[Interview] Koei Tecmo on Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse – decision to remaster, updating the graphics, more
Posted on February 19, 2023 by Brian(@NE_Brian) in Interviews, Switch
Nintendo Everything was recently given the opportunity to speak with two key developers behind the new remaster of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse: producer Yutaka Fukaya and director Makoto Shibata. The game will be launching on Switch next month after previously coming to Wii.
During out discussion, we touched on various topics such as the decision to remaster the title and release it in English for the first time, what it was like updating the graphics, and more. We even received a brief status update about the upcoming movie as well.
Here’s our full discussion:
What led to the decision to remaster the game and localize it for English-speaking audiences for the first time?
Fukaya: When we released the remastered version of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water in 2021, it thankfully caught the attention of many people and we received a wide range of feedback. We were able to feel first hand that there are people all over the world who would like to see more titles in the series released, and we wanted those who first discovered Fatal Frame through Maiden of Black Water to further experience the allure of Japanese-style horror.
We then decided to remaster Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, which was the title that received a particularly large number of requests for a remaster. The same reason applies to localization for English-speaking audiences. We believe that localizing the game for that region is essential to reach a wider audience.
Since this game will be a fresh experience for so many players, what are some of the themes and horror elements driving the story?
Shibata: The theme of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse was the fear of losing one’s memory and losing one’s sense of self, and the story is about recovering the memory of a day when something terrible happened. In the story, people who have completely lost themselves have their faces distorted as if they were a blossoming flower. We call it “Blossoming” in the game, and it is a distinctive expression of horror.
How scary do you think this Fatal Frame is compared to other entries in the franchise?
Shibata: I think this depends on the person. Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse does not have the painful rituals of the other titles in the series but focuses on psychological horror. Some say it is more frightening because it is psychological, others say it is not. I don’t think we can compare them, since each series has a different theme and theme-based fear in each of them.
It must not have been an easy task to update the game’s visuals. How did the team go about enhancing the graphics? What sort of new effects were added?
Fukaya: For the characters, we started by creating the image art once again. This was to ensure that the personalities and characteristics of the main characters would not be lost while upgrading them to modern standards of quality. Then, when we created the 3D models, we made adjustments from various angles and perspectives until we were satisfied with the results. As for the environments, there is the problem where the improved graphics make everything “too visible”. This is a negative point for horror, so we tried things such as adding distorted-like effects or make dust-like objects float in the air in order to bring the atmosphere to life.
How difficult was it to adapt the controls of this former Wii-exclusive for modern platforms? Are the Switch’s motion controls utilized as they were in the port of Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water?
Fukaya: Even though the original game was a Wii exclusive, it did not have many unique controls, so there were no major difficulties in this area. In fact, I feel that this was a good opportunity to improve the controls that didn’t quite match the game. For example, the motion control system is being used in the controls of the Camera Obscura.
Since the title was originally released on Wii fifteen years ago, did the team encounter any challenges during development of the remaster?
Fukaya: Because of how much time has passed since the development of the original version, some parts of the game were not merely simply ported but required as much effort as if they were completely remade. For example, we dedicated a lot of resources to the game’s visuals.
How was it decided which new costumes to include?
Fukaya: We collected a wide range of ideas from within the team, selected the best ones, and then I, as the producer, made the final decision. There are some that fit the image of the main characters and others that will provide a different feel, so we hope players will enjoy all of them.
If this new Fatal Frame release sells well, how significantly could that lead to the development of a brand-new entry in the franchise?
Fukaya: We can’t make any definite promises here, but if from the release of Mask of the Lunar Eclipse we find that many players are looking forward to more from the series, we may be able to meet that interest. We hope everyone will pick up and enjoy this game and join us in getting everyone excited about the Fatal Frame series!
Is there anything new that can be shared about the Fatal Frame movie? Is it still in development?
Fukaya: I can’t say anything concrete, but production is in progress. Please wait a little longer for more information.
Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be out for Switch on March 9, 2023.