Whilst it looked like Nintendo was set to bring Tecmo's horror-fest Fatal Frame 4 on Wii to Europe, the game was recently confirmed as being cancelled, despite being initially lined up for a May 2009 release. Now Tecmo has given Cubed3 its informal response on the situation.
Zero Tsukihami no Kamen, as it is known in Japan, was co-developed by Goichi Suda-san's Grasshopper Manufacture (No More Heroes, as well as Flower, Sun and Rain) and the team that previously made Project Zero 1-3 on the PS2/Xbox (known as Fatal Frame in the US). In Japan Nintendo published the fourth entry on 31st July, 2008 and so far it has sold nearly 75,000 units as of the end of December 2008, which may seem a small amount compared to other high profile games, but in actual fact makes this version, the first on a Nintendo system, the most successful, highest selling in the series so far.
For those that do not know the background of what was to be called Fatal Frame IV: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse in the US, below is the overall synopsis:
"10 years prior to the events of the game, five young girls were captured and held hostage by a criminal in a mysterious house on Rougetsu Island. They were eventually rescued by Choushiro Kirishima, a detective pursuing the criminal. Several years after the incident, two of the girls (Marie Shinomiya and Tomoe Nanamura) died mysteriously. The three remaining girls, Misaki Asou, Ruka Minazuki, and Madoka Tsukimori, now 17 years old, return to the island to recover their lost memories and find out more of what happened that day. Choushiro follows the girls at the request of Ruka's mother, Sayaka Minazuki."
Sadly Nintendo of America denied the game a release in the US market early last month, leaving the only hope being the European market. An advert from a French magazine revealed the game was indeed on its way to Europe, but it was quickly retracted and now Nintendo has said the game was on its way, but has been cancelled.
Therefore, as Cubed3 has a good relationship with Tecmo's Japanese office, being told before anyone else that Nintendo was bringing the game to Europe, a response to the cancellation was received this morning:
"It is regrettable that Nintendo has decided to not publish 'Project Zero' for Wii at this time. But the only thing we can do is respect the company's decision no matter what reason they have.
"However, we have once more realised that there are many fans anticipating our 'Project Zero' franchise and are very proud and pleased to find out this fact. What we at Tecmo can do from this point forward is keep this project for the future and devote ourselves to launching the next version that will live up to those expectations. We will definitely officially announce this when the time is right."
As for whether another publisher, such as XSEED Games for the US or Rising Star Games for Europe, could step in and take the reins now that Nintendo has refused to release the game, sadly there is no good news. Simply put, Tecmo's representative said "No. Nobody will publish this title in any territory."
He reiterated his thanks, on behalf of Tecmo as a whole, for the compliments and support fans have shown the Fatal Frame / Project Zero series, ending with "I thank you so much."
All hope for an eventual English-language version has not been lost, though, since fans have united to work on a completely legal translation patch that can be used with official copies of the game. Currently it has quickly jumped to the 60% translated marker and will hopefully be completed in the next few months.
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