Melty Blood Archives Interview with Kinoko Nasu

Melty Blood, the work that made a dream come true

―― How came the decision to develop the first game in the [Melty Blood] series?
Nasu By distributing the doujin fighting game The Queen of Heart for the gal game that overwhelmed an entire generation To Heart, doujin circle Watanabe Seisakujo (now French Bread) won a firm popularity for themselves. I was playing it myself with friends while working on Tsukihime so when Watanabe Seisakujo came to me with an offer to create a fighting game based on Tsukihime I was so happy I immediately replied back "Please do it!!". At the beginning I expected them to develop a game with cute chibby characters much like Queen of Heart. However what Noya Narita-san showed off as a sample had taller characters of the proportions we know from Melty Blood today. The pixel art was more detailed than before. I could tell the staff was burning to show what they could do when they gave it their best.
―― How about your feelings as a fan of fighting games?
Nasu Speaking from the sense of values of the times, I think a big achievement for mangas and novels was to receive an anime adaption. However for more hardcore fans there is also the admiration for the world-changing creation Street Fighter II, so the excitement when playing Street Fighter II turned a fighting game adaption into an equally worthy success I think. Of course I'm part of that type of fan too, so I was deeply moved to have Tsukihime made into a fighting game by Watanabe Seisakujo. On top of that the samples they provided were so splendid it made me feel that I also had to give it my all assisting them to the best of my ability. That's how I got seriously involved.
―― How did you approach the scenario for [Melty Blood] considering its position in regards to [Tsukihime]?
Nasu With Tsukihime and its fan disc Kagetsu Tohya I pretty much did everything I could do for a visual novel. Since Melty Blood has its focus on battles I took inspiration from the Dragon Ball movies[1] to build up a plot fitting the new scenario. Using a new incident as main axis while dividing the episodes based on well liked characters such as Arcuid, Ciel and Akiha and putting Shiki into the lead role I tried to write up a sequel to Tsukihime. In short I built up a plot based on a new incident in town and applied it to the fighting game format. Because of that system I could put in a new boss in each game and develop the story in a myriad of ways. For the first game I led a new protagonist Sion and one of the 27 dead apostle ancestors that didn't show up in Tsukihime, Tatari (Night of Wallachia), make a surprise appearance. The 27 dead apostle ancestors are a prominent aspect of Tsukihime's setting. Therefore by introducing that sort of character I could passionately tell users that Melty Blood is a part of Tsukihime too.
―― Fighting games are an entirely different field from novel games. Did this lead to an expansion of [Tsukihime]'s image?
Nasu I guess that's true. There's a difference between a game that can only expressive itself using text and one which has characters meet each other in battle. Certainly those are different fields. It's fun in itself leaving difficult ideas aside and having cool phrases, cool characters and cute characters show up in combat. That's why I didn't only come up with the serious side of the battle against Tatari in the first game and also introduced comedy elements such as Neko-Arc. In this way you can say Melty Blood is a work that can do things that plain Tsukihime can't do.
―― What kind of game would you say is [Melty Blood] when taking another look back at the series from the player's perspective?
Nasu To be honest at the time of the first game's release the series was still only in the sphere of a character game. However with its subsequent updates it became increasingly refined until it hit a spot where it became a real place for fighting game fans. Although at the time it was called a grasshopper game (a game where players would fight for airborn dominance), the fierce competition over air space was still really fun as a fan of fighting games. In the end I think it's a game that found its place with players that have a preference for very fast paced action.

Making use of the quality so far and aiming for a new entertainment

―― What's the process that led to the production of the series' newest entry [Melty Blood: Type Lumina]?
Nasu I think it started around the time when we finished developing Fate/Grand Order's first part (* which was distributed at the end of 2016). French Bread's Narita-san approached me saying that he would really like to develop a new fighting game for one of Type-Moon's new products. As always he didn't come empty handed and had already made samples in form of a variety of playable characters. The concepts were all really well made and got me to feel enthusiastic about a Melty Blood fighting game in HD. Since development reached a point where we could see a completion schedule for Tsukihime: A piece of blue glass moon (from now Tsukihime Remake) I suggested that he could start working on a Melty Blood title to go along with the release of Tsukihime Remake. If we developed both games in parallel we could time the release for both games well, I told him. As result we were able to release Melty Blood: Type Lumina as desert for players of Tsukihime Remake that were asking for more after playing the novel.
―― Please tell us about the wishes you had for the development staff.
Nasu Because the Melty Blood franchise already has a large fandom I proposed them to show me a new game with the quality of previous works. As original creator I was trying to come up with a scenario that would answer people's desire for seconds after completing Tsukihime Remake. With this plan in mind I didn't write a sequel like I did with the original Melty Blood, but rather wrote a complementary prequel + bonus story for Tsukihime Remake like I did with Melty Blood: Act Cadenza. Furthermore I prepared a variety of phrases for the characters to use during battle. So that for example phrase patterns would match the characters meeting in battle. So you can enjoy Melty Blood: Type Lumina just by using your favorite characters from Tsukihime Remake[2].
―― Noel and Vlov make new appearances in [Melty Blood: Type Lumina]. What are their characteristics?
Nasu First let me talk about Noel. I told them that I wanted her to be a character that is easy to use for beginners. With that in mind beating a skilled player should be the opposite for her player. Because that's also her position in Tsukihime Remake.
―― Well I understand with a long range weapon she can display her strength at a distance...
Nasu Yes she's a character based on the common understanding that an amateur at weapon combat should pick a spear if they want to beat an expert. You know she's relying on her range so she still has a way to go. Overcoming a strong opponent is not easy for her.
―― And what about Vlov?
Nasu He's the kind of existence that would break the balance if you put his power from Tsukihime Remake straight into a fighting game, so I asked French Bread to make adjustments to this aspect of him. Just by looking you probably the get impression that he's tall, cool and has high fire power but rather than being a quirky character he plays rather straight forward when you use him.
―― This new game also features Saber who can be said to be the symbol of the [Fate] series. Please tell us what you aimed at by including her.
Nasu Her appearance didn't come from our Type-Moon side but from French Bread's passionate wish to have her included. Whenever we had one of the aforementioned discussions on potential fighting game plans for a Type-Moon product, Narita-san's sample characters were always of exceedingly high quality. Because shelving them would be a waste I suggested that he could put them into Melty Blood: Type Lumina if he could come up with whatever reason for an inclusion. When Narita-san showed up with a Saber sample to the next meeting I was really surprised (laughs). According to him Saber has made appearances in a number of fighting games, but they themselves didn't get to include her even once. He said they wouldn't be able to calm down unless they got to implement Saber once themselves, and asked us to please allow them to put her into Melty Blood: Type Lumina. He certainly had a point that French Bread who had been collaborating with Type-Moon for 20 years should also have an opportunity to implement Saber, the face of the Fate franchise. But actually putting a western knight into the world view of Tsukihime is difficult, implementing a character with completely different appeal serves to broaden a fighting game's frame. Since that made for a good reason we had her included as fanservice.
―― So also [French Bread] had long been waiting for a chance to implement Saber. Now would you please leave a message for the fans that are looking forward to the release of [Melty Blood: Type Lumina].
Nasu As a fan of fighting games myself I'm happy to see a new start for Melty Blood. I think by playing this new title fans of the Melty Blood franchise will taste both the nostalgia of playing a game they are used to while also experiencing the freshness of playing a new fighting game. Nonetheless Melty Blood is a product that evolved as a series by many updates. Melty Blood: Type Lumina also continues to evolve with small adjustments and additional characters. So it would look good for it to reach new lands in the end. If you haven't played Tsukihime Remake, please have a look at it as well. Playing it next to Melty Blood: Type Lumina should strenghten your attachment to the character that you are using.

Translation Notes

[1] Kinoko Nasu literally said he worked out a plot like one from Toei Manga Matsuri.
[2] Literally characters you are emotionally attached to