The Thematic Decline of Fate/Grand Order’s Summer Events

A few months ago, I wrote an article about how Fate/Grand Order’s 5th Summer Event was part of the game’s peak in quality. Now that we’re officially past the 6th Lostbelt in the North American version of the game, it’s about time we prepare ourselves for the upcoming decline in quality. Long waits between events, next to no opportunities to use single target servants, and new servant power creep is our future. It’s a common sentiment among Fate/Grand Order fans that after the sixth Lostbelt, the game just hasn’t been as fun as it used to be.

Perhaps no part of the game symbolizes this loss of focus more than the decline of the game’s yearly summer themed event. On the surface it seems pointless to examine these events, as with any gacha game they are just excuses to have swimsuit versions of specific characters, however they did in fact all follow a theme before the 6th summer event. According to an interview with Nasu during the game’s 5th anniversary, the summer events of Fate/Grand Order were all meant to be centered around different well known summer fantasies to give players the feeling of going on vacation from home.

In this article I shall go over the evolution of these summer events, how they stuck to this theme Nasu stated, and how they slowly worked out other trends to create their identity before going over how in recent years nearly all of these trends have been abandoned to create something significantly less interesting.

The first five summer events do follow this theme, with the first summer event “It’s Summer! It’s the Beach! It’s Adventure! FGO 2016 Summer Chaldea Summer Memories” being a typical trip to the beach that people fantasize about experiencing during the summer. Because this event was very early in Fate/Grand Order’s history the servants chosen for this event were primarily servants from other Fate works such as Stay Night and Extra, with only three of the summer servants having originated in Grand Order. One of them was the fan favorite Scathach, who was given to all players for free. Setting the trend of these summer events giving players a summer version of one of the most popular characters for free.

Every Fate/Grand Order summer event since the first one has since escalated the idea of summer fantasies to their logical and sometimes illogical extremes. Such as the second summer event “Dead Heat Summer Race! ~2017 Ishtar Cup of Hopes and Dreams~” which wasn’t just a simple trip to the beach but was instead a high paced race where many of the game’s servants competed in a race to win the holy grail. The event is meant to simulate the feeling of actually going to a race and rooting for a specific racer to win. The event even had players competing against each other as they had to pick a team to support with each team giving all players a different award.

Because Fate/Grand Order had a second year under its belt the picks for summer servants this year was much more balanced between Grand Order original servants and servants from other Fate works, with the split being 4 Grand Order servants and 4 servants from other Fate works. This year the servant given away to all player’s for free was the ever popular Ishtar. We also got to see the start of a new trend this year as one of the summer servants, Helena Blavatsky, was previously depicted in a swimsuit on one of the first summer event’s craft essences. This began a trend where every year one of the summer servants would be one who was on a craft essence the previous year.

The third summer event of the game, “Serva★Fes 2018 : Servant Summer Festival!” brought us back to the beach, but not just any beach. This time the cast of Fate/Grand Order would be going to Hawaii and attending a doujin con that was a thinly veiled parody of Comiket. This event’s main theme was not only the summer fantasy of going to one of these major summer conventions, but also added on a second fantasy of a time loop that would keep this Hawaiian vacation going forever. The scope of this event was even larger than the last with there being three point ladders player’s would attempt to climb for awards and an actual serious plot that involved stopping an antagonist.

This year’s servant picks were much more balanced in Grand Order’s favor than previous years, with only two of the summer servants being from previous Fate works. This overwhelming majority of Grand Order original servants receiving summer alts would remain the trend for years to come as at this point the game had gained an identity of its own separate from the previous works it was chained down by. The free servant given to all player’s this year was Jeanne D’Arc Alter, who remains one of the most popular servants to this day. Like the previous year, one of the chosen summer servants was depicted on a Craft Essence during the previous summer event: Jeanne D’Arc.

Serva★Fes 2018 also introduced yet another trend that Fate/Grand Order would stick to in all years to come: giving three male servants alternate costumes for the summer. Unlike the female servants these wouldn’t be alts that you would need to gacha for, they were instead costumes obtained via completing the event. The addition of male servants to summer events not only meant more people could potentially see their favorite character in a swimsuit, it also expanded the plots of these events as the roster of characters who could show up and interact with the story of the event greatly increased.

This is most player’s favorite summer event and considered one of the best events Fate/Grand Order has ever done. Personally I never enjoyed it as point ladder events aren’t my cup of tea, but I understand why people enjoy it.

Fate/Grand Order’s fourth summer event “Here We Come! Las Vegas Official Bout ~ Tournament of the Seven Swimsuit Blademasters!” was centered around a fantasy that I was unaware was international: going to Las Vegas! In this event the cast of Fate would all be setting up various casinos in Vegas and battling each other for Vegas supremacy. This event also featured some relatively unique gameplay for FGO with its daily casino tickets that would allow players to play special nodes which would give significantly more rewards than the average node.

The servant given to all players for free this year was a summer version of Katsuhika Hokusai, who while not as popular as the previous summer servants, still has a huge fanbase. Hokusai was also the servant previously depicted on a summer Craft Essence in the previous year’s event, knocking out two trends with a single stone. Like the previous year there were only two servants from other Fate works given summer alts this event and three male servants were given summer costumes. This event doesn’t get the praise of Summer 3 but I enjoyed it a lot both times it ran.

Then in 2020 we got Fate/Grand Order’s fifth summer event, “Servant Summer Camp! ~Chaldea’s Thriller Night~”. This event once again focused on combining two summer fantasies: going to summer camp and horror movies. With the cast of Fate being hunted down by various horror parodies as they go camping. This event was full of many twists and turns that made it the most engaged I have ever been with a Fate/Grand Order event and the servants picked to be the focus were absolutely perfect.

Like the previous years only two servants were from previous Fate works and three male servants were given summer costumes. The servant given to all players for free this year was Consort Yu, who like Hokusai isn’t one of the most popular servants but does have a huge fanbase of her own. This year the servant who was previously depicted on a craft essence to be given a summer alt was Murasaki Shikibu, who I previously had assumed was added to this event for no reason.

I already wrote an entire article about how this was the greatest event that Fate/Grand Order has ever done and I would encourage you all to read that for more details on what made this event stellar.

After all of these fantastic summer events that followed this theme Nasu described as emulating summer fantasies, it was only natural that the sixth summer event, “Chaldea Summer Adventure! ~The Girl Who Dreams and the Boy Who Chases Dreams~” would be about dinosaurs. Wait, what? Yes, the sixth summer event of Fate/Grand Order would abandon this theme set up by the previous events entirely in favor of a story about Leonardo Da Vinci discovering some dinosaur eggs. The event was fine, it’s just a shame to see the recurring theme of these events abandoned for a dinosaur story especially when Fate/Grand Order would later revisit the idea of dinosaurs in 2023 with the seventh Lostbelt.

The thematic elements weren’t the only trend abandoned this summer event as this summer event doesn’t feature a single servant who debuted in a previous Fate work, it is entirely Grand Order servants. The servant given to all players for free was Leonardo Da Vinci, who is admittedly more popular than the servants of the previous two years. The trend of giving three male servants summer costumes has remained as well as the trend of one of the previous year’s craft essences being given a full summer alt, as this year Sei Shonagon was given one.

This abandonment of themes and trends would continue during the game’s seventh summer event, “Arctic Summer World ~Chaldea’s Midsummer Tour of the Magical Park~” which as the name implies was about a magical situation that caused it to be summer and winter at the same time. Less a summer fantasy and more stealing an idea from Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. Once again, this event was still relatively enjoyable and to its credit did have a better cast than Summer 6.

We would see even more trends abandoned this year as the summer servants, Valkyrie, was never an extremely popular servant. This was also the first summer event where none of the featured servants were depicted on craft essences the previous year. Thankfully we did at least see the return of servants from previous Fate works as one of the summer servants, Utsumi Erice, had debuted in Fate/Requiem.

That brings us to the present. While the 2023 Fate/Grand Order summer event hasn’t begun yet and thus we do not know the theme, it feels unlikely it will return to summer fantasies of the first five years. We do however know most of the servants who will be receiving summer alts this event. The trend of two summer servants being from previous Fate works will be returning via Chloe von Einzbern and Suzuka Gozen and this will be the first year to have four male servants receive costumes instead of three.

As for Grand Order original summer servants, while it has not yet been revealed who will be given to players for free any of them would fit the trend of giving a popular servant away. The reason for this is that this year’s summer event is focused almost entirely around Lostbelt 6, the most popular story chapter of the game with one of the best cast of characters. While it is admittedly disappointing that this event will be focused on a single corner of the game, it’s at least guaranteed to have a better cast of servants than the previous two years.

The decline of Fate/Grand Order’s events over the past few years has been extremely disappointing, especially since we don’t get them as often. Events are typically stretched to three weeks now and dead weeks of no content have become much more common. So to see that even the yearly summer events have taken a nosedive and all but abandoned trends that made them special in the first place is disheartening.

Summer Chloe is perfect, no notes

I hope for nothing more than the game to improve because even if it is declining, many of us have invested several years into this game and are too invested to just walk away no matter how bad it gets. Here’s hoping that the staff of Lasengle improve the game soon so we can stop reacting to every other event with a simple “meh” and move on.

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