FATAL FRAME Series Creator Makoto Shibata Shares Real-life Experiences With Ghosts and How They Inspired His Games

FATAL FRAMEMakoto Shibata, the creator of the Fatal Frame series, recently sat down with Xbox.com and shared a detailed history of his own first-hand experience with real-life hauntings and talked about some of the references to them found in Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, including the spirit “Kageri Sendo.”

In the article, Shibata-san talked about the process of phenomena and purification:

In the Japanese game industry, it is customary to visit a shrine and perform a purification ceremony when starting work on a horror title. The purpose of the ceremony is to prevent any spiritual phenomena or disturbances during the game’s development, but for Fatal Frame, we thought it would be better to let the spirits emerge, so we usually don’t do the purification ceremony for games in this series.

Because of this, some spirit phenomena occurred during development that was directly reflected in the game – like the time we were recording sound and a mysterious voice was actually recorded in the background. We tried to remove it from the recording, but eventually gave up because no matter what we did, the voice kept coming back onto the recording , so we actually left it in the game!

FATAL FRAMEShibata also went into detail about the source of inspiration for Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse, saying that it was based on a real-life experience he had at an old hotel:

In the game, one of the places you’ll visit is Rogetsu Hall. This is actually based on an old, Japanese-style hot spring hotel owned by one of my relatives. We used to gather there as a family, and on this one particular night, my family were the only guests in the hotel, so there was nobody else around.

I woke up in the middle of the night and saw a man I didn’t recognize standing on the other side of the hallway, looking out the window under the moonlight. As I slowly approached to see who he was, the man looked at me, then quickly disappeared. More curious than scared, I went to the spot where the man was standing. I looked out the window and gazed at the large moon. I stood there looking at the moon for a while until I realized that I was now in the exact same pose as the man I had just seen. I started to wonder, was the man a spirit? Was he a vision of someone’s past? Or did I just see a vision of my future? I knew I wanted to capture a moment like this in the game.

FATAL FRAMETo read more about Makoto Shibata’s ghostly experiences and how he wove them into Mask of The Lunar Eclipse, you can find a link to his full Xbox blog post here.

Fatal Frame 4: Mask of The Lunar Eclipse was released on March 9th  for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Windows PC via Steam.

You can read our own review of the game here.

Big thanks to Xbox.com for this exclusive article.


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