It seems I missed something in that Famitsu interview with Nasu Kinko of Type-moon. he mentions he has an event planned for Tsukihime during golden week. Maybe we can see something about the Tsukihime Remake there.
“What about Tsukihime as a TYPE-MOON Special Event (ala Fate/Zero, Apocrypha, and Case Files)?
- Nasu: “We have a collaboration during Golden Week every year, so please look forward to that time.”
Now this was part of an interview I discussed a few day ago. The thing is not everyone translated the full interview. So I went on the translations I saw. Let hops for something new shall we. I will post the full interview below.
FGO 4th Anniversary Famitsu Interview Notes
Regarding Nasu’s thoughts on the game reaching its 4th anniversary:
- He’s exhausted yet satisfied. FGO has grown much larger than he expected. Although he’s happy it’s come so far, he’s also nervous about the next year. Right now they’re still in the midst of Part 2, and whatever they have planned until the ending can still be subject to change. He’s thankful to the players and hopes to respond to their expectations.
Due to the dramatic increase in female and younger players in the recent years, the interviewer asks if he feels a greater weight of responsibility with regards to responding to expectations:
- Nasu: Wow, that’s amazing. Which Lostbelt are you talking about? TYPE-MOON’s Panhuman History doesn’t have such an amazing future so I’m sorry (laugh).
Regarding how the Fate series products were targeted only towards core fans:
- He heard kids of his friends, who have nothing to do with otaku culture, talk about Mecha Eli-chan, which shocked him. He thought only those who liked Mecha-Godzilla would like her. But even though there are many more diverse types of players now, Nasu does not think about that when it comes to the direction of the story. He says that if he does it’d not be like TYPE-MOON or Fate. There’ll be no change in how they work, but if the result of what they write also reaches an unexpected segment of the market such as his friends’ kids, he’s happy about that.
- Nasu’s thoughts on having a diverse playerbase: “Recently I’ve heard that “there are many users who won’t read anything beyond the 140 character limit of Twitter”, and started thinking “That means they’ll read it properly as long as it’s within 140 characters”.”
- Since text display space is limited on a phone, by using short sentences to the writer’s own advantage, they can let people who aren’t used to novels enjoy reading the story too.
Regarding how more and more text scenarios with zero battles have been popping up:
- He believed that those players who were along for the ride all the way until the end of part 1 enjoyed reading the story for its own sake, and made more text-only parts. It might be more fun as an RPG to have a battle at the end of each story section, and the players might want to use the characters they raised more. But this way the writers work hard to have the characters play an active role in the story, and they can avoid forcing needless battles into the plot which might disrupt the flow.
- Regarding how players might be engrossed in the story because of the characters’ influence, Nasu says: “Story and characters are interlinked. The story brings out the characters’ charm, while the characters’ charm make the story interesting, so both are equally important.”
Nasu is dabbling in many things such as games, anime and novels, so the interviewer asks if being a scenario writer was his goal:
- He wanted to become a novelist, but then read a review about the game ONE: Kagayaku Kisetsu e and was interested at the comment where the reviewer said: “You thought it was an orthodox love simulation game, but it actually has sci-fi aspects.”.
- Nasu went out, bought the game, fell for it and went: “Ah, it’d be nice to make a novel game prioritizing story like this. Then it might become interesting to write for games too.” And he proceeded to write Tsukihime.
Regarding the challenges of launching FGO:
- At the time FGO was suggested, Nasu actually disliked smartphone games as a genre. He thought it’d be entirely not fun at all if they made one. But since they could feel that smartphones were becoming a mainstream platform for entertainment, TYPE-MOON took on that challenge. But even then Nasu was the type of person who disliked online games, saying “games should be played alone!” and “I don’t need to be connected to other people!”
- Why then did FGO have online elements if he disliked online games? Because he played Demon’s Souls and that contributed greatly to changing his perspective on online. Demon’s Souls has a weak connection between players, and the only thing conveyed to the player is that “there’s someone else in this world”. That was very impactful for him.
- He talks about how Tsukurimonoji, FSN and Mahou Tsukai’s scripter, went full otaku over Demon’s Souls. They were chatting on the phone about how good Demon’s Souls was and that’s when Nasu decided it’d be alright to have online elements in FGO.
- Like Demon’s Souls, FGO is a world where you are alone even though it is full of other players.
- Regarding the making of FGO itself, the foundation for FGO’s plot was to have [Fate] take place on a global stage. After that, they looked at samples from Delightworks modelled after the popular combat-focused titles at the time, but none of them struck Nasu’s fancy.
- He remembers that when he announced the concept of it being “a story that revolves around 7 grails and ending in a full year”, everyone at the meeting was stunned. FGO is TM’s first live service title, and Delightworks was completely unknown back then, so both of them were in the challengers’ seat. They just had to go for it without knowing how it would end up.
- About the pressure of expectations from Fate fans: “I felt that I didn’t want to betray the expectations of those players who have loved Fate for ten years, after all. They’re the ones who wholeheartedly supported us at launch, even though it was in an unstable state. ‘I don’t want to let them down’, is what I strongly thought.”
About the advantages of a live service title:
- Nasu says that being like a serialization where the timing for content can be controlled on the creators’ end is an advantage. Normal titles would have people finish it in perhaps a day or two, but live service titles let them release the story as they wish, be it a week, a month or a year, stretching the adventure out over a period of time (in a good way). That’s what he thinks is the format’s greatest strength. Those who cleared Part 1 of FGO in real-time, over that year and a half, would have much different feelings upon beating it compared to those who only started playing recently.
- Although you can play old content on a smartphone game, it won’t match up to playing it live. Nasu thinks it’s meaningless if the development of a smartphone game doesn’t take into consideration the hype players feel when experiencing it live.
- As there are a lot of new players joining, Nasu wants to repeat the feeling from Part 1 with Part 2. He wants to make them think: “So this is how it felt like when Part 1 ended”.
- A lot of people joined FGO after seeing social media catch on fire with FGO talk when Part 1 ended. Nasu does check social media for responses to FGO stuff. He feels a rapport with those who express thoughts similar to his, and takes their words into account. He also checks harsh opinions so that he can identify what he should take more care about in the future. It’s a bit painful to read those comments but he thinks he has to read them since those were also opinions formed from playing FGO.
Social media also had a huge reaction when it was revealed Urobuchi wrote Lostbelt 3. Regarding that, Nasu shares his experience:
- Urobuchi has been playing FGO all this while, so when working on the latter half of Part 1, Nasu suggested to him: “I’ve been thinking about such a story for Part 2, so how about you try writing for it without caring about having to tie in the main story?”.
- Urobuchi started writing LB3 while EoR was being released, and finished around January of last year. The manuscript reached Nasu while he was collecting data for ServaFes in Hawaii and he remembers laughing about Qin Shi Huang while at the beach.
- Nasu once called Urobuchi the “Genocidal Mercenary”, but he wasn’t really expecting a stereotypical Urobuchi tragic plot as he’s taken to calling Urobuchi, “Urobuchi of Light” ever since Thunderbolt Fantasy’s first season was written. Qin Shi Huang is really famous in Chinese history, they really wanted to use him for this, and so Nasu decided it’d be better to let someone who’s well-respected even overseas to write LB3.
Regarding how freely the writers get to ply their craft:
- Nasu takes care of the overall plot, and hands the material regarding what should be done in each chapter as well as the plotlines that should be covered to the other writers. After that, the writers will work on their Lostbelts and if Nasu thinks there’s no problems then he’ll leave it entirely to them. Once they’re done, he’ll go through their completed script and add plot details he thinks might be necessary for the overall story. He tries to make the words and actions of the characters consistent not just within the particular Lostbelt, but also in Part 2 as a whole.
- As a writer, he’ll write his own assigned scenarios and also looks at how things come together as a whole, edit the text for all scenarios, and manage the Servant character backgrounds. He’ll read the background for the Servants written by the other writers and tweak them if necessary to match with the feel of FGO. But event scenarios are an exception, there he lets the writers write what they excel at so outside of the plot itself he doesn’t make any changes, though there are exceptions.
- For example, a certain writer A-san is handling 20 Servants. But Servants that they aren’t in charge of also appear, so the quality of that part would drop no matter what. This is the point where Nasu, who’s in charge of all the Servants would help to make the writing better. Nasu also takes care of Mashu, Gordolf, and all the Chaldea team’s dialogue.
- If they were to break it down, for the main scenarios the text would be 30% Nasu, 70% other writers, while in events it would be 80% other writers, 20% Nasu. They have to write about 500 kb of text (250,000 letters) every month. The workload when it comes to text is pretty standard for professional work but there are other things they need to do too. As he said in the 3rd anniversary interview, he didn’t think he’d have to work this much. He wants a rest.
- Nasu: “But right now I have my reliable health buddy, the Nintendo Switch game “Fit Boxing” which I train on every month, so my body is fine. Everything can be solved with muscles”.
Regarding this year’s summer event:
- This year’s summer event is in Las Vegas, but unlike the previous trip where everyone went, this time he went alone. It’s hard to convey the atmosphere of Vegas to the writing team so he’s helping where he can with their writing.
- As for how the swimsuit Servants are chosen, he thinks it’s not good for Servants who left a memorable impression in the main story to quickly get a swimsuit. Fundamentally, it has to be a year after their debut before the Servants are okayed for a swimsuit version. Because of that rule, no matter how much you want to see a Servant in a swimsuit, you have to wait at least a year. Also, Servants who haven’t had the spotlight on them recently, or Servants who are hard to turn into an Alter will become swimsuits. It’s just that the slots are limited so it’s hard picking who will get in.
About how there’s a new way to play every time there’s an event:
- If live service titles have the players repeating the same thing every time, they’ll stop playing. But they can’t destroy the fundamental system that has been there from the start, so they’ll try to improve the quality within that limit. In that respect, Nasu understands how impressive it is for Granblue Fantasy to have continued for 5 years to date while maintaining their momentum.
- Nasu thinks that since GBF is so crazy, they also have to take chances and be adventurous. Even though the genre is different, they want to learn from their senpais in the smartphone game industry.
- GBF has a lot of collabs, so Nasu is asked what he thinks about FGO doing the same with non-TYPE-MOON works: “Since we’ve strengthened the story so much, it’d be hard. If we make a special exemption even once, people will think “so this is a world where other works can appear”. Of course, I do have a lot of things I want to collaborate with. Like Dark Souls or Bloodborne or Sekiro. I want a SSR Hunter. I can even imagine their Noble Phantasm in my mind! Ah, but in the first place know your place Kinoko, how dare you even dream of a collaboration with From Software-sama…! And so an annoying gamer rant about the collabs that he wants begins (laugh). Still, this is already set in stone until Part 2 ends, so until that time collabs with other works would be difficult. After it ends, and a new world expands, it’d be nice to loosen the belt then.”
About Sion appearing in Part 2:
- Nasu: “The world of Part 2 is bleached white, so there are no other characters besides Sion, but even if [Tsukihime] characters were to exist in the [Fate] world, more than half of them would be completely different characters. Arcueid would be the same, but Akiha and Shiki probably wouldn’t come to Chaldea. It’s just that Ciel or Arcueid are able to fight even if their character settings are changed, so it’s easy to fit them into the story and have them fight. Even so, I don’t think the Fate and Tsukihime worlds would be involved.
What about Tsukihime as a TYPE-MOON Special Event (ala Fate/Zero, Apocrypha, and Case Files)?
- Nasu: “We have a collaboration during Golden Week every year, so please look forward to that time.”
Regarding whether or not Nasu is responsible for the changes in look upon ascension:
- The writers may make requests like “upon ascension, please have these sort of changes”, but the illustrators will also suggest parts that can be strengthened visually based on the character setting that has been written. So the variations in ascension looks are chosen from the best of the suggestions.
- About whether or not there were any surprising suggestions, Nasu mentions pako-san’s “Nobukatsu Incident”. Nobukatsu wasn’t originally planned to appear, but pako went “I drew him so please use him if you want”. He looked great so they quickly revised the scenario to add him in. But all the other illustrators are pretty much the same, Nasu feels. They’ll go “I really want a different pose for this” and “can I change the expression”. They can get really passionate about their work so he tries his best to accommodate the artists when he can.
- Takeuchi is in charge of the overall look for design and visuals, but he’s also on the artist side so once a good art gets sent in, he’d prioritize it more than the schedule. With normal games the production schedule means it’s almost impossible to add in anything that wasn’t in the original plan, but with FGO they have more leeway in that matter. But adding in new things doesn’t mean changing the setting.
- Nasu: “The fundamental setting doesn’t change. For example, we might go “Eric Bloodaxe doesn’t appear much”, “now that you mention it, yeah”, and then make adjustments to increase his appearances, that’s all we can do.”
Regarding Artoria Lily and other appearing Servants vastly different from their prior debuts in past works:
- With regards to Artoria Lily, Santa Alter, and Emiya Alter, it was Takeuchi’s fault. They were extraneous from a scenario perspective so it wasn’t a writer’s idea. Just Takeuchi going “I want a cute character” and “I want an Alter for Emiya”. For example, the writer’s side wouldn’t suggest an Emiya Alter since an Emiya fallen to evil couldn’t be said to be Emiya. But since Takeuchi wanted it, they rethought the matter and came up with a special case where it could be possible. And after rethinking and rewriting that concept, they came up with a character that was actually popular with the players and added more to the story by his presence.
- Nasu thinks FGO has struck a good balance between the writers and the artists. Although it’s a game that is primarily led by the story, the game wouldn’t come alive if everything was decided solely by the writers.
Has Nasu ever said no to Takeuchi’s wishes?
- Nasu: “I reject most of them! I go, “it’s impossible so stop it”. But he won’t listen to me…”
About the process of creating a Servant in FGO:
- After deciding on which Heroic Spirit to turn into a Servant, they assign the writer, who then spends 1 or 2 weeks researching and thinking about the Heroic Spirit’s background. Once Nasu approves of it, they begin looking for an artist who can do the Servant’s writing justice. It takes about a month from that point to get a rough illustration. Takeuchi goes over the art and they decide if they want to take it in a different direction. Once that is done, it’s another month to finalize the design. From writing to completion of visuals takes about 3 to 4 months in total. If the creators have a burst of inspiration, all of this can be done in as quickly as 2 months.
- That is when the battle sprites and animations begin to be made. TYPE-MOON will hand the designs over to DelightWorks, who will then take about 3 months to complete the sprites. The animations might take another 1 or 2 months, so at the same time the voices are recorded. The whole process from start to end has a Servant taking around 6 – 9 months to complete.
- With regards to difficulties on the visual side of things: Moriyama Daisuke who drew Osakabehime sent in four wonderful different variants of her, and it was so hard to choose between them. Just when they’d hardened their hearts and decided to pick one, he sent in a fifth version.
- With regards to difficulties on the character setting side of things: While deciding on Raikou’s background, Takeuchi started saying “wouldn’t it be nice if Raikou was a girl”. While they were trying to stop Takeuchi, the writer-in-charge started investigating Raikou’s background and found out about the Ushi Gozen episode. They then got inspired to tie it together.
- There are fewer female Heroic Spirits, so for the sake of the male-female balance in-game, they implemented a bit more Heroic Spirits that could be girls. But even then they had no intentions of turning Raikou female at the start.
Regarding how implementing the many genderbends in Riyoverse FGO, such as Paul Bunyan, would reduce his worries about the gender ratio:
- Nasu can’t implement the Riyo spacetime continuum into FGO because he needs to keep the world setting consistent, no matter how amusing he finds it. Though there’s the option of him supervising the work and going “FGO should be like this”, turning it into the same as the game FGO and – setting the content aside – neatly maintaining the Riyo feel while being consistent with the game. But Bunyan was specially toned down from the Riyo setting for the game. Although she’s a natural born berserker in Riyo’s manga, she’s a cute Servant who knows a bit of people’s hearts in the game.
In live service titles, characters you get from the gacha can’t be killed off – something FGO can bypass thanks to the Servant Summoning setting. Regarding that:
- Although Servants that die in the story are not the same Servants summoned and met once more, technically they are still the same Heroic Spirit so they’re never truly parted. But FGO has a firm rule with regards to Servant deaths: “Chaldea Servants that die in the main story will not appear in subsequent main stories”.
- The writers in charge of events are free to write as they will and make characters reappear, but those are just “Ifs”, alternate developments where “this might have happened”. Although they may never be seen ever again for life in a certain person’s Chaldea, that might not be the case in another person’s Chaldea.
About the ending to Part 2:
- Part 2 is meant to be something like a full course meal, and TYPE-MOON is doing all they can until it ends. After completing the meal, whether the players go “I’m already full, time to leave the restaurant”, or whether they say “I can still eat some more” will decide how things go. If there are still people who want to play, the management would have to work hard so that they continue to enjoy it.
- Nasu has prepared the developments for “post-completion”. There are two patterns, pattern A, where the story continues from Part 2, and pattern B, where Chaldea’s tale is completely told and a different story begins. Both had him thinking “this is an interesting idea”.
- At this point, he’s started drafting it since he wouldn’t make it in time otherwise. However, it is up to the users to decide. Their decision is something even Nasu can’t predict.
- Finally: “I hope we can increase the satisfaction from now on without dropping the quality of service so far. Clearing the battle of the players’ expectations and curiosity is the condition to head towards the 5th anniversary. That’s something deeply engraved in my heart.”
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