Fatal Frame

Five years have passed since the last Fatal Frame (a.k.a Zero or Project Zero) game was released on the Wii U. Fans have been clamouring for a revival of the series since then, with many hoping for a new game on the Switch. However, an opportunity exists for the series to go in a new direction, one which could make Fatal Frame even scarier.

Horror in virtual reality (VR) tends to work extremely well. The immersion and immediacy of VR means that the scares feel much more personal, since players do not have the separation of a screen. Games such as Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, The Persistence, and The Exorcist: Legion all demonstrate the power of VR to scare the pants off the audience, and Fatal Frame would slot neatly into this same niche.

Fatal Frame 5: Maiden of Black Water was praised by fans and critics for the intuitive control scheme which involved moving the camera by using the Wii U controller like it was a camera. With the motion controls in VR, transferring this would be simple. Players would just need to lift the motion controller up to their face and click the trigger to take a photo.

The Fatal Frame games all tend to follow a similar pattern: an abandoned location conceals some sort of eldritch horror. Shinto Shrine Maidens are regularly sacrificed in order to keep the horror contained. At some point prior to the start of the game, the ritual failed, unleashing dark and spooky things on the area. Being formulaic is not always a bad thing if the formula works.

One of the reasons why Fatal Frame is so effective is that it forces the player to stand still and look directly at the terrifying things the player needs to defeat, waiting until the absolute last second before a ghost attack for the most effective shot. Considering the issues surrounding motion sickness in VR, this mechanic of forcing players to be stationary for the majority of a combat encounter would greatly benefit a VR game.

Unfortunately, the Fatal Frame franchise is currently under the control of Nintendo, which have shown very little interest in modern VR. Still, fans of the franchise can hold out hope for re-releases of the previous games on the Switch, or pray for a new title that uses those motion controls that Nintendo loves.

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Rebecca Hills-Duty lives in the UK and has worked as a video game and technology writer since early 2017, utilising her background in technology and computing. She has been a gamer and console collector since the days of the Commodore 64, and often acts as the resident expert in VR. She also hosts a weekly gaming related radio show on RadioSEGA.

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1 Comment

  1. I had to type this before I even read the article and argue that this is a fact and not an opinion piece. Even just the title is 100% correct.

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