With news of TYPE-MOON's upcoming online RPG, I felt it fitting to talk about their first attempt at creating an online MMO.
Fate/Apocrypha was initially introduced as an MMORPG (or Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game to the uninitiated), taking place in a world parallel to the original Fate/stay night. In this world, the Greater Grail was removed from Fuyuki City after the Third War, dramatically altering the events of Fate/stay night and Fate/Zero. For example there are 14 Servants with one Ruler-class Servant presiding over them. The game would have had players choose between two factions, Red or Blue, and act as Masters fighting each other with their Servants. Despite being an MMO, it had a complete story with several branches in the story depending on the Master's relationship with his/her Servant.
|The original title card. Looks pretty nice.|
On June 25, 2011, TYPE-MOON released Fate/complete material IV - Extra Material, a collection of artwork and information by various artists. Various character designs from well renowned artists such as Urobuchi Gen (Fate/Zero, Saya no Uta, Kamen Rider Gaim) and Okazaki Takashi (Afro Samurai) had a hand in creating some interesting Servants. But in November of that same year, it was announced that a new project would be launched under the now canceled MMO with the Fate/Apocrypha name: a light novel, written by Higashide Yuichiro of Ayakashibito fame.
With Volume 7 of TYPE-MOON Ace (a spinoff of Comp Ace, an monthly manga and game magazine), Higashide wrote a story that he labeled the first chapter of Apocrypha - Act1: Unbirth. This story brought back Jack the Ripper (a character originally designed for the MMO), and introduced her Master, a prostitute named Rikudou Reika. While it doesn't necessarily have a relation to the events of Fate/Apocrypha, its still a good read nonetheless. A year later, a preview of the novel was released in Volume 8 of Ace, where it was shown that several characters were cut (Sakata Kintoki as Berserker, Musashibo Benkei as Lancer, Saint George as Rider, and David as Archer). The novels were originally planned to extend to four books, but on May 2, 2014, Higashide confirmed on his Twitter that the story was extended to five.
|Jack the Ripper's first appearance as shown in Act1: Unbirth|
Now that you know the history, how is the novel? Well, this was the first time that I've experienced Higashide's writing style, and its was very well done. From the moment you begin reading, you are aware of the world you're in, and Higashide does a pretty good job of setting the stage. Like most novels I read, I tend to find myself immersed in it's world. The thing with light novels like this is that they have supplemental images to accompany the story, giving it an almost anime-like feel. Konoe Ototsugu (Character Designer, Fate/Prototype) had a distinct art style: cute, with a hint of darkness. The only issue I have is that almost every character in this series is extremely overpowered. There's everything from invincible god-like armor to characters who can't be harmed (except by one person, and even then). I mean, in one scene you see a weakened character take on six powered-up Servants with no sign of losing. I've yet to get my hands on the 5th novel, but I'm excited to see how the story wraps up.
Confused? Good. Because you should go read it, especially if you're as much of a bookworm as I am. Of course it's a bonus to be a TYPE-MOON fan, but I think it could be a good standalone book (in that unfortunate case you'd miss out on a lot of references, like the Waver appearance). The only thing is that if you can't read Japanese, you'll have to wait until someone translates all five volumes. A group is currently working on translating Fate/Apocrypha - they've just finished Volume 2 as of this writing, and they're always looking for help: Fate/Apocrypha Translation Group
But now that this is out of the way, I can go back to my intense coverage of that other online RPG...
|Thought I meant Elsword? Well I like that game, too...|