Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse Interview – Producer & Director Discuss This Previously Japan-Exclusive Entry

We recently had the opportunity to interview the Producer and Director of the upcoming horror adventure, Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, Yutaka Fukaya, and Makoto Shibata.

In case you missed it, check out our latest preview of the game.

We discussed the history and uniqueness of this particular entry, personal stories, and even the possibility of a new entry in the long-forgotten Deception franchise.

You can read our full interview below:

Q: This will be the first time Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be available outside Japan. What was the most significant reason for this being Japanese exclusive at the time, and do you believe that western gaming trends have changed over the years so that niche titles like these can be well-received in western regions?

Yutaka Fukaya: I am sorry, but I cannot discuss this in detail. What I can say is that it was a necessary decision for the series. I believe that the trend of video games in the West is of course changing. This is not limited to games, but I think there is a deeper understanding of Japanese horror than before.

Q: For Makoto Shibata: Does this release of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse still retain the same narrative as the original? You had a great team of writers on the project, including Goichi Suda and Masahiro Yuki. Can you tell us any stories that stand out to you from when you three put this story together over 15 years ago?

Makoto Shibata: It is the same story as the original. The creation of the original story was a complicated process. The story of the FATAL FRAME series has text complement the non-verbal elements, such as scenery and sound. Suda-san was the type of person whose unique text came first. If the text became our first priority, the atmosphere would disappear, so I put the story together while listening to Suda-san’s and Yuki-san’s concepts. The story meetings with Suda-san were full of surprises, so let me share with you the most unforgettable moment from those meetings.

One of the things I wanted to do with this game was to visualize the view beyond the point when all memories are lost. This is the kind of vision that a soul sees at the moment of birth or at the moment of death, a place that is referred to in the game as the “Hallowed Realm”. The meeting wasn’t progressing because it was difficult to visualize the things I was seeing as well as my memories. At that time, Mr. Suda murmured, “If there is such a place, I would like it to be like “paradise”. It was an idea that had never occurred to me. I was strongly influenced by his words and worked on creating the visualization of my thoughts.

Q: Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse utilized the Wii hardware when it was first released. How do you feel these gimmicks translate on newer hardware? Did you need to adjust any gameplay features for this updated release?

Yutaka Fukaya: Controls that use the Wii Remote cannot be reproduced, as the devices are completely different. For example, we had to redesign the piano controls so that the player can enjoy those aspects of the game in a different manner. For the gameplay, we have made various adjustments to character movement, camera movement, and so on. These are not due to hardware changes, but purely to improve how the game play feels.

Q: Given how the horror genre has evolved over the years, have you considered what a brand new entry in the Fatal Frame series would be? Can fans expect to see new entries in the future?

Yutaka Fukaya: We can’t talk about future projects here, but if we find that many players are looking forward to more of the series after the release of “Mask of the Lunar Eclipse”, we may be able to meet that interest.

Q: What are some of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse’s scariest gameplay elements? Should players expect some challenging spirit encounters in this release?

Yutaka Fukaya: What people find scary is different for each individual, but what I consider important is the sound. Please try playing the game with headphones. The difficulty is set accordingly to each level. If you are skilled, please try to clear the game in “Nightmare” mode.

Q: Do you have a favorite boss or spirit from Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse that you can share and why?

Makoto Shibata: It is Kageri Sendo, the spirit of a woman dressed in black and pushing a wheelchair. This spirit is modeled after Miyamoto-san, a slender man who often appeared in the dreams of the director of the original version of the game.

There is a man in a wheelchair who looks exactly like him, but the man is obviously dead. He does not seem like a bad person as he greets people in an elegant way when passing by. Sometimes the wheelchair and the dead body are left unattended, and when approached, he says “don’t touch me!” and gets angry. This is so scary we decided to recreate it in the game. We have adapted a lot of things from dreams, but the good thing is that he almost never appears in the director’s dreams anymore. It seems like he is satisfied to some extent.

Q: For Makoto Shibata: Now that you’ve revisited Fatal Frame, what are the chances we’ll see a new entry in the Deception series?

Makoto Shibata: The Deception series is a popular series, but there is nothing I can say right now. We had previously envisioned a new title using the same game style of Deception, but it never came to be.

Q: Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse features atmospheric audio and sounds to immerse the player. Was this gameplay element revisited for this release to take advantage of improved audio hardware?

Yutaka Fukaya: Indeed, sound is one of the most important elements in this title. Although it’s not as drastically renewed as the graphics, the sound has also been appropriately adjusted.

Q: What was the most significant highlight for you returning to Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse so many years later?

Makoto Shibata: Looking at it from today’s perspective, there are a few things I wish I had done differently, but I think it is a complete product where I had been pushed to the limit. If I were to make a game now with the same theme, I don’t know if I would be able to reach this point. I feel that there are things that a person can create only at that moment in time.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to share with fans looking forward to the release of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse?

Makoto Shibata: We have put a lot of thought into each of the games in this series. In remastering them, I believe they have a value that will never get old. We believe that this title will be enjoyable for those playing it for the first time, as well as for those who have played it once before. We hope everyone will pick it up and enjoy it.

Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will launch on March 9, 2023, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Windows and Steam.

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Orpheus Joshua

Random gamer equally confused by the mainstream and the unusual.