For fans of the Ju-on franchise, or The Grudge as it is known here, the date of October 13th cannot arrive soon enough. Why’s that, you ask? Because that’s when XSEED Games is dropping Ju-On: The Grudge on us for the Nintendo Wii. Recently our resident gaming guru Mr. Dark sat down for a quick Q&A with Project Manager Makoto Chida to get you guys the skinny.
DC: Tell us a little bit about the game.
MC: JU-ON: The Grudge –Haunted House Simulator- is a game where you use the Wii remote as a flashlight and you as a player get to move freely to explore haunted areas. You’ll need to find clues and items to get through each stage and try to overcome the curse to be free.
DC: We understand that the player takes on the roles of various family members as they move through a mansion. How is gameplay handled? Can the different family members die, or is the switch just used to see different elements of the story?
MC: The game doesn’t take place only in a mansion and each family member will be set in certain situations. The sister follows her dog into an abandoned warehouse, mother is a patient at a hospital, father is a security guard at an office building, etc. With each character you try to free yourself from the curse by figuring out what to do to move forward.
DC: Where does the game sit in the mythos and timeline of the film series, if at all? Do you take the roles of characters from the films, or entirely new characters?
MC: There’s really no solid timeline as to where this game stands in the JU-ON world. As long as the Saeki house still exists, it could be placed any time. The characters you will be playing have no relation with the film. It’s an entirely new family that gets caught in this unfortunate curse of grudge.
DC: It’s been said that Shimizu-san is overseeing the project. What’s the exact role he plays? Is he writing and composing/directing scenes and scares, or just approving the game design?
MC: Shimizu-san is overseeing the project as a supervisor. Every week or so he would come in and check out the progress of the game and give advice on the movement of the ghosts and how to scare the users so it’s consistent with the JU-ON world.
DC: The multiplayer aspect of the game is surprising, given the game’s style. Can you elaborate on how that mode will work?
MC: We wanted to make this game into a title where a group of people can enjoy together so the multiplayer mode is not a typical split screen as we are used to. Selecting multiplayer, when the second player presses the 2P Wii remote button a random scare element will pop up on the screen and can scare the main player who is playing the game.
DC: The game was developed for and released in Japan, how do you think it will translate for North American audiences? Were there any changes made for the NA release?
MC: It is true that the North American audience is more familiar with “The Grudge” by Sony Pictures. However, The Grudge was a remake of “JU-ON: The Grudge” and the game takes place in the JU-ON world but to another family, we’re certain that the horror will translate just fine.
DC: Is this part of a planned series, or is this a stand-alone fear experience?
MC: We would love to expand on this idea and make it into a series though nothing solid has been discussed about it yet.
DC: Do you know if Shimizu-san plans to make any original games not based on his films?
MC: I’ll have to ask him next time but he was really curious on how video game development works and enjoyed working on the game JU-ON.
DC: Our traditional final question: what’s your favorite horror movie? (Other than Ju-On!)
MC: This will probably have to be Pet Semetery. I remember it was probably one of the first horror movies that I saw. I haven’t seen the movie since that first time as a child but I still remember it being frightening. I should probably watch it again, don’t you think?
Big thanks to Makoto Chida for taking the time to chat. For more check out our hands-on Ju-On article here. Pre-order your copy below.
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