Head: Keisuke Kikuchi (producer), Makoto Shibata (director)
―Fatal Frame was rereleased in August as part of PlayStation2 the Best at a more accessible price. We have received the impressions of some of these players who encountered Fatal Frame for the first time in the summer.
Shibata: We read through all of the opinions you send to us.
Kikuchi: We want to use these valuable impressions and requests as reference for when we're making future games. Please keep sending them.
―Then let's get started and take a look at some of the things that were said.
"I was moved by how scary it was." - 16/M/Tokyo
"In a word: scary." - 27/F/Osaka
"The ultimate in scariness is here!" - 17/M/Mie
"You get addicted to the feeling of fear." - 29/M/Tokyo
―These are the most common impressions. We heard other things like, "This is bad for your heart!", and, "This is the most scared I've ever been."
Kikuchi: Amongst them were things like:
"It's so spooky that I can't continue." - 14/F/Tokyo
"It's actually so scary that I stopped midway through and can't play any more." - 26/F/Saitama
...and so on from players who have exceeded their limits.
Shibata: We have one of those on the team, too - someone who got partway through Chapter 2 and then said they couldn't go on. Sitting there and watching how they get scared is interesting... or rather is a useful reference.
Kikuchi: That seems kind of in poor taste...
―I hear that there are quite a few people on the team who don't like scary things, though.
Shibata: That's right. Maybe because of that, I'm told about once a week, "Let's do a purification!"
Kikuchi: We talked before about some weird phenomena that occurred in the development room... Actually, those things are still going on. To find out more, go here.
"This has the best and the scariest [sound]." - 16/M/Chiba
"I keep hearing all these horrible sounds and I can't take it." - 27/M/Saitama
"The sound has a real presence, and I like it." - 14/F/Tokyo
―The sound also received quite high praise on the survey.
Shibata: We put special effort into the sound, so it makes me glda to hear it being spoken well of.
Kikuchi: It's a shame that people can't hear any of that sound in magazines or on the website. Make sure you try it out with headphones!"
―We also received the following impression.
"It's really easy to play if you use headphones." - 24/M/Kanagawa
Kikuchi: That's right. When you're looking through the camera it's hard to see your surroundings, but if you wear headphones you can tell which direction the ghost is coming from using the sounds they make, which helps you out in battle.
Shibata: Sometimes you hear players say that they get so scared that they play with the sound off, but this ends up going like: ghost is scary → turn off the sound → can't tell where the ghost is coming from → caught by the ghost → the ghost is even scarier... so it's best to play using headphones if you can!
Kikuchi: I think that the game is easier if you play with headphones, but definitely scarier. Every single sound will startle you...
―We also hear a lot of this kind of opinion.
"When I play using headphones, I feel like something's behind me." 16/M/Tokyo
Shibata: The same thing happens to me, sometimes. As I'm playing the game I feel like someone is calling me and reflexively take off the headphones, things like that.
Kikuchi: Once when I was playing it at home I heard what sounded like the bathroom door opening, but when I turned around it was shut.
Shibata: Now that I think about it, S, who is in charge of sound, said to me that every time they play Fatal Frame their pet bird goes mad in its cage.
Kikuchi: Do you think that maybe it was desperately trying to tell its owner something...?
Shibata: "It's behind you!"
"I like how mysterious it is." - 14/F/Tokyo
"I love horror, and the packaging excited me." - 27/F/Osaka
―The Miku packaging is also highly rated.
Shibata: Miku is sleeping amidst Japanese clothes, and she has the tearing ropes on her arms.
―It seems particularly popular with women.
Shibata: The designer who drew it is a woman who previously did Japanese paintings.
Kikuchi: The packaging doesn't directly try to look scary, but it seems to have been well-liked by people at magazines and in shops.
Shibata: She brought her own kimono from home and took pictures of it laid out on the ground for reference. I've always liked this kind of picture, so I was really excited! When we were doing things like the picture for the tapestry, we had a female staff member actually put on a kimono and do poses.
Kikuchi: You did that? It sounds kind of weird.
Shibata: And tied ropes to her...
Kikuchi: There's no way you went that far!
―... The back of the PlayStation2 the Best packaging is different. We have also received comments about this.
"The (back of the) Best version packaging is scary." - 17/M/Mie
―Let's take a look at what kind of packaging it is.
Kikuchi: We wanted the back of the PlayStation2 the Best packaging to look like the American version of the box art, so it ended up like this.
―The American box art:
Shibata: It's a contest of impact.
―It's like a totally different game.
Kikuchi: The upside down woman is my favourite ghost.
Shibata: Could it be that you... have a crush on the upside down woman?
Kikuchi: That's not what I meant...
―Things like this were also written on the survey.
"I can't sleep soundly anymore." - 28/M/Ishikawa
"I feel like I'm going to be cursed just by owning it." - 16/M/Tokyo
―There are lots of inexplicable phenomena surrounding Fatal Frame.
Shibata: This is a story I heard from an editor. They borrowed a copy of Fatal Frame so that they could write an article about it, then put it away inside a cupboard, intending to play it the following day, and gone to bed. In the middle of the night, they were awoken by a clattering sound. Taking a closer look, they realised that the noise was coming from the cupboard that they had put Fatal Frame inside, so ended up returning it without having played it...
Shibata: I also heard that the sound manager was playing Fatal Frame with a friend (a total scaredycat) when they heard a sudden snapping sound and saw that a teacup had broken vertically down the middle.
Kikuchi: That's ominous, too. Before, I talked about a fluorescent like breaking. I'm often asked whether it was true.
Shibata: It was. I was asked by a newbie who joined the company this year, "That ghost story on the website is a joke, right?" so I had to say that it was true.
Kikuchi: Try not to freak them out too badly.
Shibata: Hey, it was the light that broke...
Kikuchi: Stop that!
Shibata: Before, an incident to surpass the exploding light incident occurred. The mirror in the bathroom suddenly shattered into tiny pieces.
―That was amazing.
Shibata: I heard this huge crash from the men's bathroom so I went to take a look, but no one was in there. I rushed straight there, so I know for sure that it wasn't a person that did it.
Kikuchi: I was surprised when the light cracked, too, but this was even more of a shock.
Shibata: In case anyone is doubtful again, I made sure to take a photo as evidence this time.
Kikuchi: Hmm... (Looking at a photo of scattered mirror shards) We can't really show them this. But... it is quite impressive...
(Mirror shards scattered across the bathroom floor)
※Image removed at the producer's request
Kikuchi: It is quite impressive.
Shibata: We had only just had an incident in the very same bathroom where the water was left on full and the water soaked down as far as the B1F.
Kikuchi: That settled down when we all decided that someone must have forgotten to turn off the tap, but no one had any idea who it might have been. Maybe something happened after all...
Shibata: You can see this if you look at the photo, but the mirror's latch is fine.
―I've never really heard of a mirror breaking because the latch was loose before.
Kikuchi: The significant part is that it was the mirror that broke. What if something was trying to come out of it...?
Shibata: Take a good look at the photo. You can see a long-haired woman reflected in the shards in the upper right corner...
Kikuchi: For real!?
Shibata: ... I wish it was.
Kikuchi: Stop it! That's not funny!
Next time, as part of the subject of Fatal Frame Around the World, we'll take a look at Fatal Frame's reception in Europe and Korea. How do overseas players view Fatal Frame? Is this a fear that's shared worldwide? Let us delve into these interesting topics. Please look forward to it!