Fate/Extra is a Japanese dungeon crawler RPG set in a universe parallel to that of Type-Moon's flagship Fate/stay night franchise. The game combines school-focused "Investigation" gameplay in which the player speaks to NPCs to gather intelligence on the enemy, and dungeon crawling with turn-based combat. It was jointly developed by Type-Moon and Imageepoch, and published in Japan by Marvelous Entertainment.
The game was released in Japan on July 22nd, 2010. On July 2nd, 2011, Aksys Games announced at its Anime Expo 2011 panel that they would be publishing Fate/Extra in North America on November 1, 2011 for retail and PSN download. The game will have the original Japanese voice acting alongside the English text. A Limited Edition has been announced that includes an art book and soundtrack CD, which were part of the original LE box in Japan.
The main conflict in Fate/Extra is a war in which Masters summon the spirits of legendary heroes as Servants to fight over the Holy Grail. The game is set in Fuyuki City, Japan, during the 2030s. The world is controlled by a conglomerate of mega-corporations called the Western European Conglomerate, who have restricted global technological development, forcing most people around the world to live at a technological level equivalent to that of the early 21st century. The world’s mana has also been depleted for an unknown reason, spelling the end to the vast majority of the world’s magi.
However, in 2032 the discovery of the Moon Cellular Automaton – an ancient, seemingly omnipotent device – has threatened to change the world
order. The Moon Cell created a pocket dimension on Earth capable of effecting external phenomena on the
laws of reality, called the Serial Phantasm, or SE.RA.PH. Furthermore, it installed a system within Seraph that would enable 128 individuals to compete for this Holy Grail that would give the winner the power change the world at will.
The player is a student at Tsukumihara Academy, the location around which the Seraph maintains its Reality Marble, or pocket dimension. Seemingly by chance, the protagonist is chosen to compete as a Master in the Grail War, but the eyes of the world are on the Grail, and there are those who would stop at nothing to call it their own.
Gameplay in Fate/Extra is primarily divided into dungeon exploration and school life sections, in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of the Persona games.
As Grail War elimination duels are conducted once per week, the player is given a week between each battle to scout the battlefield and gather intelligence on the enemy, with the goal of discovering the enemy Servant's identity and weaknesses. This is accomplished by speaking to NPCs and accomplishing side quests, which will increase the enemy's rating on the Information Matrix. When the Matrix is maxed out, the enemy Servant's full identity and powers will be viewable, and some of their moves will be revealed in advance during the duel.
The player may also enter cyberspace once per day to explore different dungeons and train his/her Servant. Enemy programs can be seen wandering the dungeon floor, and can be engaged at will. This brings up a turn-based interface in which the player selects Attack/Guard/Break commands in a six-turn, rock-paper-scissors pattern of combat. As the player encounters the same enemy type over and over, some of the enemy's commands will be revealed in advance. Special Moves representing the Servant's unique powers, and player-cast Code Cast abilities can also be activated during these turn phases, and are unlocked as a Servant levels up. The ultimate objective of dungeon exploration is to find two Cipher Keys that will qualify the player to participate in a duel at the end of each week. New floors of the dungeon are unlocked after each round of the tournament.
While in school, the player can also visit vendors to purchase new items and Code Cast spells, and increase his/her Servant's abilities at the Church by speaking to Spirit Hackers (skill trainers) Aoko Aozaki and Touko Aozaki . The player can also learn more about the War and his/her Servant's background by visiting their "Personal Room", where the Servant rests between encounters.
At the end of each week, if the player has gathered both Cipher Keys, he/she will proceed to the final duel for that round of the Grail War. After some dialogue with the enemy Master/Servant duo, the duel begins in a Arena. Combat during these boss battles is very similar to that of conventional dungeon exploration, but the enemy's moves will only be revealed if the player has spent sufficient time investigating the opponent to max out the Information Matrix gauge. The enemy boss is also capable of using their own Skills and powerful Noble Phantasm attacks, which are unavoidable. The victor proceeds to the next round while the losers are "deleted".
Servants in Fate/Extra are summoned avatars of dead and legendary heroes or villains throughout human history and folklore, and are commanded by Masters through a Command Seal engraved on the Master's arm when the contract was formed - in essence, they are extremely powerful familiars. All Servants are categorized into one of seven classes: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker.
Early in the game, the player is given a choice between one of three Servants. These are:
- Saber - a tough, melee-focused Servant
- Archer - a balanced Servant capable with Special Moves and mundane combat
- Caster - a more delicate Servant with a focus on offensive Special Move spells
Due to the nature of the class roles, the difficulty of the game varies according to the player's Servant choice. Easiest, intermediate, and hardest difficulty levels are represented by Saber, Archer, and Caster respectively.