This February was home to the first ever Fate/Grand Order USA Tour, an event to celebrate the hit mobile game Fate/Grand Order! In between checking out all the exhibits and panels going on, we sat down with Yosuke Shiokawa, the creative producer for the FGO PROJECT to discuss the game and what goes on behind the scenes.
What’s the creative process behind designing a new Servant and their stats and abilities?
Yosuke Shiokawa: Each Servant actually has a scenario writer in charge of that Servant. That writer actually writes down in writing its skill, its parameters. It’s not really for the game, it’s basically the background for that Servant. Based on the text they receive that’s compiled, the game team eventually translates that into the game. The goal is to try to match what the text says and translate it 100% into the game.
Do you have any memorable stories that have happened during that process?
One of the more impressionable things that happened during the process is-each skill has icons, at first we had different icons for a Noble Phantasm or for a power-up there’s this icon. As we got more different types of Servants and they became individualized, their own unique character, we got a whole slew of icons. Now we have a massive list of icon types, and probably compiling those icons was what was more impressionable.
For example [pulls up Japanese F/GO on his phone with Musashi Miyamoto’s skill page] this icon is a unique one [points to the icon for Musashi’s Fifth Form skill]. Because she’s a dual wielder, we had to make an icon for a dual wield, so it’s very unique to that servant. So these are the things I’m very particular about and put great care and thought into.
Have there been any Servants who players used in ways you didn’t anticipate?
There’s many. It’s not necessarily a single character that surprised me, but what always surprised me was that players would make or strategize multiple combinations of different types of Servants. So whenever a new Servant comes out, the players would think “this Servant would go well with this new Servant, if we teamed them up in this party it would be this.” So the combinations, the thought behind that for each player to strategize combinations is what was surprising to me.
Have these kind of combinations prompted any future changes to balance the game and make Servants more useful that were being underused?
By changing the other servants, not necessarily we do it for these specific types of combinations, but because there are some strategically stronger Servants that get used. It will obviously get noticed that there’s some Servants that get underused or just are not as effective. So that’s what the Strengthening Quests are for. By doing that kind of adjustments, the seldom-used Servants will hopefully get used more frequently.
Have you noticed any differences between how Japanese fans play the game compared to international players?
So I know everybody loves Stella, everyone loves Jeanne Alter. That’s a very global scale. There may not be much of a difference between Japanese players and international players [laughs].
Do you have a favorite Servant in the game, either in terms of gameplay or general design and character?
It varies depending on the time. Recently, Altera’s my favorite. This happened because I was playing Fate/Extella, so I became kind of attracted to her because of that game. I saw Altera in a way I’ve never seen her represented in F/GO.
Big thanks to Aniplex for setting this up and to Mr. Shiokawa for taking the time to meet with us.