Originally posted on 2 October 2011
Last edited on 2 January 2016
Source: Official site

Fatal Frame: Zero Anthology Final Part - Development Room

Head: Makoto Shibata (director)

...Now I can tell you about things that really happened.

To be honest, there aren't many horror enthusiasts on the project for Fatal Frame. This might come as a surprise, but few of the staff normally watch horror movies, and they don't exactly enjoy ghost stories. I'm the only one who has a general interest in scary things; in fact, I think the majority of them don't like scary things at all.

So, when some kind of mysterious phenomenon occurs, people will say, "We really should have done a purification..."

Each time I would threaten them with, "If we did a purification it wouldn't be scary, would it? Think of it as a blessing if something happens!" and any plans for a purification would be safely shelved. As a result (?), several supernatural phenomena were able to occur during the project.

Out of those, let me tell you about some things I experienced.

Broken Light

A famous episode that caused an uproar in the Tecmo offices

I think this was midway through development, around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

As everyone was silently working away, all of a sudden a sharp popping sound rang out.

Everyone looked at each other. It was clearly the sound of something breaking. They stopped working, and began to look around the room to see what had happened.

"...Is this it?" one of the staff members said at to me at last, looking up at the ceiling. The fluorescent light in front of the development room lift had gone out.

If it had broken then there would be shards of glass all over the place and that would be bad, so I gave the floor a look over, but didn't see anything glass-like.

Taking a closer look, I saw that the light had broken into tiny pieces, but since it was the hooded type all of the shards had been trapped inside the hood.

However, since the lightbulb was inside a hood, that meant that nothing could have hit it and broken it that way... I had never heard of anything like this happening since joining the company.

The person who came to replace the bulb had no idea how it had happened, either.

Follow-up: I spoke about this incident in a magazine as well, so I think some people will know of it. I've been asked by colleagues if it's true, but yes, it is. (Shibata)

An impossible thing showed up within Fatal Frame

It happened during the creation of Fatal Frame's cutscenes...

This is something that happened to the movie team.

There's a cutscene in the game of the writer and his two companions arriving at the Rope Hallway. When this cutscene was being made, I heard from the staff that something was weird about it.

Going to take a look, I saw that for a single second there was something like a white stick in the corner of the screen at the end when the novelist turns around in front of the mirror.

Playing it frame by frame, I glimpsed feet floating in midair in the top corner of the mirror, as if someone was hanging there...

"I checked the data, Mr. Shibata, and there's nothing there. But for some reason, whenever we turn it into a cutscene it always shows up."

"Isn't it some kind of bug? Maybe a character is momentarily teleporting here or something?"

"If that was the case, then there would have to be legs in front of the mirror as well, but they only show up inside the mirror. I don't understand why."


"It's kind of scary, but since it's there, should we just leave it in?"

"No, it has to be a bug. Do what you can to fix it."

"...You're right."

No matter what they did the feet wouldn't go away, so we had half given up on it, but at some point in the process of creating the cutscenes they simply vanished.

Follow-up: I think that one of the tools was playing up, but we still don't know for sure what caused it. It coincided with the part of the plot I had been writing at the time, which kind of creeped me out. (Shibata)

The shadow of a ghost pursuing Fatal Frame's director

A woman's hair inside his bag!?

Since I became involved in this project, some small, strange things started to happen where I lived. Sometimes I would find a single long hair lying around.

It was quite long and glossy hair, and seemed to have come from a young woman. It obviously didn't belong to me.

When I talked to him about it the producer, Kikuchi, would tease me with, "Again... Are you sure you don't know where it's coming from?" but, unfortunately, I really had no idea.

At first the hair was often on my clothes, so I would just think, "When did it get on me? It's not like the train was packed or anything..." but each time I went home there would be some lying around, and I gradually began to get creeped out by it.

After the first discovery I made sure to keep the floor as clean as I could, but every time I went home there would be a long hair lying on the ground.

My mind started to run wild with thoughts like, "What if there's a long-haired woman standing in this spot after I leave...?"

If you're going to come out then come on out, ghost. If a ghost is going to show itself, then I'd rather it be a pretty one.

All of the ghosts I've seen so far have been ugly things with rotten faces. Based on the glossiness of the hair, however, I had my hopes up.

After a while, the hair started turning up in an even more amazing place: my bag.

After going home and opening it, inside was a single long hair.

I was shocked when I found it. It couldn't be explained away as a coincidence anymore. But then, the following day, I found one in an even more amazing place.

Returning to my room I sat at my PC, meaning to write some more of the plot, when I saw one lying ostentatiously on the keyboard.

Feeling that it meant "don't write anything" I was afraid, but since then I've stopped finding the hair.

Follow-up: If it was a female ghost, I would have liked to at least get a glimpse of her. It's a shame. (Shibata)

Other mysterious phenomena happen besides this.

Planner T was pulled up towards the ceiling by her hair when in the office at night and screamed. Another planner, H, saw a woman reflected in some glass when they were going home from work, but upon turning around saw no one there... and so forth.

If you want to learn of one more hidden story, please click here...