The presence of mobile games in the gaming industry is no surprise, especially considering the amount it rakes in for those who pull it off right. Anyone with enough capital and a strong enough brand would be foolish not to try to get something lucrative out on mobile, and Japan isn’t going to be left behind especially on something like this. Aniplex and DelightWorks work together to bring Fate/Grand Order, another spin off to the Fate/Stay Night universe (aka simply ‘Fate/’). It’s not the first Fate/ game to make it on mobile but it would be easy to say it’s the biggest.
Fate/Grand Order (F/GO) places you in an army of mages where you end up being the last hope to save humanity. Where instead of handling one servant you handle a small army of them, which you can acquire mostly randomly via gacha system. It has most elements that a single player mobile jRPG would have, an expanding story mode, appealing characters you can gain through gacha, events and a development system. While it tempts many to try to get the strongest servants, they designed the system that you don’t have to depend on having them. Making it possible to clear even the harder missions with different setups and therefore completely possible to play without purchasing anything in-game. Also for a game that released on 2015, has one of the most attractive visual experiences that 2D sprites can offer.
This mobile game turns out to be quite a wonder hit because of its massive success, performing better than even Pokemon GO in Japan. Reaching over a total of 7 million downloads to date. Certain sources estimate that this game alone can be making about 1,000,000 USD a day, making it one of the top 10 most grossing mobile games in the world.
So how did a title, that’s really more of a cult hit, make it to where it is now? Fate/Grand Order does something that only it can do simply because of how it’s a spinoff with an excuse plot. It makes use of any IP, story or whatever the Fate/ universe has to do whatever it wants. And they do a lot, if there’s an occasion or a holiday, they’d have something going on for that day, heck they even had events when nothing was going on, they even featured the Prisma Ilya at one point.
But that’s not all, sure they add new characters and events, but they also update the story often enough before anyone asks, they also continue to improve the game’s features to make understanding the game and playing effectively easier especially for newer users. They’ve never gone to a point to make harder to attain servants completely obsolete either, anyone who has the first SSRs, the highest level of rarity in the game, are likely to still find having them highly favorable until now.
For those beyond Japan, the language barrier wouldn’t be enough to keep them from this game. For fans, if there’s a will, there’s a way. International users look for any way they can avail of the game, then rally to community sites in facebook or reddit to look to anyone kind enough to provide them with translations. And this is more or less done by the fans for free. So access to the game was more or less a matter of willpower or at least having some friend who’s savvy enough to guide you through the general nuances of the game.
Once F/GO hooks you in, it becomes rather difficult to leave because of how it follows one key requirement for anything that runs online, regular updates on content. Having multiple scenarios and universes to pull from, F/GO didn’t have to wait for any occasion or holiday to run an event on their game. There’d always be something every few weeks, it would be a new feature character, or a new chapter in the main story, or maybe something celebrating something within the Type-Moon universe, or simply something to go with the season. On top of all this, they’d run events that may have increased drop rates or reduced requirements to run certain quests. Every time, the audience would just eat it up, specially for those on their end game, it was something to do and have a good use for whatever amount they’ve invested in the game already, whether that be time or money.
While gacha is considered to be the most evil mechanic created for mobile games ever, some say they find the drop rates in the game rather forgiving compared to others. Whether or not that makes it any better is entirely up to you (and perhaps, your luck with your gacha draw). But apart from people sharing salt for likely awful or amazing draws, Fate/Grand Order is a mobile game that really brings up the quality in terms of gameplay, content and support. With its main audience still anticipating their favorite characters to be available in-game, it would be easy to say that F/GO will be a strong mobile title for a long time to come.