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[Interview] Talking Fatal Frame with Keisuke Kikuchi from Koei Tecmo

Posted on October 31, 2021 by (@NE_Brian) in Interviews, Switch

We’ve spoken to Fatal Frame producer Keisuke Kikuchi from Koei Tecmo a couple of times previously around the release of Fairy Tail on Switch. What some may not know is that Kikuchi has also been a longtime developer on the horror series. He’s been working on Fatal Frame since the very beginning when it started up two decades ago.

With the new version of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water on Switch from Koei Tecmo, the franchise is now making a bit of a comeback. We spoke with Kikuchi to talk about the possibility of more remasters, the Hollywood movie, collaborations, and more.

Our full discussion can be found below.

If Maiden of Black Water sells well, what is the chance we could see a remaster of Fatal Frame 4, which has only released in Japan? Could the success of Maiden of Black Water lead to more Fatal Frame remasters in general?

This particular remaster was created as a celebration of the Fatal Frame series’ 20th anniversary, so we don’t currently have any plans for any other titles. However, I have been really surprised by the greater than expected response to this game, so I will be sure to consider this in the future.

How did the new Ryza costume for Yuri come about?

As Yuri and Ryza’s outfits were similar in shape, I decided to utilize this when creating the costumes. As the costume comes from a whole different kind of world, players can have a different experience playing through the game with this costume.

Fatal Frame has always been one of a kind in the way that it told its stories of horror through a camera. When the series initially came to be, were there any other devices that were considered or prototyped outside of the camera obscura?

Yes, when developing the first title, we considered a bow (and ceremonial arrow used to drive off evil), talismans, and a sword that possesses magical powers. From that list, we decided to implement a camera as it was fun and interesting to use, and also could be used as a means to solve puzzles in the game.

Fatal Frame came out at a time when horror was at an all-time high – and some would argue at its absolute peak. What do you think has allowed Fatal Frame to keep going so many years later when many others disappeared over time?

I think this is because the Fatal Frame series contains universal concepts for fear that are not tied to any specific time period. Also, the game itself consists of more than just horror, the story, battle system, characters and other elements are all part of the adventure elements of the series. I believe fans continue to support the series due to all of these elements being present in our games.

Spirit Camera on the 3DS was an interesting way to utilize the system’s functions and really make players more immersed in the Fatal Frame world. Has there ever been consideration regarding other Fatal Frame spinoffs that utilize technology in a special way?

That is a title I am also very fond of. Personally, I have considered utilizing smartphone camera’s as one new way to play the games.

Fatal Frame had a live action film released in 2014 (Gekijōban Zero) that brought the video game to the silver screen. Considering the depth Fatal Frame has and its almost endless possibilities for stories, have there been discussions regarding branching out into other forms of media in a similar fashion such as anime, books, live-action series, etc.?

As we have had manga and novels created in the past, if there are any opportunities in the future, I’d like to expand the world of Fatal Frame to other mediums to allow fans new ways to enjoy the series.

Is there anything you can share regarding the Hollywood Fatal Frame film that seems to still be in pre-production?

While things are progressing currently, I don’t have any updates to disclose at the moment. Please wait a little longer for more details in the future.

A lot of games now have crossovers or collaborations to some degree. With Fatal Frame having dabbled in the likes of Super Smash Bros. in the form of a spirit, what collaboration would you like to see personally happen either represented with a character or the franchise as a whole?

Collaborations exist outside of the game’s world and story, so the characters and camera can appear in various spinoffs such as action or RPG games where the camera acts as their weapon. I think a collaboration where we can have a lot of fun with the title would be great.

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