The Feel of the Game


Filed: Community, Games, PlatinumGames, Vanquish

Hello everyone. I’m Takaaki Yamaguchi and I was the animator for the enemies in Vanquish. I’d like to give you an inside look on my work on the game.

Have you all given the demo a try? If you haven’t, definitely give it a shot. It might take you a little bit to get used to the controls in the game, but I think screenshots and video don’t do the sense of speed and exhilaration in the game justice.

Of course, this is because we followed the direction of Mikami-san from the beginning of production…

We started by knowing rejecting what had become the calm, expected elements of shooters:

“Remember the map, find a good spot, hide, then move.”

“If you get discovered, move to another hiding spot”

“Fire before you are fired upon.”

Instead, we went with something only aggressive words could describe:

“No running away! Move forward!”

“I don’t want people crawling along or hiding under cover!”

“You’ll dodge bullets with a ‘woosh’!”

With that direction in mind, I went about creating the enemy animations and it dawned on me that I wasn’t really creating shooter animations as much as I was creating action game animations.

By the way, animating something for a game is not just about simply making something look cool when it moves. When working on a player character, you have to make sure that there is a direct response to user controls so that things feel good, but with enemies, you need to build in instants where the player knows that they are about to be attacked. If you’d like to know more about this, Eijiro, lead animator on Bayonetta, wrote about Enemy Animations on the Bayonetta blog. Check out his post here:

These hints are incredibly important to an action game. For instance, in the Vanquish demo, you face off against the giant Argus robot. The Argus has many different kinds of attacks; we made “warning animations” not just for the melee attacks, but for all of the firearm attacks the robot can execute, as well.

At first, you will probably be completely absorbed in the fight, but after fighting the Argus a few times, you should be better able to determine what attack is coming next from these warnings. By the way, there are even attacks that can hit you behind cover. If you think about it, that is pretty much against established shooter convention, but if you pay close attention to your foe and get the timing right, you can dodge these attacks. Once that attack is over, that is your opening to repay the favor. You could say that this is the ebb-and-flow of an action game. Pulling this off with grace becomes very addictive, and you’ll soon be completely absorbed in the action.

So that’s Vanquish. Personally, I love action games, and the animations I created for Vanquish are something that I can truly be proud of. You can pick your difficulty level in the game, so I hope that lots of different people play the game. Furthermore, it would be great if even those of you who think you aren’t good at action games take what I’ve written here into account and give the game a try. You might find that you end up loving what you experience.

Finally, this doesn’t really have anything to do with my blog, but our character modeler, Yoshifumi Hattori, mentioned a robot dog in his post on the blog here:

Well, I went digging and found some of the animation we created for the robot terrier.

This reminds me of when we had a robot-dog-missile attack in the game…

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11 Comments Add Your Own

FAUNA Posted on October 8, 2010 at 4:32 am

Great BLOG. The anticipation is seriously too much..

TIE Posted on October 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I played the demo, excellent work. I'm a big fan. I can't wait to play the full game!

Blvd__Nights Posted on October 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm

The demo is brilliant!

Definitely a must-have title.

Keep up the good work, best of luck to you all!

SonicTHP Posted on October 12, 2010 at 12:01 am

I think the cool animations and different style of cover based gameplay are what draw me to Vanquish.

60Hertz Posted on October 12, 2010 at 5:21 pm

firing animation from the dog? good work!

twenty1 Posted on October 12, 2010 at 6:04 pm

the feel of the game feels second nature. This is a day one purchase as always PG*

-So cool

axiomprime Posted on October 12, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Thank you Takaaki Yamaguchi for your work on the game and this blog. I think it's such a shame that the dog didn't make it into the final game. I was a big fan of Shadow Dancer and have always thought the game mechanic of sending a dog into battle to distract your enemies is under-used.

Communicating with the player through animation is an art in itself.

Sebastian-Gomez Posted on October 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I´ve always thought that the key differences between western and japanese games are precisely these two…ANIMATION and design!!!…keep up the good work!!!

Long live Platinum!

Phong Chang Posted on January 4, 2011 at 10:02 pm

PLEASE make a sequel. I played the demo multiple times before I finally got the full game. It's nearly flawless. The pacing and the flow is perfect. The martial arts and the special button-masher scenes are awesome. Currently my favorite single player experience. The ending was good but it made me REALLY want a sequel. I wanna see Sam beat the hell outta Victor in some sort of high speed battle involving an abundance of martial arts moves and what not. I'd also like to see a multiplayer mode be released with co-op and competitive multiplayer. The game would be sick.

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