Fatal Frame 5 scheduled for a haunting U.S. release later this year

These days the Fatal Frame series seems like a ghost town. Although Fatal Frame 4: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse saw a Japanese release back in 2008, Nintendo declined to localize the title for the U.S. or Europe, meaning that the west hasn't seen a update to the series since the release of Fatal Frame 3 in 2005. The situation got even more depressing last September, when Fatal Frame 5: Oracle of the Sodden Raven released in Japan with no plans for outside localization. It was starting to look like a eulogy was in order for the series western version. But Nintendo was apparently preparing a séance instead, because today the company officially announced Fatal Frame 5 will be released in the U.S. sometime this year. It's alive, it's ALIVE!

While playthroughs of the Japanese version are available on YouTube for all to see, those who want to avoid spoilers in advance of the game's English release have only a few haunting clips from today's Nintendo Direct to go on. Still, some information can be gleaned from these few ghoulish frames: the protagonist is a teenage girl trapped in a haunted locale (full of weird statues and creepy spinning pinwheels) trying to solve the mystery of what happened there to make it so gosh-dang ghostly. Two other characters are apparently in the mix - a woman seen handing the protagonist a camera, and a man opening a worryingly ancient book - though their significance to the story is yet unknown.

Of course, this is a Fatal Frame game, so any friends the protagonist has are vastly outnumbered by homicidal ghosts. They're intent on making the main character join their ranks, and her only means of defense against them is the Camera Obscura, a camera that drains their life force until they cease to exist. That's where the Wii U gamepad comes in, as it seems the Camera Obscura's sight will only appear there and not on the TV screen. That means lifting the gamepad and aligning it with your ghostly enemies, as if you were holding the camera yourself. That could make the whole experience seem more real, and what more could you possibly want when fighting off ghosts that want to murder you? Turn out the lights while you're at it!

Fatal Frame 5 is scheduled for release in America sometime in late 2015. European release is still up in the air, but with any luck this ghostly venture will hit those shores soon enough.