The House in Fata Morgana

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The House in Fata Morgana
The House in Fata Morgana cover.png
Cover art
Developer(s)Novectacle
Publisher(s)
  • JP: Novectacle
Artist(s)Moyataro
Writer(s)Keika Hanada
Composer(s)Mellok'n
Gao
Yusuke Tsutsumi
Takaki Moriya
Aikawa Razuna
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, PlayStation 4
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
  • JP: December 31, 2012
  • WW: May 13, 2016
iOS
  • JP: May 16, 2014
Nintendo 3DS
  • JP: July 27, 2016
PlayStation Vita
  • JP: March 16, 2017
  • WW: Q1 2019
PlayStation 4
  • WW: Q1 2019
Genre(s)Visual novel
Mode(s)Single-player

The House in Fata Morgana[a] is a visual novel video game developed by Novectacle. It was released for Microsoft Windows and iOS by Novectacle in 2012 and 2014 in Japan, and for Microsoft Windows by MangaGamer in 2016 internationally. Additionally, a Nintendo 3DS version was released by FuRyu in 2016, and a PlayStation Vita version was released by Dramatic Create in 2017, both exclusive to Japan. Another PlayStation Vita version, as well as a PlayStation 4 version, are planned for an international release by Limited Run Games in 2019.

The House in Fata Morgana is a visual novel set in a mansion, where the player character wakes up with amnesia. They meet a Maid in the mansion, and the two visit the mansion in different time periods – 1603, 1707, 1869 and 1099 – to learn what has happened to its residents in the past, and to try to get the player character to regain their lost memories.[1]

Plot[edit]

An amnesiac spirit awakens to find itself in a mansion. It is greeted by a Maid, who in an attempt to recover its memories suggests exploring the mansion's past in the hope that the spirit may recognize itself in a past life.

She first takes them to 1603, where the mansion is inhabited by young aristocrats Mell and Nellie Rhodes. One night a mysterious White-Haired Girl with pale skin and red eyes arrives at the mansion; Mell catches her speaking to the Maid (who also lives in this time and appears no different) and is instantly smitten. The White-Haired Girl reveals to Mell that her father was a painter for the household but was kicked out and died in the streets. Mell apologizes for his family's actions, and the two begin a relationship. Nellie is driven mad with jealousy and discovers that the painter had slept with her and Mell's mother, resulting in the White-Haired Girl's birth and his expulsion. Nellie reveal this to Mell, as well as her own romantic feelings, causing him great grief.

The Maid next takes them to 1707, where the mansion has become abandoned and destitute, though it is now in a different location than in 1603. The Maid, the mansion's only inhabitant, one day discovers a man named Yukimasa in the cellar. However, due to his amnesia and abuse he received due to his race and inability to communicate, he came to visualize himself as a savage beast named "Bestia". While the Maid initially tries to civilize him, he murders the multiple villagers that come to the mansion in retaliation for his abuse. Some time later, the White-Haired Girl appears at his doorstep; while she is a different person from 1603, she retains hazy memories of her past life. Yukimasa attempts to kill her, but her lack of fear (which he believes is fueled by her blindness) stupefies him, and the two become friends. Meanwhile, a young woman named Pauline is searching for Yukimasa, who she was told was lost at sea. She gradually befriends a standoffish young boy named Javi, whose parents were killed by Yukimasa. The two travel to the mansion, where Pauline finds Yukimasa. Yukimasa flees from Pauline, whom he sees as another Bestia. Pauline chases him into the manor, and in his confusion he kills her. Some time after, Javi rallies the villagers to attack the mansion, resulting in the White-Haired Girl's death. Yukimasa finally succumbs to being nothing more than a beast, slaughtering all of the villagers.

The spirit is then lead by the Maid to 1869. In this time the house is owned by a young, greedy businessman named Jacopo and the house has moved to America. He lives with his new wife, the White-Haired Girl, as well as a multitude of servants, including the Maid and his childhood friend Maria. Jacopo, believing his wife to be wooing other men, locks her in a small exterior cottage. The White-Haired Girl frequently writes love letters to Jacopo. However, Maria secretly wishes to destroy the two's relationship, so she alters the recipient names on the letters to address them to other men. Jacopo decides to release his wife, but when he comes to her cottage he finds that she had given up hope and fled. Finally realizing the truth, Jacopo confronts Maria, who reveals her hatred towards him and wounds him, but Jacopo kills Maria. Jacopo spends the rest of his life unsuccessfully searching for the White-Haired Girl.

Briefly separated from the Maid, the spirit encounters a talking painting which shows him a memory of an unknown black-haired girl. Shortly after, the spirit is found by the Maid, who takes it to 1099. In this era the White-Haired Girl flees to the mansion from a village that persecuted her for her appearance. She meets a mysterious hermit named Michel who has the power to drain the life from anything he touches. The two fall in love, with the White-Haired Girl revealing her name as Giselle. A bandit attacks the mansion, forcing Michel to drain some of his life. The man escapes, but before he dies he tells the village of Michel and Giselle. Having been cut, some of Michel's blood spills onto Giselle, which appears to cause her health to deteriorate. The villagers attack the manor, forcing the two to flee into the observation tower. Believing they have no chance of escape, the two embrace, causing Giselle to fall limp. Michel confronts the villagers and they skewer him, but his blood dripping from his corpse down the stairs kills all of the villagers. Giselle awakens, Michel's curse having not affected her after all. As she grieves for Michel, she is approached by the Maid, who reveals herself to be a witch named Morgana. Morgana offers her the option to be reincarnated so that she may one day reunite with Michel, which Giselle accepts.

The spirit finally recalls its past identity as Michel, who demands to see the truth, believing what he witnessed to be falsified. In reality, Giselle was not the White-Haired Girl; instead, she was a young black-haired woman in need of money for her family. She accepted work at the wealthy Bollinger estate but was repeatedly raped by the Bollinger patriarch, Antonin, scarring her physically and emotionally. When Antonin's wife discovered this, Giselle was to be executed, but instead Antonin had her banished to the mansion where Michel lived. When Giselle enters Michel's room one night, he discovers her and accuses her of being a thief; Giselle flees in terror and passes out in the woods. She is brought to a nearby village where the villagers claim Giselle had stolen money and torture her until she reveals where it is. Out of desperation, Giselle leads the villagers to the mansion so that they may loot it. Michel steps outside, revealing his pale skin, white hair and red eyes. He scares the villagers away and accuses Giselle once more of being a thief. Giselle, fed up with nobody believing her, begs Michel to kill her, baffling him. She reveals that Michel's father had raped her, causing Michel to feel guilty for his accusations and for his father's actions, and the two begin their relationship anew. Over the course of a year, the two become incredibly close, eventually coming to realize that they love one another. Michel receives news that his father has died; after sending a letter to his mother, knights arrive to kill Michel. The two flee to the observation tower, but Michel leaves Giselle trapped in the top room while he confronts and is killed by the knights, his corpse being dragged away.

Giselle is spoken to by a disembodied voice which calls herself the Witch, Morgana. Morgana explains that while she is unable to bring Michel back to life with all of his memories intact, she can have him be reincarnated. Morgana curses Giselle's body so that she no longer ages, effectively rendering her dead. Giselle waits in solitude for hundreds of years, eventually donning the garb of the Maid per Morgana's recommendation. Eventually Mell and his family move into the house, and later the White-Haired Girl arrives. With her memories hazy, Giselle believes the White-Haired Girl, her actual name being Michelle, to be Michel's reincarnation, but Michelle has no memories of her. Giselle becomes emotionally numb, watching the tragedies of the mansion unfold with little reaction. Michelle's continual reincarnations only serve to torture Giselle further, until Morgana convinces her that she's always been the Maid and that her past memories with Michel aren't real.

The Maid, having regained her memories and original personality as Giselle, is suddenly dragged away by Morgana into the observation tower. Michel is instructed by the talking painting to convince the spirits of Mell, Yukimasa and Jacopo to give him three keys needed to ascend the observation tower. As he climbs, Morgana reveals her past. As a child her blood was believed to have healing qualities, so she freely gave it to the needy. Her mother sold her to a local lord who mutilated her body to extract blood. She was freed in a slave uprising and brought to a brothel, but bandits invaded and abducted Morgana. One of her fellow captives, a swordsman, managed to break free and kill their captors, but in his frenzy he slaughtered his fellow captives except for Morgana. Morgana made her way to a cottage and lived there for three years, until a boy came to her requesting she heal his sick sister. She willingly gave him blood multiple times, until he came to the cottage with the swordsman. She was captured and brought back to the lord, who kept her imprisoned in an observation tower where her blood would be sold through the church below. Though Morgana died, her spirit lingered on, wishing to curse the three men who had caused her such misery.

Michel makes his way to the top of the tower and finds an illusion of Giselle, who calls him disgusting and claims that he is actually a woman. Michel was originally born female, known as a child as "Michelle", who felt conflicted about society's expectation of him as a woman. In 1086 his voice deepened and his body became masculine. Feeling at peace with himself for the first time, Michelle renamed himself "Michel". However, his mother considered him cursed and had him locked in his room. He languished for two years until he was freed by his brothers, Didier and Georges, who told him that their father intended to have him killed. With a fond farewell, they sent him to live in the mansion where he could be safe until they could welcome him back. Upon his father's death, Michel had written to his mother that he was always a man and requested her acceptance of him. In her hysteria, she had sent the knights to claim his life, with Didier leading the procession.

Morgana claims that the White-Haired Woman was the reincarnation of Michel that Giselle had asked for, thus proving him to be female. The real Giselle accepts Michel for everything he is, and remains confident that the White-Haired Woman was not Michel. Michel, encouraged by Giselle to save Morgana's soul, physically travels to the distant past when Morgana was alive. Believing changing the past may be able to save Morgana from her fate, Michel convinces the past versions of Mell, Yukimasa and Jacopo to set her free. When the four men climb the tower to free Morgana, they find her on the verge of death and speaking to herself. Michel stays by her side as she dies; when he attempts to leave the mansion with her body, though, he instead sees the events that had originally taken place following Morgana's death, revealing that he was not changing the past but merely reliving it.

Back in the mansion, Michel meets the White-Haired Girl, who is revealed to be a part of Morgana's soul. Being formless until meeting Michel, The White-Haired Girl had modeled her appearance and name after him out of admiration. At her insistent request, Michel permanently destroys her soul, allowing her to reunite with Morgana and heal Morgana's soul. Finally relinquishing her hatred, Morgana goes with Michel to the spirits of the three men trapped in the mansion; while Morgana doesn't forgive any of them, she sets their souls free. Before they leave, Michel retrieves the talking painting, which he realizes was the soul of Georges who had also been trapped in the mansion. The three go to leave the mansion, but Didier's soul blocks their path. Georges blocks a fatal blow for Michel, and Michel manages to bring Didier to his senses and help his soul pass on. Michel, Morgana and Giselle leave the mansion, causing it to dissipate, and all three pass on. In 2009 France, the reincarnated souls of Mell, Nellie, Yukimasa, Pauline, Jacopo, Maria and Morgana are living ordinary lives. The reincarnated Giselle, having retained all of the memories of her past life, goes to where the mansion once stood, and is greeted by the reincarnated Michel, who has retained his memories as well.

Development[edit]

The game was developed by Novectacle and written by Keika Hanada,[2] with art by Moyataro.[3] The developers did not specifically target men or women with the game, and instead just intended to make a game for players who enjoy stories.[2] Hanada spent more than a year spent on planning the story,[4] which was influenced by Tanith Lee's books, and the films Millennium Actress (2001) and The Best of Youth (2003).[5] To keep the text from distracting the player, it was mostly written in modern Japanese, with only little use of archaic speech.[6] To make the game feel unique, Moyataro made use of heavy coloring and shading, to portray a "more realistic kind of beauty" compared to the "cutesy" anime-like artstyle common in Japanese visual novels. Another important aspect in making the game feel unique was its music: more than half of the songs are vocal tracks, intended to make the game feel like visiting a theatre with someone singing in the background. Five composers worked on the music, and wrote 65 different tracks.[7]

In June 2013, the game distribution platform Playism announced that they were interested in localizing the game for English-speaking audiences, as they wanted to bring visual novels to their platform and felt The House in Fata Morgana might be a good place for them to start. They encouraged people to tell them if they were interested in the game, to gauge demand for it.[8] Two days later, they clarified that monetary issues were what caused them to not start localization work right away: Novectacle, being an indie developer, were unable to pay upfront for the localization work. Instead, Novectacle proposed that all revenue from Japanese The House in Fata Morgana sales would go to paying for the localization. As the Japanese sales on the Playism platform were much too low to finance the localization, Playism considered either waiting and seeing if Japanese sales would pick up pace, or launching a crowdfunding campaign.[9] Playism was still working towards a localization in late March 2014, when they released a localized demo.[10] During the Otakon convention in August 2014, the visual novel publisher MangaGamer announced that they had acquired the license to publish the game.[11]

Due to the large range of cultures and time periods appearing in the game, it was important to MangaGamer to decide on a localization strategy early on to avoid an inconsistent script; translator BlackDragonHunt said that making language in historical settings appear authentic was a difficult balancing act, with too modern dialogue breaking immersion, and older English being difficult for modern readers to understand. They decided to follow the same style as the Japanese original, mainly using modern language, with some use of words based on the various time periods and regions in the game to give it a "historical flavor": for instance, the word "bedroom" was replaced with "bedchamber", and "maid" with "abigail".[6]

Release and reception[edit]

The game was originally released for Microsoft Windows on December 31, 2012 in Japan;[12] this version was also released through Playism on May 31, 2013 in Japan.[13] A Japanese iOS version followed on May 16, 2014.[14] MangaGamer released the Microsoft Windows version in English on May 13, 2016, both separately and in a bundle with the game's soundtrack.[1][15] A Nintendo 3DS version was released digitally in Japan on July 27, 2016 by FuRyu, as one of the first three games of their Catalyst line,[16] and a PlayStation Vita version was released both physically and digitally in Japan on March 16, 2017 by Dramatic Create.[17] This version includes new content; due to sickness, Moyataro was unable to create the new artwork needed for it, so another illustrator was given the task.[3] A new version for PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 are scheduled for international release in 2019 by Limited Run Games; the PlayStation 4 version is to use new artwork as it will be the first time the game will be available in 4K resolution.

The game was a runner-up for Hardcore Gamer's Best Story of 2016 award.[18]

The Steam release had an estimated total of 8,500 players by July 2018.[19]

Soundtrack[edit]

The House in Fata Morgana Original Soundtrack
The House in Fata Morgana OST Disc 1-2 Cover.jpg
Disc 1-2 cover
Soundtrack album by
Mellok'n, Takaki Moriya, Gao, Yusuke Tsutsumi and Aikawa Razuna
ReleasedMay 3, 2013
Length272:49
Alternative cover
Disc 3-4 cover
Disc 3-4 cover

The House in Fata Morgana Original Soundtrack is a soundtrack album which contains the original soundtrack from The House in Fata Morgana. It was released on May 3, 2013. The album is a compilation by five different artists: Mellok'n, Takaki Moriya, Gao, Yusuke Tsutsumi and Aikawa Razuna.

Track listing[edit]

Other media[edit]

A manga adaptation of the game, The House in Fata Morgana: Anata no Hitomi o Tozasu Monogatari,[b] was written by Hanada and drawn by Kanemune. It was published by Akita Shoten in four volumes from 2015 to 2017, of which the last three were released digitally. The manga has been licensed for release by Sekai Project, who plan to release it digitally: the first volume is planned for October or November 2017, and the second for February 2018.[20]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The House in Fata Morgana (Japanese: ファタモルガーナの館, Hepburn: Fata Morugāna no Yakata)
  2. ^ The House in Fata Morgana: Anata no Hitomi o Tozasu Monogatari (ファタモルガーナの館 あなたの瞳を閉ざす物語)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jenni (2016-03-31). "The House in Fata Morgana Opens Its Doors On May 13". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  2. ^ a b Hanada, Keika (2016-05-13). "The House in Fata Morgana Now On Sale!". MangaGamer. Archived from the original on 2016-05-13. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  3. ^ a b "Is there a particular reason Moyataro isn't doing the artwork for the new content in the Vita version? And thank you for Fata Morgana! It was my favorite visual novel this year". Novectacle. 2016-12-25. Archived from the original on 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2017-01-02 – via ASKfm.
  4. ^ "How log did you take to plan the plot?". Novectacle. 2016-12-30. Archived from the original on 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2017-01-02 – via ASKfm.
  5. ^ "The plot and story behind House in Fata Morgana is noticeably rich and really deep in many aspects. What were your inspirations for the plot and character building behind House in Fata Morgana? Any book, series, songs perhaps?". Novectacle. 2016-12-24. Archived from the original on 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2016-12-24 – via ASKfm.
  6. ^ a b BlackDragonHunt (2016-05-10). "The House in Fata Morgana: The Language of Fata Morgana". MangaGamer. Archived from the original on 2016-05-11. Retrieved 2016-05-10.
  7. ^ "The House in Fata Morgana". MangaGamer. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  8. ^ Ishaan (2013-06-02). "Here's The House in Fata Morgana, A Gothic Visual Novel You Might Get To Play". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  9. ^ Ishaan (2013-06-04). "Financial Woes Strike Again; The House in Fata Morgana Localization Affected". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2014-10-11. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  10. ^ Eugene (2014-03-30). "Gothic Visual Novel The House in Fata Morgana Has An English Demo". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2015-01-11. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  11. ^ Estrada, Marcus (2014-08-08). "MangaGamer Announces Visual Novel Acquisitions at Otakon 2014". Hardcore Gamer. Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  12. ^ "概要" (in Japanese). Novectacle. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  13. ^ "ファタモルガーナの館 まとめ [PCゲーム]". Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  14. ^ "ファタモルガーナの館[iPhone]". 4Gamer.net (in Japanese). Aetas Inc. Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  15. ^ Estrada, Marcus (2016-05-13). "The House in Fata Morgana Finally Available in English". Hardcore Gamer. Archived from the original on 2016-05-14. Retrieved 2016-05-14.
  16. ^ Jenni (2016-07-20). "World End Economica And Other Visual Novels Are Coming To The 3DS In Japan". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2016-07-21. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  17. ^ "ファタモルガーナの館 -COLLECTED EDITION-". Famitsu (in Japanese). Enterbrain. Archived from the original on 2016-12-24. Retrieved 2016-12-24.
  18. ^ "Best of 2016 – Day One: Story, Soundtrack, Voice Acting". Hardcore Gamer. 2017-01-01. Archived from the original on 2017-01-02. Retrieved 2017-01-02.
  19. ^ Orland, Kyle (2018-07-06). "Valve leaks Steam game player counts; we have the numbers". Ars Technica. Condé Nast. Archived from the original on 2018-07-10. Retrieved 2018-07-11. Complete list. Archived 2018-07-11 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Sekai Project Licenses The House in Fata Morgana Manga". Anime News Network. 2017-08-12. Archived from the original on 2017-08-28. Retrieved 2017-08-12.

External links[edit]