Fate/GO - Director Yosuke Shiokawa Interview @ Sakura-Con 2017
At their most recent panel at Sakura-Con in Seattle, Aniplex revealed one of their biggest projects for this year. Fate/Grand Order, or Fate/GO is a popular mobile game in Japan that already has a legion of international players. The game will be officially making its way in English to North America this Summer. We sat down with the Director of the game, Yosuke Shiokawa during a short round table interview.
Note: some questions have been omitted, reworded, abbreviated, or reordered for clarity and logical flow.
Questions asked by The-O Network are marked in blue.
What inspired DELiGHTWORKS to bring the game to the US?
This game was originally meant to be released in Japanese only; however, we gradually realized there is a large fanbase overseas accessing our game. We wanted to be able to include and introduce the game to all the fans.
How long has this game been going on in Japan and what chapter is it up to as of now?
The game has been released for 1 year and 9 months. Currently, Japan has released 7 chapters in part 1 and we have just released the first chapter of part 1.5. It was announced in Japan that part 2 will be released in 2017.
T-ONO: What will the release be like for North America? Will the game have the same story content as Japan upon launch?
Not everything will be released upon launch as the American version of the game is not an exact port. Parts of the game will be released and updates to chapters will be added as we see fit. By launch, fans could expect to see up to chapter 2. Although the game will only have up to chapter 2, the game application itself will be released as the latest build with the necessary quality of life improvements such as the interface, bug fixes, etc.
What kind of time scale has been planned for the additional chapters?
There is still currently an ongoing discussion regarding the pacing of the updates post launch.
Will there be a pre-registration campaign?
Not sure if there is a pre-registration like the Japanese release, but there will be a campaign prior to the release. More information to come.
Why was the summer release date chosen and is there any relevance to Anime Expo?
It was intended for summer as it was just assumed to be a good time to do so for the fans. However, Anime Expo is a gathering of anime fans and it would be a great time to release this game to the Fate fans as well as those who are not familiar with the Fate universe.
Will Android and iOS version be released at the same time?
In Japan, the release was staggered. It is currently planned to be a simultaneous release.
T-ONO: What are some of the challenges regarding translating Fate/GO into English?
First, English words are a lot longer than Japanese characters, so the number of characters that can be crammed into a dialogue box is limited. Especially with Mr. Nasu’s long and deep stories, figuring out how to translate all of that into the dialogue box is very challenging.
Is it difficult to integrate story from the anime into the game?
The world of Fate/GO is an entire new entry into the series. Any of the existing Fate stories will have to be taken and re-interpreted into the Fate/GO world. It is a challenge to take those stories and incorporate them into the Fate/GO universe.
How are you accommodating the players already playing the Japanese game?
The English version of the game is meant to give the overseas fanbase the same feeling as the Japanese players at the launch of Fate/GO in Japan.
TONO: Some mobile games will reduce or adjust power balances when it is ported in English. Will servant strength and abilities remain the same when it is released?
Yes, they will be exactly the same as the original.
Are there any changes to the game known already to the North American release?
Currently, there aren’t any changes, but because the game rating is different in the US compared to Japan, that may change if needed.
TONO: Was there any consideration of patching the Japanese game with English instead of releasing a different version for the game?
Since launching the game, there has been numerous fixes and updates. It is difficult to patch something on top of this. The English game, despite having all the new and updated fixes, is considered a different application altogether so it is easier to operate.
Is the payment system similar to Japan?
The payment system will basically remain the same model. The unit price may change a bit due to being in a different region but the model will remain the same.
TONO: Will there be any changes to the gacha summon rates?
Same rates. 1% for SSR servants, and 3% for SR servants.
Will different regions be receiving exclusive items or content such as servants?
No, we would like to keep the content as close to the original as possible, so there will be no regional exclusives.
Will there be any special in-game events or items to go along with the anime episode releases or events such as conventions here in America?
Although the game will be kept to the original as much as possible, special campaigns will be catered to specific regions. For example, 4th of July may receive a special event in America.
TONO: Will it be possible to run both the Japanese and the English app? Are there any technical difficulties in doing so?
No. Players are free to continue playing both versions as there are no technical issues nor IP blocks. We simply want everyone in the same region to experience the game at launch the way it was intended.
How will server overload if encountered be handled at launch?
We will try our best!
Are there any tie-ins with the anime since Fate/Grand Order First Order is being released in America?
When the anime was released in Japan, there were some items and equipment given out, so there will be something similar when the game is released in North America.
Will there be physical goods and merchandise to promote the game itself?
Currently there is no line-up, but we are in the planning stages of making some merchandise.
TONO: Given that the Western base is different from the Japanese, will the development team take into consideration the feedback from the English players? How will the English players be able to voice their concerns and opinions?
There is a certain operation model we have in mind, but there is a possibility that may change based on feedback. The development team would like to have a place to gather all the voices and create a community for it.
Will the in-game support be the same in America as it is in Japan?
There will be in-game support and it will be similar. Japan has their own support team and America will have their own support team.
Is Aniplex the only publisher or are there other collaborators?
The English release is published by Aniplex with DELiGHTWORKS being the developers. Aniplex of America will be handling with the promotion in the US.
TONO: Can you share with us what fans can expect to see at Anime Expo?
Because this game is still in development and planning, we cannot say much about what we can do at AX. Compared to Sakura-Con, there will be a larger event at AX.
Regarding new players, where can they go for more information about the game?
The best place to get more information will be the official website and the Fate/GO official twitter. They are also looking into having customer service on the official website for any concerns.
TONO: Finally as the last question, will we ever be able to see a Saber Lion servant or a Tsukihime collaboration event?
When it comes to Tsukihime, even Mr. Nasu would love to do a collaboration, but we will have to see. For Saber Lion we’re not quite sure... but we do hope to have her one day! [laughs]
Interviewer: Dawn Lam, Transcriber: Ken Dubois, Photos: Eddie Lai, Editor: Theodore Mak