Koei Tecmo’s horror series Fatal Frame has been around for a while now, and though it hasn’t always been the most high profile franchise of the genre, it has gathered quite a sizeable and dedicated audience over the years. After what’s been a rather long hiatus, the series is coming back with a re-release of the last instalment- 2014’s Wii U title, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Of course, with Fatal Frame’s 20th anniversary right around the corner, it’s only appropriate that the series is coming back at least in some capacity, and to learn more about what we can expect from Maiden of Black Water’s re-release, we recently reached out to its development team. Below, you can read our conversation with series director Makoto Shibata.
"We wanted as many people to be able to play the game as possible. From fans that have played the series over the last 20 years on various platforms, to people who have just learned about the series."
What was behind the decision to bring back Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water?
As it’s the 20th anniversary of the Project Zero series, we wanted to express our thanks to our fans so we decided to bring the latest title, Maiden of Black Water, to the current platforms.
Why did you decide to launch the remaster as a multiplatform game this time? What was the dialogue with Nintendo like during that process?
We wanted as many people to be able to play the game as possible. From fans that have played the series over the last 20 years on various platforms, to people who have just learned about the series.
On the Wii U, Maiden of Black Water included Nintendo-focused cosmetics. Will these be exclusive to the Switch version in the remaster?
They will not be included in the Switch version.
Maiden of Black Water’s remaster is the first game in the series to have a photo mode. Given the central premise of a Fatal Frame game, it makes sense for there to be a photo mode at all, but are you taking the opportunity to do some different things with it that will fit the game’s premise?
In addition to the screen effects settings that are included in other games, you can adjust the depth of field, focal length and aperture. If you acquire the Psychic Lens, ghosts from past entries in the series can appear in the screen depending on the location or time.
"We are ensuring that the resolution and framerate will be suitable to each platform. Also, some of the effects, background textures and other aspects have been adjusted to look even better."
How much new content does the Maiden of Black Water remaster add?
We have added costumes that will showcase more of the characters’ personalities, as well as the Photo Mode we mentioned previously, which will allow you to take ghost photography with a high level of customization.
We have also expanded the ghost collection list, which now includes non-hostile floating ghosts and Traces.
What are the biggest visual and technical improvements being made to the game with this remaster?
We are ensuring that the resolution and framerate will be suitable to each platform. Also, some of the effects, background textures and other aspects have been adjusted to look even better.
Depending on how this game performs, do you think we will ever get a new Fatal Frame game?
As this title was prepared for the 20th anniversary of the series, we do not have any plans at the moment. However, the reactions we have received from everyone have exceed our expectations, so I’d like to consider this moving forward.
The PS5 features an incredibly fast SSD with 5.5GB/s raw bandwidth. How can developers take advantage of this, and how does this compare to the Xbox Series X’s 2.4GB/s raw bandwidth?
For this title, we are not focusing on comparing the different platform’s hardware, but are instead working to recreate the best aspects of the original version. Of course, the game loads more quickly now, so I think that makes the game more enjoyable to play.
The Xbox Series S features lesser hardware compared to Xbox Series and Microsoft is pushing it as a 1440p/60fps console. Do you think it will be able to hold up for the graphically intensive next-gen games?
Players will be able to run Maiden of Black Water on Xbox Series S at the same framerate and resolution as the Xbox Series X version.
"As this title was prepared for the 20th anniversary of the series, we do not have any plans at the moment. However, the reactions we have received from everyone have exceeded our expectations, so I’d like to consider this moving forward."
Super Resolution is coming to PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. How do you think this will help game developers?
While we are not implementing this feature, I think it will make games appear even more realistic.
What resolution and frame rate does the game target on the Switch in docked and undocked modes?
It will run in 1280×720 for the handheld mode and 1920×1080 for the TV mode.
What are your thoughts on the Steam Deck? Do you have plans for any specific optimizations for the device?
We don’t have any plans currently, but I think the Steam Deck is a very great platform so I’d want a version for it as well.