In this corner, Fatal Frame II's producer Kikuchi and director Shibata will tell us what went on behind the scenes on development.
Kikuchi: We were so focused on making the game that we haven't updated the site for a while. We're sorry.
Shibata: We've had a lot of angry mail telling us, "I check the site every day, but you never update!"
Kikuchi: We've entered the final fine-tuning stages on the game and reached a pause, so we're going to give you lots of new info on Fatal Frame II.
―The other day, there was an event in America for Fatal Frame 2: Crimson butterfly (the American version of Fatal Frame II).
Kikuchi: We went to San Fransisco for the event last month. We had just under 30 people from magazines, the internet, cable TV and more assembled, and gave them an early look at Fatal Frame II. It was held at a place called Hakone Garden on the outskirts of San Fransisco, themed on a Japanese garden.
Shibata: It's a place that an American might mistake for being in Japan...
Kikuchi: Honestly, it's more Japanese than Japan. They were really careful with everything, from the bamboo groves and tatami to the wooden pillars. There were ropes based on Fatal Frame hung from the entrance. That was something done by the staff over there (wry smile).
―What did you do at the event?
Kikuchi: It started in the evening. After a light dinner, we first of all saw someone with supernatural powers (?) do some magic while talking all about Fatal Frame, but it was in English so I couldn't understand a word. All I could make out was "Fatal Frame", "butterfly", and "scary".
Kikuchi: First of all, once it got dark we played the promotional movie with the bamboo grove as a backdrop. It really fitted the atmosphere to play a video of Fatal Frame II in a silent garden. The protagonists are pure Japanese twins, but I think they accepted it.
Shibata: I think there are places in Japan where you can see the promotional movie in shops in Japan, too. You don't often get something as exquisite as this situation, though.
Kikuchi: Afterwards, we had a test of courage and mystery-solving event in the mountains around back themed around Fatal Frame II. The participants were put into pairs and tied together at the wrist with a crimson cord so they couldn't separate, going out into the mountains with a torch and polaroid camera.
Shibata: It was really elaborate.
Kikuchi: I'm not done yet. There were 13 hints to do with Fatal Frame II in the mountains, and we had them photograph those with their polaroids and use them to solve the mysteries we'd prepared - the hints themselves were amazing. For example, we had:
-twin Japanese dolls
-an old camera
-photos of Mio and Mayu
and more. Not only that, but if you didn't pick up film you might run out. It was really large-scale.
Shibata: It was really Fatal Frame-ish. It seems like it would make a fun theme park attraction.
Kikuchi: Next was the playable demo. We'd already prepared PlayStation 2s and a demo of Fatal Frame II in each hotel room, so you could try the game out in a relaxed environment.
Shibata: How did everyone react?
Kikuchi: The people who'd seen the promotional movie wondered if the game was too mystical to be scary, but everyone was scared when they tried it out.
Shibata: We'd intended the intro not to be so scary, though...
Kikuchi: Yeah, we kept the introduction calm this time around so that people could get the story. I can't tell you much, but there's a bit in Chapter X where kids run past, and the writer who was playing and the translator on our staff, sitting beside him, both shouting "Woah!" and leapt out of their seats simultaneously. Afterwards, with a wry smile, he said happily, "Your team's made one hell of a crazy game. My heart's still pounding."
―It looks like it was a success.
Kikuchi: In this way, starting with a cable TV show, we're introducing it acros all forms of media in America. We were chosen to be featured in gamepro.com's Gamepro's Game of the Week next week.
―First of all, though, there's Tokyo Game Show.
Kikuchi: We're going to be showing off a playable version of Fatal Frame II at Tokyo Game Show. We'll be giving a special calendar to those who play it. If you come to the hall, please make sure you stop by Tecmo's booth.
Shibata: Please make sure you experience the upgraded Fatal Frame II. We'll be waiting for you.