Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water released only a couple weeks ago to generally positive acclaim. While the game may be a bit repetitive in some places, its integration of the GamePad as the Camera Obscura was a clever move that really added a whole new layer of immersion to the experience. Siliconera recently caught up with Makoto Shibata and Toru Osawa – the Director and Co-Producer, respectively – to get more insights into the development process and many interesting tidbits of information naturally popped up.
One of the topics covered was the game's focus around the concept of water. The first idea for the concept emerged when the developers were brainstorming ideas for things they could do with the Wii U hardware that weren't feasible on previous consoles.
Osawa: In the early stages, we had discussions with Koei Tecmo Games about what Wii U-style visuals should look like. We groped around for things we couldn't depict in previous games in the series, but could now with the Wii U. The conclusion we came to was "water".
From ghosts appearing out of rippling water to the feel of droplets running down your body, water's played an important element in all kinds of horror scenes, but it's always been difficult to depict in video-game graphics. During our experimentation this time, we saw some pretty good prospects for making this happen, so we agreed to give it a shot and got to work with Koei Tecmo Games.
Another contributing factor stems from Shibata's belief that moisture needs to be present in the air for ghosts to actually appear in real life:
Shibata: The reason we went with water this time, though, comes down to my personal experiences. I think it was around 2008, but I was in Los Angeles in the summer, and the experience made me really feel like "I doubt I'd run into any ghosts around here". Then, when I went back to Japan and immersed myself in the kind of summer humidity you only see in Japan, it made me realize once again how much of a necessary element it was. I think there needs to be a level of moisture in the air in order for ghosts to appear. If the humidity's high, it feels like you're surrounded by something larger than yourself; the boundaries between you and the rest of the world grow ambiguous, and I realized that the water becomes an intermediary that connects you with the unseen.
Another topic covered was why Ayane - of DOA fame - was chosen to appear in such a radically different context to her typical video game appearances. It seems that Nintendo wanted to highlight the collaboration being made with Koei Tecmo, so they suggested that the company include a character form DOA. It additionally suggested the more action oriented approach that this game took compared to previous entries:
Osawa: We wanted to emphasize the collaboration aspect more between us and Koei Tecmo Games, so Nintendo suggested having a DOA character make a guest appearance. Most characters in DOA are highly seasoned fighters, but having that strength be rendered meaningless by these otherworldly ghosts is something that I think will seem pretty fresh to DOA fans.
Shibata: Nintendo was the one who suggested having Ayane as a guest character. I think the intention here, as discussed earlier, was to create a stronger action-oriented impression.
For more details on the development of this terrifying game, check out the full interview here.
What do you think? Were you pleased with how the latest entry in the Fatal Frame franchise turned out? Drop us a comment in the section below.