi says that they had not decided on the design’s direction when ordering it, but when they received it, felt it was magnificent. Mandricardo’s design portrays not the type of main character who stands at the front, but rather shines when at the side. He says that the writer also did a fantastic job of portraying him in this manner as well. Nasu says he also likes how minor it is, and how people have problems remembering his name, and Takeuchi adds that nobody managed to figure out his true name before its reveal.