Bayonetta: Bloody Fate

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Bayonetta 2, Community, PlatinumGames

As you may be aware, the Blu-Ray & DVD of the Bayonetta: Bloody Fate anime were recently released in Japan, so we think it’s about  time we gave you a bit more info on the movie, which was released in Japanese theaters last year.

Bayonetta: Bloody Fate is a movie adaptation of the first game in the series, created by anime studio Gonzo (http://www.gonzo.co.jp/index.html, Japanese only), known for popular works such as Hellsing, and Rosario + Vampire, as well as for contributing animated cutscenes to various video games such as Super Street Fighter IV, the Lunar series, and the Blazblue series. That’s an impressive résumé!

It also features an all-star cast of voice actors:
Atsuko Tanaka as Bayonetta
Mie Sonozaki as Jeanne
Daisuke Namikawa as Luka
Miyuki Sawashiro as Cereza
Tesshô Genda as Rodin
Wataru Takagi as Enzo
and the inimitable Norio Wakamoto as Balder

We won’t spoil the plot for you (although you’re probably already familiar with most of it), but we do have some other nice background information to share.

Last year, shortly after the movie was released in theaters, a special talk show took place in Osaka, organized by the “Bayonetta: Bloody Fate” staff: Mr. Fuminori Kizaki (director), Mr. Mitsutaka Hirota (script), and Mr. Yuji Naito. Our very own Yusuke Hashimoto (producer on Bayonetta/director on Bayonetta 2, and helped created the draft for the movie) attended as well!

bayonetta anime (2)
From left to right: Mr. Hirota, Mr. Hashimoto, Mr. Kizaki (the director), and Mr. Naito

The talk show touched on some of the trouble experienced during the development of the scenario: apparently Mr. Hirota had cried out “Maybe I could do the whole thing as a 3-parter, but you want me to do it all in 86 minutes!?” before exploding in a rain of haloes.

However, it wasn’t all bad: the show also covered some behind-the-scenes topics of the Tokyo International Film Festival in October last year, where the movie was first shown to the public, as well as some anecdotes on Bayonetta’s bathing scene (!), which was decided on “instantly and unanimously” at the first meeting between the movie staff and the staff of the original game.

bayonetta anime (5)

After that, it was time for some questions from the audience.

bayonetta anime (4)

Of course the crowd was dying to know more about the shocking climax scene, but there was also a healthy amount of interest in the cast of high-profile voice actors, and the BGM used for the movie. Everyone got to ask about their favorite scenes as well, so question time just flew by, and before you could say “Phantasmaraneae,” it was already time for the giveaway!

Character designer Ms. Yokoyama and character planner/supervisor Ms. Shimazaki kindly provided a couple of beautiful signed illustrations, and there was even a surprise present in the form of a framed illustration signed by our very own producer Yusuke Hashimoto and director Hideki Kamiya!

bayonetta anime (10)
Excitement filled the air!

bayonetta anime (6)
The illustration donated by Mari Shimazaki.

bayonetta anime (7)
The illustration donated by Ai Yokoyama.

bayonetta anime (8)trim

And the framed picture signed by Hashimoto and Kamiya

bayonetta anime (3)
We’re sure it found a great home somewhere.

For more information (in Japanese) and loads of downloadable goodies, please check the site below:

[Bayonetta: Bloody Fate] Official HP:

http://www.bayonetta-movie.com/

bayonetta anime (1)

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest PlatinumGames news and events.

Tagged: , , , , ,

Reacting to Blade Mode

METAL GEAR RISING

Filed: Games, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, PGTV

Hey everybody, my name is Hirokazu Takeuchi, and I’m in charge of character animation in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I’m starting to worry that this katana I’ve been swinging around at my desk every day during development is going to cut somebody.

Gameplay in MGR centers on a concept other games haven’t touched; the freedom to cut any part of an enemy. From an animation standpoint, it took considerable trial and error to get this to work.

This blog is about some of those animations; in particular, what happens when an enemy is chopped up via Blade Mode, and how they react to that.

Up until now, most games that had dismemberment systems only allowed things to be cut in a predetermined fashion. Slicing the enemy in two, for example, would usually mean simply creating one animation of the upper body separating from the lower half.

We, however, have given the player freedom. We don’t know where they’re going to cut. They could choose to cut off a leg or an arm… they could cut horizontally, vertically, diagonally…

At the starting stages of development, there were different ways we tried to express this endless amount of possible reactions through procedural animations. Heads would fly or just plop off without relying on any canned animations.

Ultimately, though, these programmed reactions just couldn’t cross the threshold to become something we thought fully conveyed the intensity of the action, so we decided to undertake the slow, daunting task of creating animations for every thinkable dismemberment possibility.

We’d cut the enemy one way, add an animation, cut from a different angle, add another animation, repeating this process until the end of development, until we eventually were satisfied with the array of reactions we were able to get from each enemy.

These are only a fraction of the different reactions you will see in the game:

We tried creating as many animations per character as possible in order to give you the most satisfying gameplay experience we could, so cut from any direction you can think of and you will see scores of different reactions from each enemy character.

So start thinking about all the different angles you want to try out while waiting for the release!

Until then!

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Putting a Face to Vanquish

VANQUISH

Filed: Community, Games, PGTV, PlatinumGames, Vanquish

Hi all, I’m Vanquish facial animator, Masanori Takashima.

It’s been a month since the game was released, huh?
I suppose that those of you who have become captive to the exhilaration of traversing (gliding) across the battlefield are taking a crack at God Hard mode or possibly going after all the achievements/trophies. For those of you who haven’t played the game, I hope you make Vanquish a part of your holiday treats. We will be waiting for you on the adrenaline filled battlefield.

Anyways, that intro got a bit long in the tooth, so I’ll get to the topic at hand – facial animation in Vanquish.

Let me start by explaining the nuts and bolts of facial animation. I was in charge of making sure that the character model’s face could show expression by setting up a facial controller and then animating the face. It is a very specialized, almost geeky field; however, I am incredibly passionate about the challenge it provides.

When people try to understand other people, they rely on their appearance, the tone of their voice, their behavior, and their expressions. Amongst those, the face is incredibly important because it transmits expressions as visual signals. These signals show the depth of one’s humanness, from changes in feelings, to thoughts, personality, and even sometimes lies. Furthermore, humans are able to detect slight changes in expressions and guess at their subject’s feelings. It is truly a wonderful ability, and all the gamers have this trait, so to make sure that they understand each character’s individual expressions, you need to have the right animations, as well as an easy-to-use, robust facial controller. It’s a job that takes perseverance, perseverance, and then some more perseverance, but the minute you see life breathed into a character, it is addicting!

So here you go, recruits… Vanquish!

To make the player feel as if the characters in Vanquish are real, living human beings, we wanted to have a more realistic touch to the facial animations. Instead of trying to fill things with idiosyncratic animations, we decided to go with an approach that separated things into rough animation categories. Our plan was to come to grips with the general framework of all of the characters over the course of the game, then give them out of the ordinary expressions (or perhaps their true colors) at key moments, providing a hint as to where they were heading. Put simply, we wanted the characters to hit the beats in the story and turn things on their heads.

For instance, Sam is usually a cool, smoldering character, with a cigarette casually in one hand; however, when Burns doesn’t just forsake his troops, he smiles. On the other hand, his look of bitterness at seeing men left behind, or the shock when something emerges from a certain character’s chest, were all points where we wanted to lock down the ebb and flow of his character arc and give him a bit more human emotion.

Burns is normally a powerful, rough and tumble guy, and when he talks we wanted to make sure he reinforces the image of a tough as nails drill sergeant type at all times. Yet, his fiercely sheepish face when Sam jokingly welcomes him back from the dead, or the change in the look of his eyes when talking with Sam or seeing the battlefield, are interwoven with his desire to suppress his varied emotions from coming to the surface.

Elena calmly and indifferently explains the state of the battle during the game, and we wanted her to seem like the elite, convincing support role that she fills. She works to hold in her emotions, and is careful to make sure that to the best of her abilities she didn’t end up seeming sexy. However, there are places where her true colors shine through.

She gets irritated when Sam rants, and she can’t hold back when the danger continues on for too long. When Elena is verbally dressed down by Burns, all she can muster is a “Sorry,” but you can see in her face that she doesn’t really think she was wrong. Another one of the things we did for Elena, at my request, was giving her an animation during a scene where she runs her hands through her hair even though she is hard at work in her support role. I was looking for a place where a career girl would make sure that her hair looked good while she was working. At least that was my justification for it. And when I found the scene, it fit perfectly.

Even if you are playing through the game again, skipping the cutscenes, or if you’ve taken a step back after completing Vanquish once, I would love it if you took this opportunity to step back into the world of Vanquish once again. Until next time.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Feel of the Game

VANQUISH

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: http://platinumgames.com/2009/05/17/rooting-for-the-enemy/

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: http://platinumgames.com/2010/08/05/the-augmented-reaction-suit-system/

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…

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , ,

On Boss and Summon Animations

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

(Originally posted on the Japanese Bayo-blog on December 25, 2009, but withheld due to spoilers.)

Hello, I am an animator here at PlatinumGames. You can call me Nakajo. It seems early, but it is already Christmas, huh? The office building that houses PlatinumGames has an enormous Christmas tree that really sparkles and shines, attracting huge crowds of revelers even on the weekends. This is the third tree that has welcomed the Bayonetta project, but this year things have calmed down, so I was able to look at the tree in a new light. (Don’t ask what it was like before this year…)

About My Role on Bayonetta
I jointed Team Little Angels primarily as an enemy animation designer. The senior animators on the team have already gone over much of the animation here on the blog; however, I thought I would talk a little bit about one of the Cardinal Virtues, Temperantia, and the Infernal Demon summon that finishes off the boss.
(I thought the animators’ blogs were finished up with Uchi’s blog… But I got called in to write one… I’m writing this now half-crying because I just couldn’t figure out what to include…)

When animating the Temperantia fight, I worked making sure to absolutely avoid destroying the sense of scale, all the while paying attention to the sense the heft and speed the fight had. With something as big as Temperantia, getting a sense of heft and scale requires the attack motions to get bigger and bigger, so I had to go through numerous… numerous… numerous… revisions to make sure the attacks didn’t come from off-screen. (If you are attacked from off-screen, you can’t see the locus of the blow, making it impossible to dodge, right?)

Since the main part of Temperantia is SO big during that fight, the boss actually ends up being the stage, and we included various gameplay devices to this end. Some new big of gameplay would be put into the game and then go through numerous… numerous… numerous… revisions. (Again!!)

With the Infernal Demon summons, they would start by deciding Bayonetta’s summoning pose. Uchi-san also posted about the motion capture process in a previous blog, but I would patch things up using some of the stored motion capture data.

However, there is a limit as to how far you can use this data, and having things like “win poses” overlap with each other wouldn’t be good, so it was always a bit of a difficult situation when we’d begin to argue over poses:
“Hey, I’m using that pose already.”
“Really? I’ll look for something else…”

Once Bayonetta’s pose was locked down, I then moved on to how the Infernal Demon and Temperantia would interact. In Temperantia’s case, he is met by the six-armed demon Hekatoncheir. It was consulting with Kamiya-san, who wanted to make sure that this thing was powerful, that we decided to increase his number of arms from two to six. (Huh? He only used to have two… But six is three times as powerful! And three times as much work!! *cries*) During production, I got a really weird sweat and two or three times I thought that my soul might literally escape out of my mouth; however, I was able to finish the product.

Bayonetta is a game that holds many things and memories; however, having users play it and enjoy it would make me happy.

That’s all for now!

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Dance Movie Prototype

Bayonetta

Filed: Bayonetta, Community, Games, PlatinumGames

Hi everyone.
I’m Uchi, an animator here at PlatinumGames.

Is everyone having fun with Bayonetta?

I joined the Bayonetta team towards the end of the project, and my main job was working on the in-game animations. You’ve already heard about the player and enemy animations from some of the more senior members of the team, but I’d like to tell you a little about what I was in charge of: the dance movie.

During the game, Bayonetta puts on quite a few of her own magnificent dance shows, but these dances are mainly based off of dance data we motion captured. Motion capture allows us to use computers to play back in real-time data we captured of a real person moving, so we filmed a wide variety of motion capture actors for the game, whether they were dancers, actors, or martial artists, and then matched their data up to a character model/situation in the game.
For Bayonetta, we held auditions, and then found and motion captured a professional dancer who fit Bayonetta to a T. We used this dancer’s data in a variety of areas, from when Bayonetta summons an Infernal Demon to her dances during the game’s cutscenes.

More…

Tagged: , , , , , , ,