Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water is Guaranteed to Send Shivers Down Your Spine
This year marks the 20e anniversary of Koei Tecmo’s spooky horror series, Fatal Frame. To celebrate everything that happens that night, famed video game producer Keisuke Kikuchi, a game developer who has worked on beloved franchises from Tecmo Bowl to Ninja Gaiden, thought it was finally time to remaster one of his favorite songs – Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water.
“It’s time to scare the next generation of gamers onto the next generation of consoles,” Kikuchi says with a laugh. Kikuchi, who has worked as a producer on Fatal Frame since the franchise’s inception in 2001, is eager to scare off player bejeebers as they encounter ghosts through the eyes of a character who not only sees dead, but their memories haunt too.
Here’s what the producer had to say about his upcoming game, Capture the Spirits, and why he doesn’t recommend launching this game in the dark.
Koei Tecmo: What makes the Fatal Frame franchise different from other horror games?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The Fatal Frame series has two major features. The first would be “horror that appeals to your imagination”. For example, when it feels like a ghost is going to appear, but it isn’t, we convey a sense of fear by preparing sections where “nothing gets scary”. Using sound, we limit the amount of information the user has by creating scenes in which they cannot properly see the area around them or hear what is happening. By doing this we stimulate the imagination of the user, and we place a lot of importance on this because it is one of the defining aspects of Japanese horror.
The second point concerns your weapon, the Camera Obscura. This camera allows us to introduce a frightening dilemma for the player in which they are forced to approach spooky things up close and take pictures of them to continue.
Koei Tecmo: What’s the storyline of the game?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The setting for this title is Mount Hikami, a place known to “welcome death”. The protagonist, Yuri Kozukata, has the ability to see deceased people as well as people’s memories and thoughts. As part of her job, she travels to Mount Hikami to help locate a missing person. Writer Ren Hojo is working to research the custom of post-mortem photography, and Miu Hanasaki hears of a clue that could help him find his missing mother, so they both head for Mount Hikami. . These three characters will come into contact with ghost marriages, disappearances and the rituals and mysteries that surround Mount Hikami.
Koei Tecmo: How are the players going to go about defeating these ghosts?
Keisuke Kikuchi: By using a device that has the appearance of a camera, known as Camera Obscura, you can take pictures of ghosts and cause damage to them. It robs them of their spiritual power and you are able to seal them. In order to deal even more damage, you will need to take pictures of the ghosts from a very close distance to them, and also take pictures of them at specific times, which is a special type of attack. Additionally, you can take snapshots that include their face or weak spots in the frame to deal more damage as well.
Koei Tecmo: Black water maiden introduced photo mode in the franchise? How it works?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The addition of photo mode is a first for the Fatal Frame series. The concept of this mode is to allow players to create their own ghost photograph. By pressing a specific button during the game, you can enter photo mode. You can place ghost and human characters, set their poses, adjust their positions, and take pictures of them. You can also adjust the lens and photo frames, use the platform’s hardware photo capabilities, and record images from your screen. I can’t wait to see all the unique photos everyone takes once the game is launched.
Koei Tecmo: What are the coolest images you’ve ever created in still mode?
Keisuke Kikuchi: New costumes are included in this version of Black water maiden, and I think they will be a great addition to photo mode. Yuri’s triathlon costume and black and white Cutesy Goth ensemble showcase the personalities of each of the characters, and you can have fun snapping photos of these costumes in spooky places to make those places a little less spooky. For example, players can create an ordinary everyday scene with Yuri and Miu while they have a friendly chat, and then add a ghost to the image. They can also have fun recreating scenes from their favorite horror movies, or turn the situation around by scaring ghosts by surrounding them with human characters.
Koei Tecmo: So, at the end of the day, do you prefer to set up spooky or wacky images in photo mode?
Keisuke Kikuchi: Personally, I prefer to take humorous photos, while the director really likes to take scary photos.
Koei Tecmo: How has photography been important to Fatal Frame?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The Camera Obscura can be used to repel ghosts through its photography, but it can also allow the player to find clues by taking pictures of the thoughts left behind. Wandering ghosts lurking around the map can also be recorded with the Camera Obscura, which can aid you in your exploration.
Koei Tecmo: What’s the scariest thing about Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water for you?
Keisuke Kikuchi: In Japan, we have many famous haunted places all over the country, including some in every prefecture. In Black water maiden, we’ve condensed it all into one place: Mount Hikami. Hope everyone can experience this feeling of realism in this place when they play the game. By playing the game yourself and controlling the character as he walks around this place, you can experience a feeling. fear unique to video games.
Koei Tecmo: So what are you telling everyone is they should definitely play with the lights on?
Keisuke Kikuchi: The director recommends playing the game with headphones in a dark room, but personally I find it scary. I feel like playing with the lights is the best way to play Black water maiden. I think anyone who is easily scared of horror games should play with a group of friends. Hope everyone can adjust this to suit who they’re playing with so they can have a lot of fun… and of course have a good scare!