Literature is simply a body of written works. It is basically a record of, if not all, most human activities, stories and events from the past, or even the imagination of people. Also, literature immortalized the names of those who made huge impacts during their time. Their stories were passed on from generation to generation.Until today, the legends still exist. Whether or not they actually happened, the tales of heroes winning battles, saving nations, and even dying for a great cause became an inspiration for pop culture media. A good example for this is the fate series. The fate series is part of fans would call the “Nasuverse”.The “Nasuverse” was mainly the creations of Kinoko Nasu, a Japanese author who also co-founded the gaming company Type-Moon along with the illustrator Takashi Takeuchi. The fate series originated from the visual novel Fate/Stay Night, which features a Japanese high school student who got caught in a battle for the coveted Holy Grail.
The battle, known as the Holy Grail War, involves seven magi or “masters”, each would summon a hero to serve and fight for them until only one master is left to take the Grail. The Grail is described as a wish-granting vessel, thus its value. The heroes, known as “servants”, are individuals who, at some point, displayed feats of heroism during their life. Some of them are the ever-famous son-of-a-god Hercules, the Greek warrior who possessed an incredible amount of strength, Cu Cuhlainn, who is basically an Irish version of Hercules, and finally King Arthur, the once king of Britain, leader of the Round Table, and wielder of the legendary sword Excalibur. One thing that actually caught my attention is how they classified the servants according to their fighting style. They were classified into seven classes: Sabers, or swordsmen, Archers, anyone who can shoot projectiles, Lancers, experts in lances or spears, Riders, or those who kind of ride something, Casters, or magic experts, Assassins, the silent killers, and Berserkers, who are basically warriors-gone-mad.
Eventually, the Fate/Stay Night visual novel became popular and expanded the fate franchise. It gave birth to a lot of prequels, sequels, spinoffs, and even games. Fate/Zero, for instance gained success as a light novel and as an animated series. Upon its TV release in 2011, it gained praises for its overall amazing elements. In fact, it even sold more or less 40000 Blu-ray copies and won “Title of the Year” in the Newtype anime awards.The fate franchise also reached the gaming platform. Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is a visual novel PC game that was released in 2005. It served as the sequel to the original Fate/Stay Night. The game introduces a new class, Avenger. Other examples of fate games are Fate/Extra for PSP and Fate/Extella Link for PS4.
In my opinion, the greatest hit of the fate franchise is the mobile game from Aniplex, Fate/Grand Order. It is a single player, turn-based, role-playing game that was released in Japan in 2015. Later in 2017, an English and Korean version of the game was also released. During that year, the game grossed over 982 million USD and became the year’s sixth highest grossing mobile game. And as of 2018, it reached worldwide revenue of about 3 billion USD.The game follows the adventures of Ritsuka Fujimaru and Mash Kyrielight as they try to save the world from getting incinerated. As the story goes on, more and more servants are also being introduced. From divinities such as Ishtar and Tamamo-no-Mae to the more modern personalities such as Thomas Edison and Mata Hari, Fate/Grand Order became a collection of some of my favourite historical characters.
Its gameplay is quite similar to that of the earliest Final Fantasy games. But unlike those, the game progresses through an interactive story-telling. It may seem a bit too easy in the beginning, but gradually becomes difficult in the end. A high-stakes quest would often require a player to pick the best servants for his/her team. In doing so, a lot of things, such as class advantage, must be considered, since the game follows a rock-paper-scissors mechanics for the class typing. In fact, math is also a factor to this game. A player must carefully consider damage multipliers, number of hit counts, accessibility of certain skills, and many more. Also, in order for a team to work efficiently, a player must also pick the best support servants and items (called craft essences). If these are not done correctly, a player may struggle in keeping his/her servants alive and finishing any given quest. Also, servants require certain in-game materials for strengthening. As far as I know, levelling them up really takes a lot of time and effort. Grinding for some items even gets frustrating due to their low drop rates. Other players would even refer to the game as “Fate/Grind Order” due to the difficulty of obtaining materials in this game.
In this game, the storyline nor the gameplay is not what really matters, it’s the characters. Fate/Grand Order, like I said, is a collection of different historical personalities. What’s fun about it is that you can play who you want to play. After all, the strength of the weapon depends on its wielder.In support of this, apparently the illustrators of the characters understood the impacts of giving a bit of “fan service”. From the gender bending, to the release of awfully attractive-looking characters, some players see this as something worth saving that in-game currency for.
The downside of this, however is that most players are forced to spend much on micro transactions. And sadly, spending that much cannot really guarantee that you’ll get what you want. Servants are taken by performing Gachapon rolls which requires in-game currency that can be earned by grinding through quests, or by simply buying it. As a matter of fact, Fate/Grand Order is considered to be one of “Sony’s most profitable games” (Wall Street Journal, 2018). A 31-year old Japanese player even spent nearly 70000 USD. According to him in an interview, he would often pay more or less 500 USD for a single character, yet would spend more to get four more copies of it. Now you may wonder “How could he spend that much on a mobile game?” Even as a player, I could not answer that as well. I believe that I must stay free-to-play. In the end, it is still a game of chances. But maybe it is something for everyone to reflect upon. Are your investments worth it?
The idea of seeing King Arthur as a woman may sound weird, but Type-Moon pulled it off. Many shenanigans were thrown into the entire franchise as it expanded, yet its success cannot be denied. The fate series did a great job in recreating the names of the heroes of the past. Inaccurate as it may be, seeing all these heroes in view of another artist’s imagination is quite an amazing thing too. Now, I am looking forward not only to the game’s further expansion, but to the community’s as well. After all, it does feel lonely playing this game alone.