Options: Fatal Frame’s Camera Obscura was almost a different object

Fatal Frame Camera Obscura

Just the other day, Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water launched digitally on Nintendo Switch. It received a funky launch trailer, and fans are now able to experience the magic of fending off ghosts with photography on the go. However, Koei Tecmo has revealed the main weapon of the series wasn’t always going to be a camera. According to Fatal Frame‘s producer, Keisuke Kikuchi, a multitude of objects were considered before landing on the Camera Obscura.

The Camera Obscura is so integral to the franchise, I can’t imagine anything else in its stead

Speaking to Nintendo Everything, Kikuchi revealed the following tidbit:

Yes, when developing the first title, we considered a bow (and ceremonial arrow used to drive off evil), talismans, and a sword that possesses magical powers. From that list, we decided to implement a camera as it was fun and interesting to use, and also could be used as a means to solve puzzles in the game.

Can you even fathom taking down ghouls with a magical sword? I mean, that sounds awesome. But a camera is such a unique weapon that I believe Fatal Frame wouldn’t have lasted as a series with a more obvious means of defense.

Kikuchi thinks there are other factors contributing to the franchise’s longevity (it just celebrated its 20th anniversary):

I think this is because the Fatal Frame series contains universal concepts for fear that are not tied to any specific time period. Also, the game itself consists of more than just horror, the story, battle system, characters and other elements are all part of the adventure elements of the series. I believe fans continue to support the series due to all of these elements being present in our games.

I believe you are right, Kikuchi. Please release more ports of the titles.

Enthusiasts, can you imagine what Fatal Frame would have been like without the Camera Obscura? Let us know your thoughts below.


Arthur Damian
Arthur Damian is a writer, editor, educator, and lover of video games. Based and living in Brooklyn, NY, he has been gaming since the age of five, from the NES to the Nintendo Switch. His favorite system is the SNES, his favorite game is Chrono Trigger, and you cannot convince him otherwise. He loves dogs, rainbow cookies, Spider-Man, and songs with intricate drum patterns. Arthur is also the Editor-in-Chief at That VideoGame Blog.