Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen for Wii is the fourth game in Tecmo's cult hit horror series. The game is developed by Tecmo and Suda 51's Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Nintendo. It was released July 31st, 2008 in Japan.
Several years ago, Ruka Minazuki and four other girls were kidnapped and held captive on the mysterious Rougetsu Island, only to be saved by Detective Choushiro Kirishima. After two of the girls inexplicably perish, Ruka and the other survivors return to the island in search of answers and to piece together Ruka's memory. At the request of Ruka's mother, Choushiro follows the girls to the island, looking to help them once more.
In an interview in the Creator's Voice section of Wii.com, game director Makoto Shibata and producer Keisuke Kikuchi detailed their inspiration for the new mechanics in Fatal Frame 4. The player controls the character movement with the Nunchuck, while the motion sensors in the Wii remote will allow the player to control the flashlight. The developers commented that they found after extensive play testing that using the sensors in the Wii remote as opposed to the Wii remotes IR functionality would allow for a more immersive player experience. The game will also use a behind-the-back perspective to make players feel as if they are in the game. An added benefit of the new perspective is the ability to add more objects above the player's line of sight, which the old perspective restricted. Players will once again navigate a derelict Japanese mansion and other traditional Japanese houses. According to Kikuchi, Fatal Frame 4 will have the largest number of explorable buildings in franchise history. The game will also feature four playable characters: Ruka, the other two girls Misaki Asô and Madoka Tsukimori, and Choushiro.
Since the game is a Wii exclusive title published in partnership with Nintendo, Fatal Frame 4 features a Zero Suit costume as an homage to Samus Aran from Nintendo's Metroid series as well as a Luigi costume as an homage to Luigi's Mansion, a spin-off from Nintendo's Super Mario series.
There are two different romanizations of the Japanese subtitle out there: Tsukihami no Kamen and Gesshoku no Kamen. Both seem valid choices with gesshoku being the proper expression for "lunar eclipse" and tsukihami being a more literal romanization of the separate kanji meaning "moon" and "eclipse." Tsukihami no Kamen is the more prevalent romanization found on the internet, however.
After the Japanese release, the internet ran wild with various hints toward a western localization such as French and Italian magazine ads that were deemed "a mistake" by Nintendo of Europe and rumors of a name change. In their November 2008 issue, British Official Nintendo Magazine flat out said the game was coming to Europe as Fatal Frame 4 instead of the expected Project Zero 4 the following year. A French Nintendo magazine in April 2009 contained a full-page ad with a caption translating to "They Will Haunt Your Wii Next Month" for the game, suggesting a planned May 2009 release for the European market.
Supposed insider rumors say that Zero 4's localizations were canceled due to Tecmo's unwillingness to fix the various game breaking bugs found in the original Japanese release. The game was never officially announced for a western release by Nintendo or any other publisher themselves. No official comments have been made regarding the supposed cancellation.
Fansite Beyond the Camera's Lens released an English translation patch for the game in January 2010. The noteworthy features of this translation are that it originally was able to run on any region Wii without requiring users to softmod their console and also for taking care of two of the game's most notorious progress hindering bugs. To avoid legal grey zones, the translation patch requires an original Japanese game disc in the drive to work. Later Wii firmware updates, however, caused the original mod-free method to no longer work and a workaround method was devised, utilizing homebrew tricks to get the translation running while still requiring the game disc in the drive. Spanish and French translations followed later.