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PixlBit Talks Ju-On: The Grudge with XSEED

Jimmy Soga tells us what a Haunted House Simulator is, what players will do, and why Ju-On Director Shimizu was an integral part of development.

XSEED's upcoming title Ju-On: The Grudge, is a haunted house simulator based in the same universe as the Ju-On movies. In fact, the creator of the Ju-On movies, Takashi Shimizu, was on hand throughout development of the game in order to assist with making the game scary and canonical. PixlBit had the opportunity to talk with Jimmy Soga of XSEED about their upcoming title Ju-On: The Grudge. Ju-On: The Grudge will release on October 13 in North America.

XSEED has also provided us with two PixlBit-exclusive wallpapers! To download them, Right Click and Save Link As..., then give it the title "JuOnWallpaper.png".


Questions answered by: Jimmy Soga, Product Manager at XSEED Games.

What does this game do to differentiate it from other horror games?

The biggest difference between JU-ON: The Grudge -Haunted House Simulator- and other horror games is the fact that you won't be able to attack the enemies. You walk around with a flashlight in your hand trying to figure out what's going on. There are a lot of forms of horror games out there but for this game we really wanted to take a different approach and move away from the action elements and create something so that players can really feel the fear as well as anxiety.

What exactly is a haunted house simulator?

In this game the only item you carry around is a flashlight. There are other items you can pick up in the stage such as keys and batteries but the main item is the flashlight. The game will take place in 1st person view and the player uses the Wii Remote as a flashlight. Much like a haunted house, the player must continue forward, pressed on by fear and an overwhelming urge to explore and escape.

In what way is Takashi Shimizu involved in the development of the game?

Shimizu-san was involved as an advisor. He would come in to give cinematic direction as well as character animations and various tips to scare users. It was really important for the game to have the sense and feel of the JU-ON world, as if you are a character in one of the movies. We couldn't have done it without his expertise.

How does it take advantage of the Wii Remote's unique capabilities?

Since you use the Wii Remote as the flash light, controls are very intuitive and contribute to an immersive experience. We made the controls very simple; push a button to move forward and change the camera whichever way you point the flashlight so it really feels more like you are in a particular spot looking for a way to escape the curse. This really helps to make you feel as much a part of the game as possible.

Are players able to explore the game's environments, or is it an on-rails experience?

Exploration is actually a big part of this game since you'll need to find clues and items to move forward. There are also some hidden items in each stage and collecting them all will open the final stage. You won't want to miss this because you'll play in the Saeki residence where the movies took place.

What types of tasks will players have to complete in order to escape the haunted areas of Ju-On?

Each stage is different but the main objective is to get out of the trapped environment such as an abandoned warehouse or a dimly lit hospital at night. At each stage the player will take control of a different family member and try to figure out how to escape with the little clues you get.

I've heard that Ju-On will be a short game. What is being done to make it more replayable?

The game is primarily less than 10 hrs but we didn't want to make the game too long or it would lose its core element of players being scared. As for replay value you will be able to see your scare level and sissy level at the end of the stage as a result so it'll be a great to play with your friends to mock each other. Also the game has a 2 player mode where the 2nd player can hit the buttons on the 2 player Wii remote to trigger random events to scare the main player. I enjoy doing this the most.

Do you think that the idea of this game could take off and create a new sub-genre of the survival horror genre?

I do like the fact that there's a lot more survivor horror games these days. For this title the creators really wanted to make people experience fear as a form of entertainment. We would be delighted if people would see this concept in a favorable light which hopefully helps lead to a new type of sub-genre.

Are there any other horror movies that you think would work well as a haunted house simulator?

I guess the easy one would be Ring since that was the first of J-Horror to make it big and is well known to everyone. I think a lot of J-Horror movies would do well in these types of haunted house simulators.

All the staff at PixlBit would like to extend a big thanks to Scott Fry for setting up this interview, and to Jimmy Soga for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions.




09/26/2009 at 10:46 AM

Sheesh, the log in process could be better.

The exploration element makes this a superior horror game compared to to Dead Space: Extration and Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles

Nick DiMola Director

09/26/2009 at 12:58 PM

Thanks for inspiring me to fix that ShyGuy! Now when you log in, it'll redirect you right back to the page you are currently on.

Neal Ronaghan Staff Alumnus

09/26/2009 at 04:23 PM

This really wasn't on my radar until I sat down to come up with questions for this interview.

I really think this is a great video game entry point for horror fans who aren't too well-versed in video games.

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