The Fatal Frame games have always been scary. They've been kind of sexy, too. But the latest entry is, flat out, being called an erotic game by Japanese Wii U owners.
Warning: This article contains spoilers as well as content some readers might find objectionable.
The latest Fatal Frame game, Fatal Frame: Oracle of the Sodden Raven, was developed by Koei Tecmo, a company famous (infamous?) for its curvy characters. So, a sexier Fatal Frame game shouldn't be a total surprise, right?
Tecmo did the first three main Fatal Frame games (as well as one Nintendo 3DS spin-off). There was some fan service in the earlier games, including bikini costumes, but, at their core, they were mainly about the scares.
No doubt, Tecmo wants to scare players with the new Fatal Frame. However, most chatter about the game online now in Japan is about how "erotic" the game is. In interviews (via NeoGAF), Tecmo has said their outfits were designed to look "sexy" when wet. And the game has an array of outfits to dress up the characters in. The top image shows the default outfit for main character Yuuri Kozukata on the left. Below, you can get a glimpse of one of the bonus outfits, which has been raising eyebrows online.
The latest game is also about the scares. You can play through it without these bonus outfits. The game still offers the J-horror experience players want.
However! Instead of using the in-game spirit camera to snap photos of ghouls, it looks like some players are using it to snap photos of women in skimpy outfits. Online in Japan, some players seemed pleased with the rampant fanservice in the game.
"Nintendo is pretty relaxed about the erotic stuff," wrote one commenter. (Note that the Japanese word being used is "ero" or "eroi," which can mean "erotic" or "sexual.")
Others seem less thrilled.
In a tweet that was retweeted over seven thousand times, net user Poting asked, "When did the Fatal Frame series turn into this?" Included with the tweet were screens of the game's fan service, including one of the above.
"This isn't erotic, it's obscene," replied another Twitter user. "Was Fatal Frame this type of game?" wondered another.
Keep in mind, in a previous Fatal Frame, you could dress up characters in a bikini with bunny ears. That being said, some players didn't seem all that impressed with the sexualized content in the latest entry.
"This really destroys the game's mood," wrote one 2ch commenter.
After seeing a gameplay clip showing an evil spirit go after a character in skimpy clothes, another 2ch commenter added that it was distracting. "It's completely not scary."
And yeah, who would wander around in the dark, decked out like this but carrying a flashlight?
A character in the latest Fatal Frame, that's who.
Warning: Story spoiler below.
While this kind of stuff might seem rather tacky and even unpleasant to some, the game's story does feature a rather unsettling pin-up photography scene, with the character Miu Hinasaki (top image, right). She asks if she can become a good actress. The scene plays out voyeuristically through the lens of a viewfinder.
"There's nothing in me. I'm completely empty. That's why I can become anything. I'll listen to everything you say," she says. "And I know everything about you... Good for nothing. All lies. What's more, the person who lied is the one getting hurt, right? Like an idiot."
It's as if Tecmo is at once commenting on sexual exploitation, while at the same time inviting players to participate in similar exploitation throughout the game in the name of fan service.
You can watch the clip here.
Fatal Frame: Oracle of the Sodden Raven was released last week in Japan.
Top image via @zukicure5GOGO
■■速報＠ゲーハー板 ver.31163■■ [2ch]
To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.
Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.