With the first official North American and European release of Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse on the way, now is a great a time as ever to get into the Fatal Frame series. With the first title releasing on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox, the series found itself to be a cult classic through the release of Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly. Hailed as one of the most frightening series to exist, and with survival horror on the upswing, it’s great to see the series return in some capacity. If you’re looking to get into the Fatal Frame series, or even need a short refresher on what games go in what order, we have a list that breaks it down below.
Here is the list of all “mainline” Fatal Frame games in order of release:
- Fatal Frame
- Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly | Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly Director’s Cut
- Fatal Frame III: The Tormented
- Fatal Frame: Mask of the Lunar Eclipse
- Project Zero 2: Wii Edition (Remake of Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly)
- Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
Additionally, there was a spin-off title, Spirit Camera: The Cursed Memoir, that released on Nintendo DS between Mask of the Lunar Eclipse and Maiden of Black Water.
How to play each Fatal Frame game in order is a complicated answer. Koei Tecmo mentioned several times that there are no plans to remake or even remaster Fatal Frame I, II, and III for modern platforms. Since each game released on the PlayStation 2, and then released as region-exclusive digital downloads for the PlayStation 3, there isn’t really a way to get access to these games anymore outside of emulation.
Mask of the Lunar Eclipse will be receiving it’s first official North American and European English release, with the game previously being exclusive to Japan. Previously, the only way to play the game in English was through fan patches. This will no longer be the case once the official localization releases on March 9, 2023 to Nintendo Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC.
Concerning Maiden of Black Water, the game is immediately available on Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC. It is effectively a port of the original WiiU release, but comes with a gallery feature and the option to create custom pictures using renders of characters and ghosts from the game.
As it stands, those are the only way to play the Fatal Frame games in order. Unless if you own physical copies of the PS2 (and Xbox, in the case of Fatal Frame and Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly Director’s Cut) release of the games. Not including the Wii release of Fatal Frame II/Project Zero 2. But I’d really suggest playing the original PlayStation 2 release over the Wii remake, despite it having more than a handful of new endings.
Thankfully, Fatal Frame I – Fatal Frame III don’t have any story significance to Mask of the Lunar Eclipse or Maiden of Black Water. That said, if you are looking to play the first three Fatal Frame games, it is highly advised you play them in order, since it will greatly enrich your experience with Fatal Frame III once you get around to it.