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Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse

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This article contains spoilers, please read at your own risk.

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This article is still incomplete. It is currently under development.


Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
FF4 Cover
零~月蝕の仮面~
Zero ~Tsukihami no Kamen~
Developer(s)Tecmo, Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher(s)Nintendo
Release date(s)July 31, 2008 (Jap.)
CANCELED for US
CANCELED for PAL
RatingsCERO C (15+) (Jap.)
PlatformNintendo Wii


Zero ~Tsukihami no Kamen~, known as Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse to players of the fan-made English language translation patch, is a Nintendo Wii exclusive japanese survival horror game and the fourth installment in the Fatal Frame series.

It was the first game game of the series to not be developed and/or published by Tecmo,  the first to not be released to a PlayStation console and was never released outside of japan, being developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Nintendo on July 31, 2008 in Japan.

A new page for the series, Fatal Frame IV employed a brand new story and gameplay elements exclusive to the Nintendo Wii.

The game centers around the motifs of the moon, memories and masks, and the dominant color throughout is a vibrant yellow, alluding the brightness of the moon against a dark sky.

SynopsisEdit

Ruka piano1

Ruka contemplates her memories while playing an old song she remembers on the piano.

Ruka Minazuki looks towards Rougetsu Island as she approaches it from a boat. She travels to the island, her old childhood home, in hopes of uncovering memories she doesn't recall. She finally journeys to the island herself after two of her friends, Misaki Asou and Madoka Tsukimori, went themselves and have yet to return. The three girls are the only survivors of a kidnapping incident that occurred on the island ten years ago, however they have no recollection of the incident. They were rescued by a detective named Choushiro Kirishima, who found them underground, on the eve of the island's ceremonial Kagura dance. Shortly after the incident, the five kidnapped girls and their families were taken to live away from the island. However, a mysterious incident occurred on the island two years later, and none of its inhabitants were left alive.


Now two of the kidnapped girls have died, and Ruka, Misaki and Madoka have taken it upon themselves to find the truth behind the island's mysterious deaths and their lost memories.

PlotEdit

For more details see: Fatal Frame IV Chapters

DevelopmentEdit

Tecmo, developer of the previous titles in the series, revealed the game was to be released exclusively for the Nintendo Wii console. This signals a major break for the series, with the previous three titles having been released on Playstation 2 and eventually, Xbox. Whether the game will eventually be ported to the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 systems has not yet been determined.

It was revealed the game would be developed with the help of Grasshopper Manufacture.

The project was delayed, apparently to make way for Grasshopper's No More Heroes, which was subsequently released toward the end of 2007.

Adding confusion and speculation about the game's development, in January 2008, it was revealed that Nintendo will play a heavy role in the game's development, with directorship roles shared between Shibata Makoto, who has previously been involved in the direction of the Fatal Frame series and Goichi Suda (commonly known as Suda 51) from the previously mentioned Grasshopper Manufacture. Although the game appears to joint effort between Tecmo, Grasshopper and Nintendo, it was revealed that the game will be published under the Nintendo banner, further fueling speculation that Nintendo has purchased the Fatal Frame franchise from Tecmo.

Release IssueEdit

The game was released to the Japanese audience in July 31, 2008, however release outside of Japan has been canceled. Reasons for the game being canceled overseas have not been clearly stated, as Tecmo has referred fans to Nintendo, and vice-versa.

Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo America spoke in an interview with MTV Multiplayer concerning the game's publishing rights:

We are not the publisher of that title in the Americas. So I can’t comment on it… I don’t know if it has a publisher.

[1]

Project zero 4

Early PAL cover of the game

Tecmo has also responded to fan inquiry with the following statement:

Nintendo holds the publishing rights to 'Fatal Frame Wii,' which was developed by Tecmo LTD. and Grasshopper Manufacture and released in Japan on July 31, 2008. Nintendo of America has since then decided not to publish the title in North America – consequently, the title will not be released in this territory. As the owner of the IP, Tecmo feels very unfortunate that the fans of the series in North America will not have a chance to play the game, but respects the final decision made by Nintendo of America.

[2]

Currently, the title will not be published in any territory outside of Japan.

Glitches and BugsEdit

  • Coded Memo Glitch
After receiving the Encrypted Memo (暗号のようなメモ) in the Third Chapter, going immediately to the Doctor's Lounge on the 2nd Floor will cause the game to freeze. To avoid this glitch, be sure to go to the Director's Office on the 1st Floor and enter the three-digit code (276) on the intercom first.
  • Ghost List Glitch
It is impossible to get every single ghost on the FFIV ghost list (there are 233, but you can only obtain 227 of them). Completing the Spirit List is supposed to unlock the Festival lens, but the Festival lens is unobtainable through normal means due to the glitch. However, through the use of Ocarina codes or using a hacked save file with the lens unlocked, it is possible to obtain the Festival lens without completing the ghost list.
Spirit List entries affected: Numbers 32, 101, 107, 176, 182, and 211.
  • Spirit Points Exploit
Because of the above glitch, the six affected ghosts can be photographed repeatedly for their full points value. This makes it possible for players to earn several thousand points per ghost.
  • Item Glitch
After clearing the game, there is an "unlockable" item on the Extras menu that cannot be unlocked.

Fan Translation PatchEdit

Fatal Frame IV patch splash screen1

The loading screen that appears when playing the patched game. On it is information about the patch's creators and website.

In response to Nintendo and Tecmo's statements regarding the overseas cancellation of the title, a group of dedicated fans decided to create a patch that would allow imported copies of Fatal Frame IV to be played with any Nintendo Wii system.[3] The patch is designed to bypass the console's region-locking feature and allow physical copies of the game disc to be played. In addition, the patch team translated in-game text into English and efforts to translate into more laguages are currently underway.

The patch was released on the team's website for free download on January 17, 2010.

English Dub ProjectEdit

Another team of Fatal frame/Project Zero fans were working on a English-Dub project however, this has been cancelled and will not be released anymore.

Developers' thoughtsEdit

Developers 2

Keisuke Kikuchi (producer) and Makoto Shibata's (director) thoughts about the game:


==="Zero"===


As Japanese Horror

Kikuchi: The Zero series is a Japanese horror adventure game set in abandoned Japanese mansions, and using a camera - in this game called the Camera Obscura¹ - the player seals the ghosts that appear around the building whilst solving the mysteries of the story. It's set in the 80s, a time when mobile phones were not yet in widespread use. That came from the very start, when we began making the game, from director Shibata's written proposals.

Keisuke Kikuchi 2

Keisuke Kikuchi

1. Camera Obscura: A special camera that can photograph spirits. Souls of the attacking ghosts can be sealed inside it.

Shibata: Personally, I wanted to make the scariest horror game ever. However, if we had, for example, tried to create a game set overseas with my own world view as a Japanese person, like borrowing it, it would be very difficult to express true fear. What drenches my body in fear is neither monsters not zombies, but of course ghosts. I wanted to create something that would give a Japanese person the highest sense of mental fear I could.

In the first proposal I wrote up, broadly speaking, it can be said that the prototype Zero encorporated two elements. One was the setting of a Japanese mansion. In a traditional Japanese manor, behind sliding screens and under edges, there's normally a hidden world on the other side, and utilising such "darkness" and the feeling of fear, like horror, that is only within it, a horror that would make you feel the fear mentally. That's what I wanted to make. The other was a system in which you seal away ghosts. I wanted, if possible, to avoid having it so that you could take a direct look at the scary, ghost-like things. But, though it was spooky, I wanted the kind of system where you couldn't defeat what you couldn't see, and from that was born the idea of a camera that could feal spirits.

Makoto Shibata

Makoto Shibata

Kikuchi: When I first heard the camera idea, I objected to it. Since it was a Japanese horror I thought it would be best to fight using methods like hitting things with a Hamaya, writing spells on Ofuda or something like that, and I thought that a camera would be too passive of a device, and couldn't see how it would fit in with the world view. However, when we started to focus on planning the game, I started to think of the camera as something inextricable from Zero. Photos are things that are cut outs of time and spae, and the tension that comes with the moment a Shutter Chance arrives is a system that mathes the game perfectly. Also, the ghosts you wouldn't want to get lose to you - having to wait until they're right by you to defeat them raises the evel of fear, and I believe it to be the optimal system. The title, "Zero", represents something that should be there but isn't, and something that shouldn't be there but is, sort of like nothingness, but it is also a word that evidently represents ghosts. It can also be read "rei" (ghost), which makes it the perfect title for a game that deals with ghosts.

Zero ~Tsukihami no Kamen~Edit

Setting of the story

Shibata: This game takes place on a ficticious Island called Rougetsu Island, located south of Honshu. On the island is a hotel-like building called Rougetsu Hall, built with a blend of Japanese and western styles, which is used as a sanatorium². That is the main stage. A ritual called the Rougetsu Kagura³ was performed on the island once every decade, but after an incident occurred it was discontinued. Also on the island, there was said to be a case in which five girls simultaneously disappeared and were discovered some days later. Found by a detective, the girls were looked after but had lost every single one of their memories, and for the time being the case seemed to be closed. Some years later, two of the five girls who were involved in the incident die, and the remaining three travel back to the island, beginning the story. To shed light on the case and their lost memories, the story is shown from the viewpoints of each of the multiple protagonists.

2. Sanatorium: An institution for the purpose of curing diseases that require long-term treatment. They're often located in remote places with fresh air, such as highlands and coasts.

3. Kagura: A Shinto ritual involving music and dance, performed to worship the gods.

Kikuchi: Since it's a story in which the protagonists, who have lost their memories, return to the island to regain their memories, they're characters with an image that's a little like they're shut away within themselves. It's set when they're all 17 years old, neither adults nor children, when they're most sensitive and emotional. Also, the subtitle "Tsukihami no Kamen" (Mask of the Lunar Eclipse) is the name of an indispensible item used in the Kagura ritual performed on Rougetsu Island. Other than "mask", the keywords for this game are "the waxing and waning of human memory", "phases of the moon" and "melody". That is to say that the subtitle "Mask of the Lunar Eclipse" is involved with the deep parts of the story.

Reborn on the WiiEdit

Kikuchi, Shibata

Shibata and Kikuchi

Controls and viewpoint

Kikuchi: The rules of the series up until now, as well as the basics, are unchanged, but since this one is on the Wii there have been quite significant changes to the controls. The character's movement is controlled using the stick on the Nunchuck, and the torch, well known in this series, is controlled using the Wii remote. The torch, which illuminates the dark rooms, is an item that is essential for further raising the feeling of fear, and when I saw the Wii remote for the very first time I felt that it was a really good fit. From there, as a result of much trial and error, we decided not to use pointing but rather the motion sensor, raising and lowering the remote, which I thought was the most realistic way of control, like you were really holding an actual torch. Moreover, the feeling of operating it using the remote and nunchuk, holding a controller in both hands, had more of a sense of realism than conventional controllers, which adds to the fear.

4. Pointing: a method of control like pointing directly at a spot on the TV screen.

5. Motion sensor: a sensor built into the Wii remote that detects motion and inclination of the remote, detecting the three depth, vertical and horizontal axes.

Shibata: The other big change was the viewpoint. We previously used a fixed, overview camera perspective, and it felt like you were moving the character around on the screen. However, in this game, it's been changed so that the viewpoint is from behind the back of the character you're controlling, so it's evolved to allow you to feel like you, yourself, are there. Since you move the torch around with the Wii remote, and at the same time look around, so it feels natural when you look up and to the side of you and illuminate the area as you walk around. When you're going into a scary place, as you're walking inside, you can keep an eye out for the area around

you. It allows you to do that. Because of that, when you're going around corners in the hallways, you might also feel like, "Oh, I just saw something..." (laughs). In that sense, you can immerse yourself more in the world of Zero, and enjoy exploring more than ever before.

6. Overview perspective: an objective viewpoint from which you see the player character.

Blending Japanese and Western styles

Kikuchi: One of the other changes to this game was due to the viewpoint alteration, in that we had to slightly change the design of the buildings the game is set in. In the series up until now the games have been set in old Japanese mansions, but since the occupants of traditional Japanese buildings live on tatami mats, many things are below the eye-line. Since the perspective in this game is from behind the character's back, we thought that placing things a little higher, in a building with both Japanese and Western influences, would be more fitting for this system. This game is set in a Meiji era ryokan/hotel-type building influenced by Western architecture, but of course there are also traditional-type Japanese mansions in the game, and this game has a higher number of buildings appearing in it than any other game in the series so far.

Shibata: After we changed the viewpoint to behind the character's back, there were people who wondered if the character's walking speed was too slow. Originally in the Zero series, we decided that movement speed during exploration should be slow. We wanted movement to feel really crisp, like in an action game, which would let you physically feel the fear while moving along and trying to see what's in the darkness, the feeling of the heavy air and humidity. Actually, this game has the fastest movement speed in the series, but since the view is from behind and everything moves gradually across the screen, it feels quite slow. We kept doing really thorough reviews and tweaking of that right up until the very final stages of development, taking into account not only the protagonist's movement speed but also when arriving at points at which the screen changes.

Effort put into making the fearEdit

Feeling fear with your body

Kikuchi: The theme for this game during development was, in a nutshell, "feeling fear with your body". The first thing we thought about was being able to control it intuitively, going where you want, examining things and doing what you like. For example, the feeling of stretching your hand out into the darkness, the feeling of timidly using the torch to examine your surroundings, etc. From each of these improvements comes a feeling of realism, which I think allows you to physically experience the fear better than anything else in the series thus far and expresses it really well.

Shibata: To express the feeling of physical fear, we also concentrated on the sound. Previously in the series, playing the games while using headphones allowed you to reach the climax of fear by tuning up the sound. But this time we had a new challenge, and thinking of the Wii remote speaker as a single speaker, we produced lots of things for it. Naturally, you can of course hear sounds coming from your hand, and there's also the vibration function, and we also incorporated many different ideas, so if you can, for this game it's better to put your headphones to one side and play it with your TV volume up high.

First collaboration in the series

Shibata: For this game, for the first time, we tried out having three different companies - Nintendo, Grasshopper and Tecmo - collaborate to work on a single game. In that sense, perhaps this game was like totally new software, and it was a great opportunity to review the game system we've used in the past. Though I took it for granted when making the games before, working with two other companies let me completely review things in a big way and see what could make the game even better. If we had worked on the same hardware, I don't think I would have been able to do that. As for further improving quality, I don't think we could have done that without working with Nintendo and Grasshopper, and I think that those companies cooperating with Tecmo raised this game up a notch to another level.

7. Grasshopper Manufacture: a software development company that has worked on many titles such as No More Heroes (Wii), killer7 (GC) and Contact (DS). Goichi Suda, the company representative, served as director along with Makoto Shibata.

Kikuchi: All three companies involved in the collaboration have their own unique styles, so when we put together everyone's opinions it was a complete and utter mess (wry smile), but I think it went really well. The Nintendo development staff were really reliable with pointing out parts in the series up until now where we'd been vague or seemed to have made light of something, which I think increased the game's quality. Also, Grasshopper is a company with great technological strength when it comes to characters' expressions and actions, which I think added a livlier feeling to the game. Us at Tecmo, of course, concentrated on the fear for this entry in the Zero series, going to the very heart of a traditional horror game and tackling it head-on.

MessageEdit

Kikuchi, Shibata 2

Shibata and Kikuchi

Shibata: The ones I want to play it first of all are those who have enjoyed previous games in the series. Maybe there are people who might be worried about the scares in this game being expressed mildly, but that isn't the case at all. What this series tries to express is psychological fear. Fear like something, the nature of which you don't know, is staring at you. This isn't a game that draws its fear from intense blood splatters and grotesque monsters, so there's no need to be concerned about the way in which it's expressed. Instead, the producer from Nintendo said that "It's scarier" or something like that (laughs). Like the rest of the series, this game has its own unique story, but the games are partially connected behind the scenes in ways that I think will make the player smile. Just enjoy wandering around the buildings, and though they're scary at first you will eventually feel a comfortable atmosphere when you're there, so please spend a long time enjoying it.

Kikuchi: I would of course like fans of the previous games to enjoy a horror game through this work, but also those who have had no previous experience with the series. Zero has never been a series that uses numbering - for example, Zero 2 or Zero 3. Each game has its own complete story, so it's fine to start with this game and you will still enjoy it. Also, this incarnation has even more intuitive controls, so I will be really satisfied if people feel that "even though they're scary, horror games are really fun!". Also, this game is full of bonus features. They're still secret right now so unfortunately I can't talk about them, but there's so much bonus stuff in there I'm dying to talk about. As well as that, we asked Ms. Tsukiko Amano, a regular of this series, to sing the theme song. The song for this game is also really great, so keep going until the end so you can hear the ending song. The fear, volume and fun elements are all in there without any compromises, which makes it the best in the series. Please use it to cool down this hot summer.

8. A singer-songwriter who made her indies debut in 2001 with the single "Hakoniwa". In addition to live performances, she works as an artist in various fields.

Sales in JapanEdit

Fatal Frame IV was released on July 31.

Below is displayed the weekly results based on Media Create and Famitsu's software sales charts (number of sales vary depending of the chart):

Media Create Top 50
Week 31, 2008 (July 28 - August 3)

The game debuted at 7th place, selling 33.456 units and becoming the highest sold Wii title of the week. Followed by Wii Fit, peaked at 8th place for selling 32.201 units in that week.

Week 32, 2008 (August 4 - August 10)

The game declined 13 positions in the ranking, jumping from 7th to 20th place and no longer being the highest sold Wii title of the week.

Week 33, 2008 (August 11 - August 17)

The game remained at 20th place.

Week 34, 2008 (August 18 - August 24)

The game declined 17 positions in the ranking, jumping from 20th to 37th place.

Week 35, 2008 (August 25 - August 31)

The game declined 10 positions in the ranking, jumping from 37th to 47th place.

Week 36, 2008 (September 1 - September 7)

The game rose 19 positions in the ranking, jumping from 47th to 28th place.

Week 37, 2008 (September 8 - September 14)

The game declined 20 positions in the ranking, jumping from 28th to 48th place.

Week 38, 2008 (September 15 - September 21)

The game didn't reach the Top 50.

Famitsu Top 30
Week ??, 2008 (July 28 - August 3)

The game debuted at 7th place, selling 29.869 units and becoming the highest sold Wii title of the week. Followed by Wii Fit, peaked at 8th place for selling 26.067 units in that week.

Week ??, 2008 (August 4 - August 10)

Coming soon.

Week ??, 2008 (August 11 - August 17)

Coming soon.

Week ??, 2008 (August 18 - August 24)

The game jumped from ?? to 24th place, selling 5.352 units.

The number of sales combined with the previous weeks resulted in a total of 54.663 units sold.

Week ??, 2008 (August 25 - August 31)

The game didn't reach the Top 30. It sold 3.763 units in that week.

The number of sales combined with the previous weeks resulted in a total of 58.426 units sold.

Week ??, 2008 (September 1 - September 7)

The game made it back to the list, peaking at 19th place, selling 5.063 units.

The number of sales combined with the previous weeks resulted in a total of 63.489 units sold.

Week ??, 2008 (September 8 - September 14)

The game didn't reach the Top 30.

TriviaEdit

  • The game's official image color is yellow.
  • The main themes in Fatal Frame IV have been specified as "moon," "memory" and "masks."
  • The game's main theme is Zero no Chouritsu, performed by Tsukiko Amano, and its ending theme is NOISE, also performed by Amano.
  • This is the first game in the Fatal Frame series to not be released for the PlayStation 2.

Promotional imagesEdit

VideosEdit

External linksEdit

  1. MTV Multiplayer's interview with Reggie Fils-Aime regarding Wii sales and third-party games, April 2, 2009,
  2. Tecmo's statement released via IGN and associated websites, April 8, 2009
  3. Fatal Frame IV Fan Translation Patch website

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