Fatal Frame, which is also known as Project Zero in Europe and Australia, and Zero in Japan, was released in 2001 by Tecmo, and since then several more games have followed. Each game relies heavily on the horror game template, initially using a fixed camera perspective for the first three titles. Starting with the fourth game, the series utilizes an over-the-shoulder third person camera. The series sets itself apart by using less violence and gore and focusing on creating a tense and ultimately terrifying experience. Each game draws heavy influence from Japanese horror films such as the Pang Brother's, "The Eye" series and Takashi Shimizu's "Ju-on: The Grudge", which translates well into the horror franchise.
In 2012, Nintendo partnered with Koei Tecmo to develop future Fatal Frame titles. This has mistakenly been reported as Nintendo buying the IP or co-owning the IP which is not the case. The Fatal Frame/Zero IP is fully owned by Koei Tecmo. However, Nintendo does own the publishing rights to the Fatal Frame II Wii remake, Fatal Frame IV as well as Spirit Camera. The Spirit Camera IP is owned by Nintendo. The company had previously co-produced and published Fatal Frame IV (2008) in Japan, and done the same for a Wii remake of Fatal Frame II (2012) which Nintendo of Europe also localized and published for the European and Australian market, along with a 3DS spin-off under the name Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir (2012) which is the only Fatal Frame related title to have been released in every territory since the Nintendo partnership.
The game play often puts the player in the role of a young Asian female, who's only ability to defend herself is with a special camera, called the Camera Obscura, that can exorcise the spirits she photographs and reveal hidden clues in special locations. Each game takes place in a similar haunted Asian village, and plays off of actual Japanese folklore.
Critically the series has been considered one of the best survival horror series to date, but it's slow pace and restricted movement have kept it from gaining a more mass market appeal. Despite that, the Fatal Frame series remains a valuable asset to Tecmo and continues on into the current generation of consoles.
Real: Another Edition is a Fatal Frame spin-off released in 2004 exclusively for cellphones in Japan. It used the cellphone camera as the Camera Obscura to capture ghosts.
Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir is a Nintendo 3DS exclusive spin-off using AR and motion controls to turn the 3DS into the Camera Obscura to capture ghosts in the player's real world location.
Coinciding with Zero: Nuregarasu no Miko, the fifth game's development, the Fatal Frame franchise is being adapted into other forms of media as well. A novel tie-in with the franchise written by Eiji Outsuka is set for release in August of 2014. A manga, Fatal Frame: Shadow Priestess, written by Shin Kibayashi was released on July 18, 2014. Kadokawa Corporation is also developing a Japanese live-action Fatal Frame film hitting Japanese theaters on September 26, 2014. Directed by Mari Asato, it will star Ayami Nakajo and Aoi Morikawa. At a special Fatal Frame event on July 17, 2014 it was also revealed that there will be a Hollywood movie adaptation of Fatal Frame with the help of the producer of of the Resident Evil movie franchise.
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