6 Things I Want From The Next ‘Fatal Frame’

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Embrace Your Roots

Fatal Frame is and will forever be a survival horror series. It’s like Silent Hill, in that it’s defined by a set of features and expected themes, atmosphere and mechanics. This might have kept it from finding a larger audience in the past, but now, I think it will help set this game apart from the plethora of other horror games we have on the way.

The unrelenting terror that defined the first game and established the Fatal Frame series as a worthy contender to Silent Hill and Resident Evil would work brilliantly in today’s market. Just look at our favorite genre’s latest hits, like Slender: The Eight Pages, Outlast and Amnesia: The Dark Descent. They’re great games, but much of their success stemmed from the fact that they’re all shit-out-your-spine scary. We know Fatal Frame can be that scary too, it just needs another chance.

Also, no gimmicks. The controller works just fine for these games, I don’t need to be forced to use a PS Move or Kinect. I would also really like to see another Fatal Frame that doesn’t rely on spattering its levels with all things red and squishy. If I want gore, I can play… anything, really. I don’t need it here, too.

Balance Story With Scares

The original game was criticized — wrongly, I might add — for being “too scary.” This led director Makoto Shibata to make the follow-up more accessible, so as to encourage players [who never completed the original game] to overcome the scariness in wanting to see the end of the story.”

This is a series that has tried incredibly hard to balance its story with its scares, almost to a fault. It doesn’t want to scare you too much, lest you decide to leave it for something less traumatizing, but since its foundation is built on some immensely terrifying mechanics — specifically the camera obscura, which basically forces you to get up close and personal with the malevolent spirits that wish to do you harm — so when it reels back on a possible scare, it’s noticeable.

I want this series to embrace both of its biggest strengths: its twisted story, with its dark themes of extreme xenophobia and ritual sacrifice, and the abundance of horror it can offer unsuspecting players. An unbound Fatal Frame that balances both has the potential to satisfy fans of the genre as well as the market that could be the most critical to its sales: YouTubers.

Open the World Up A Bit

This series has historically been very linear. Too linear, I think. Let’s open it up a bit, shall we?

It might sound like an odd choice, but I’d suggest looking at Alan Wake as an example of what a more open Fatal Frame could look like. Just replace Wake’s gun and flashlight with a camera and the American wilderness with a less familiar Japanese village — possibly even one that’s been forgotten by time, left to rot deep within an ancient woods or hidden mountainside. Japan’s Aokigahara Forest (Suicide Forest), where hundreds of souls visit to commit suicide every year could be a solid source of inspiration for it. I’m sure that place is brimming with creepy.

Opening up this series so it’s less linear shouldn’t be difficult, it’s just a matter of smart level design. Don’t corral me toward the objective like a sheep covered in fine orange Cheeto dust; woo me by cooing delicately into my ear before unleashing a horde of ghosts to scare me in the right direction. That’s worked before.

That’s it! Want more wish lists? Good, because we have plenty. You can check out my other wish lists for The Evil Within and the next Silent Hill, if you feel so inclined. If I missed something you’re particularly passionate about or touched on something you really agree with, I highly recommend you share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • hadrianm

    It’s a shame I have to go through the piracy road to play the 4th game (thankfully there are fans out there who will translate). I’m a little bemused that Nintendo didn’t want to publish it especially when it’s the best selling one in Japan AND THEN remake the 2nd game and only bring it out over here.

    Perhaps it’s the fact that the 4th game wasn’t that good and Nintendo didn’t think it’ll score well enough to sell, it was ok but just “more of the same” with a lot of flaws and dodgy controls. The remake of the 2nd did improve on the controls though. We did get the spin off Spirit Camera on 3DS but that was pretty crappy.

  • Pav

    I would add to wish list: NO MORE GHOST HAND!!! This has nothing to do with game, it’s just annoying add-on.

  • RiesenRatte

    I really hope Nintendo is going to announce a new installement for the WiiU on E3 (together with Metroid^^)even though I didn’t really like the first 2 games, because they bored me after a while.
    A wish that I would add to the List is that I want more puzzles, like REAL puzzles not just “find this” or “Take a picture of That”.
    And an better soundtrack would be needed.
    The Ambient samples that are meant to be the soundtrack are just too short and a bit “cheap”. Look at amazing Dark ambient Tracks from Kammarheit or Nortthaunt. These are tunes you can really lose yourself in, and they last. If They would team up with an experienced Dark Ambient Artist it would add a whole new atmosphere to the game.

    • Adam Dodd

      All good ideas! :)

    • Chancey289

      Like the way you think. Fatal Frame on the WiiU could be a great idea. As much as I think my brother’s WiiU is still arbitrary as hell and I don’t like Nintendo forcing their gimmicks so much, those gimmicks have potential and I’ve been thinking about them.

      I know I wouldn’t want some crappy multiplayer tacked on but, online features could be nice. Create and share creepy scrap books or something I don’t know.

      (On an semi-unrelated note, I would love to see some kind of Eternal Darkness sequel and just imagine the trippy sh!t the gamepad can pull on you.)

      Anyway, I would just love to see another great Fatal Frame game. Adam has pretty much listed most of the stuff I’ve been thinking about here already.

  • ThunderDragoon

    Great article, Adam. First they need to bring Fatal Frame IV here and then they can make a new one.