Originally posted on 21 June 2012
Last edited on 12 January 2016
Source: Official site

Fatal Frame: Experiences at Himuro Mansion

Head: Keisuke Kikuchi (producer), Makoto Shibata (director)
We compiled a review actual messages we've been sent by players.

Wanting to know what happened next in the story, I played through the whole thing in one go. I've never been so interested in what comes next in a game before. Especially what happens in the latter half... (17/12/2001)

―The development at the end really is a highlight.

Kikuchi: The Final Night happens in one big surge.

Shibata: Yeah... Please get a feel of the sensation of gradually descending into somewhere you shouldn't be going.

I like Reina more than Miku Hinasaki! (19/12/2001)

―This is Deception III's heroine, Reina. Her popularity is deep-seated.

Kikuchi: Reina was 17 as well in Deception III, wasn't she...

Shibata: It's supposed to be set 10 years after For My Daughter's 7th Birthday.

Kikuchi: Is that the reason?

Shibata: ...It's true.

The graphics are pretty, but the most amazing part is the sound. (21/12/2001)

Kikuchi: Sound is the lifeblood of horror. We worked hard on it.

Shibata: You should play with headphones on. Of course, do it in the middle of the night in a dark room...

Kikuchi: When you play Fatal Frame, don't you start at even slight noises?

Shibata: Even more importantly, sometimes you can hear sounds that weren't meant to be in there.

Kikuchi: Really?

Shibata: ...Really.

I wanted a minigame where you go into something like a haunted house at a theme park and secretly take photos. (23/12/2001)

―That's a cute idea (laughs). How about it?

Shibata: It would be fun if there was an actual haunted house attraction like that at a theme park! You could take in a polaroid camera and photograph ghosts until you come out. You only get three sheets of film, and at the exit you get a prize based on what you photographed. Sometimes you take photos of things you shouldn't be able to... What do you think?

Kikuchi: ...

I thought I was used to being scared, but there were so many freaky things that I shivered until the end. I spent the whole time saying to myself, "Something's here, something's definitely here," and raising the camera. There's no way I could run. (24/12/2001)

―We received a lot of this.

Shibata: It should be extra scary when you're looking through the camera, though.

Kikuchi: But without the camera you can't defeat ghosts.

Shibata: That was what we aimed for, to make it scary.

Kikuchi: ...Anyway, this creeping sensation is characteristic of Fatal Frame.

Shibata: It's a shame that this can't come through on paper...

I'd really like for this system to be made into a series like Deception! Set in a Japanese house again. (24/12/2001)

―How about making a series out of it?

Kikuchi: Depending on everyone's reactions, we'll consider it.

Shibata: If we do make a sequel, there are things we couldn't put into this game that I'd really like to use.

Kikuchi: Yeah. But let's not do anything too cruel, okay?

Shibata: ...

I've never felt anything like this in a game before. The first time I played it, the ghosts were so realistic and scary. I thought that maybe controlling the protagonist is too hard. It's a game that really scares you and makes you want to find out the truth. (28/12/2001)

Shibata: I wonder if saying that the ghosts look realistic means that they've seel a real one...

Kikuchi: You have, haven't you?

Shibata: Yeah. I saw them during development, too.

Kikuchi: Really?

Shibata: Really. Wanna hear?

Kikuchi: ...No thanks.

It doesn't seem like there was much meaning behind setting it in 1986. Will there be a sequel? (30/12/2011)

Kikuchi: We talked a bit about this in the anthology.

Shibata: It's because back then, there weren't mobile phones or GPS systems.

The game is quite tough, and I've currently stopped at chapter 3. The ghosts are so strong that I can't proceed. I had adrenaline coursing through me for the first time in ages. (30/12/2001)

―We hear about the ghosts being strong a lot.

Shibata: If you deal with them calmly, it's easy.

Kikuchi: Maybe it feels difficult even if you are calm?

Shibata: In times like that, you could refer to the battle lectures...

Out of everything, it's the ghosts! The voices and music are so scary! Enough to give me nightmares about the game... (1/1/2002)

Shibata: The game was born from my nightmares, so as you play it it will invade your dreams.

Kikuchi: Well, we were aiming for the game that had the ultimate scares...

Shibata: It even slowly eats away at you when you're not playing the game...

Kikuchi: Don't say things like that and scare people!

Shibata: For the people who make it, too...

I thought using a camera to seal away ghosts sounded like a weird game... I bought it and tried playing it, and I'm really satisfied. (1/1/2002)

―It does seem like a weird game (laughs).

Kikuchi: Truly, if you only heard what it was about it might sound like a strange game.

Shibata: At least call it "original"... But in terms of the Fatal Frame world, it's complete.

Kikuchi: Yeah. But I'm really glad that they were satisfied.

I played the game whilst being startled by ghosts, never knowing when one would show up. Hearing that a lot of effort had been put into the sound I tried using headphones and heard a voice from behind me, instinctively turning around. (1/1/2002)

―You can really hear the stereophonic sound from behind you, right?

Shibata: I saw it - the moment the man in charge of sound turned to look behind him as he was playing.

Kikuchi: Really? Even though he's the one who put the sounds in? (laughs)

Shibata: I'll never forget his face of, "Damn it, I fell into the trap I set myself."

During battle, I couldn't really see the ghost and the controller's vibration gradually kept getting stronger. "Wh-where is it?" Finally I flew into a panic and got a game over many times. (2/1/2002)

―The vibrations are quite effective as well.

Kikuchi: If you wear headphones, it's easy to tell where the ghost is.

Shibata: It doubles the fear, though...

Kikuchi: Also, if you think it's getting too close, exit finder mode and run away from the ghost. Then you can prepare yourself again.

Shibata: Sometimes, when you're grabbed by a ghost, mashing buttons or the stick will let you shake it off without incurring any damage. Keep fighting until the end...

It was so scary that I could hardly sleep at night. (4/1/2002)

Shibata: On those nights, you could play Fatal Frame...

Kikuchi: That would just make it harder to sleep!

I play after 9pm in a dark room using surround speakers, and I'm enjoying Fatal Frame 120%! (5/1/2002)

Shibata: Yeah, that's exactly the right play style. I also recommend closed headphones.

Kikuchi: I get a bit too scared to play it in the dark... There was a person who experienced temporary paralysis while playing it, but they said that it had never happened before.

I bought it today, but just the feeling of starting it up is thrilling and fun! (4/1/2002)

Kikuchi: We were aiming for a game that makes you tense even when there are no ghosts around.

Shibata: The darkness of the supposedly empty mansion gradually gets spooky...

I was so emotional when I saw the ending cutscene that I cried. (7/1/2002)

―I emotional at the ending, too.

Kikuchi: Thank you. Working so hard to make it paid off.

Shibata: We got several people saying the same thing.

It's super spooky. I actually can't play it unless my husband is around. It's too scary. I'm going to experience the fear again tonight with my husband... (9/1/2002)

Shibata: So that's another play style... What about your house, Kikuchi?

Kikuchi: No comment.

I actually love Mafuyu! I want to see a picture of Miku and Mafuyu together. (12/1/2002)

―The wallpaper series is highly rated.

Kikuchi: The wallpaper series is so highly rated that we finally managed to create a Mafuyu wallpaper.

Shibata: That's because I insisted that someone make a beautiful wallpaper of Mafuyu, too...

Kikuchi: Don't keep making demands like that.

Shibata: I want a picture of them together soon, as well.

Kikuchi: Well, I want to see it too, but...

Shibata: Then it's settled. Let's make one!

Kikuchi: Really?

Shibata: Really!

I personally like horror games, and have also played your Deception series, so I made my purchase with high hopes. It scared me so much that there have been several times during gameplay where I wanted to give up. (13/1/2002)

Shibata: We hear from a lot of people who say that they're too scared to go on.

Kikuchi: I get this slight feeling like that's not entirely praise...

Shibata: No, it's praise. This is praise.

Japanese people are scared more by Japanese-style fear after all. Malice, envy, jealously, curses... (23/1/2002)

Kikuchi: Each of the ghosts has their own emotions or sentiments...

Shibata: Defeating someone you empathise with is something inherited from Deception.

I would like there to be a little bit more of the 3D sound. Of couse, I listened to things like the Kagome Kagome song! It was really realistic and frightening! (26/1/2002)

―You can also experience the stereophonic sound from the downloads corner of the website.

Kikuchi: The stereophonic sound is praised as being scary.

Shibata: For those who have yet to play the game, please try doing so using headphones.

The ghosts are realistic. I want character merch for Fatal Frame. I want to see something like a movie. (26/1/2002)

Kikuchi: We're looking into doing some character merch right now.

Shibata: I want to see a movie, too!

Kikuchi: As long as you call me to the auditions to choose who plays Miku...

Shibata: Then I'll do the audition for the part of Mafuyu...

Please release a director's cut version including the brutal scenes you talked about in a magazine interview, even if you only sell it online. (28/1/2002)

―It seems like quite a lot of cuts were made to the cutscenes.

Shibata: That's the cutscenes that were cut because they were too detailed.

Kikuchi: I told you not to make such brutal scenes...

Shibata: I thought that much would be okay...

Kikuchi: Of course something like that wouldn't be!

Shibata: But I liked them... Okay, then I guess we can just sell it online.

Kikuchi: No way!

This is abrupt, but it's too hard. They're too strong, too scary, and I sweat too much! That monk who comes at me chanting sutras... He'll get me for sure. (29/1/2002)

Kikuchi: In response to people saying that it's too hard, we created a battle lectures corner on the website. Use that as reference.

Shibata: Once you get the hang of it, it shouldn't be hard. With ghosts you struggle with, you can use the tactic of taking a photo as soon as you see them and dealing damage little by little rather than wait for a shutter chance. Don't be reluctant to use your auxiliary attacks, either. Also, the guidebook is on sale now...

Kikuchi: That sounds like an advertisement.

In my opinion, it's fresh and fun, and also really scary. I'm hoping for a sequel, so keep it up. Oh, and please don't forget the Deception series, too. (29/1/2002)

Kikuchi: Thank you.

Shibata: We looked though the other opinions that were sent in, too. We'll use them as reference in creating future games. By the way, about the story for the sequel...

Kikuchi: What? You've already written that far?

Shibata: No, but you wouldn't stop telling me to write, write...

Kikuchi: I said that?

Shibata: You kept saying it in my dream...

Kikuchi: We really ought to go and do a purification soon!

Shibata: If we do make another game, the main character might not be Miku...

―Thank you for all of your comments and thoughts.