Izuno-san, now that the game is done, do you feel as if you realised a type of horror that people will want to talk about with others?
Yes. I also feel as if we have been able to provide a new form of play through the Spirit Camera mode. With the Spirit Camera mode’s Spirit Photography, pictures you take with the Nintendo 3DS cameras will have haunting images. Their faces warp and creepy things appear.
I see. Once you take one, there’s no way you can go without showing it to someone. (laughs)
I think we achieved an enjoyable kind of play by tapping into people’s desire to see something scary. Spirit Camera mode also has Spirit Check.
Spirit Check? (laughs)
Yes. It shows the spirit possessing someone. It changes for different faces and facial expressions and gives comments like, “Today, this kind of spirit is haunting you.” It can be a lot of fun to look at those. (laughs)
In other words, you present a different way of enjoying horror, through everyone gathering and playing together instead of just getting scared.
Kikuchi-san said we can call it a singles party game. (laughs)
Everyone can also get together and use it to test their courage. And there’s a mode called Spirit Challenge in which someone whose photo was taken attacks as a vengeful spirit and you fight it off. I feel like after we put that in everyone started taking pictures of me! (laughs)
(laughs) The same thing is probably happening around Nintendo.
(looking at each other’s faces and laughing)
By pairing the existing AR features with horror elements, we were able to put in gameplay involving superimposition of horror elements and the real world that affects things like your room, or even your friends.
A lot of people view AR - partially because of AR Games9, included in Nintendo 3DS - as mostly taking a photo of a marker and seeing something pop up on it, but you have expanded on that quite a bit this time. I feel like playing with others gives rise to different kinds of AR. Makino-san, what do you think? 9. AR Games: Software built into the Nintendo 3DS system. Players use the system cameras to take pictures of the included AR Cards.
I think so, too. For example, Spirit Camera mode uses AR, but the time between releasing the shutter and seeing the photo, that time you spend imagining what might appear, is really important. That was a characteristic of the original Project Zero game that connects with the fear of what you imagine.
When you make a horror game, there tends to be someone on the team who is a scaredy-cat and says, “No, not a scary game!” Was there anyone like that?
Yes, a few.
What is their relationship with the game like now?
The most scared female staff member even now runs away after just seeing the AR Book! (laughs)
But that’s what we were aiming for, so that isn’t so bad. (laughs)
And another staff member, despite not being much for scary things, was interested in the game. When she played it, she said that the story and other devices drew her in.
Of course, we put some things together under the logic of making people feel afraid, but this game, with its use of AR, leaves an eerie feeling of fear rather than one of disgust.
When it comes to horror and mystery, you can adopt a style that shows something viscerally upsetting in a straightforward and raw way or a style that draws upon imagination and strange phenomena to stir fear and surprise. I think the Project Zero team’s method is definitely the latter.
That’s right. This time, I think we were able, without changing that style, to make it possible for a greater variety of people to play the game via the AR features and different overall approach.
As a side note, it was a little hard to come up with the title Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir.
We went through a lot.
It took a while for me to give my assent. (laughs) You must have thought up a lot of titles and discussed them over and over.
I was the one who came up with the subtitle “The Cursed Memoir”.
Kikuchi-san, what did you think at first about changing the name away from Project Zero?
I thought that, in line with the new product concept, we needed a title with broad appeal but which was also scary, and everyone shared an understanding of that. Thus, the first title that I thought of was Dr. Asou’s Spirit Camera.
Dr. Asou is the one who invented the Camera Obscura10 of the Project Zero series. His name comes up in every game. 10. Camera Obscura: A spirit camera that appears in the story. It is capable of photographing vengeful spirits and other unnatural phenomena.
People who have played the series would think, “Oh, that guy?”
That’s what I thought when I suggested it, but a lot of people wondered, “Who’s that?” so it went down in flames. An idea along different lines was AR Horror Games, but you said that was no good. (laughs)
When I first heard that one, it sounded derivative of AR Games. When people who had experienced AR Games played this game, it would be shockingly different than what they imagined, so while I could understand why you suggested that title, I thought it would give the wrong impression.
It expresses the casual horror direction that this game takes, but it doesn’t convey anything of the essence of the game.
The key words “spirit camera” hung around until the end, but we had a ton of subtitles lying around. We asked a lot of people for their opinions and settled on the “Cursed Memoir”, which conveys the product’s characteristics and atmosphere.
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