Visual Works

Last updated
Visual Works
Native name
株式会社ヴィジュアルワークス
Romanized name
Kabushiki gaisha Vijuaru Wākusu
Kabushiki gaisha
Industry CGI animation for film, CGI animation for video games, Visual effects
Founded1997
Number of locations
Tokyo, Japan
Key people
Kazuyuki Ikumori (director)
Products Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
Parent Square Enix Holdings

Visual Works(Japanese:株式会社ヴィジュアルワークス, Hepburn:Kabushiki gaisha Vijuaru Wākusu) is a Japan-based CGI animation studio dedicated towards creating video game cut scenes and full-length feature films for Square Enix. Visual Works was founded as the CGI department for Square and was responsible for creating the pre-rendered CG openings for the company, starting with Final Fantasy VII in 1997.

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 128 million people, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic language family, and its relation to other languages, such as Korean, is debated. Japanese has been grouped with language families such as Ainu, Austroasiatic, and the now-discredited Altaic, but none of these proposals has gained widespread acceptance.

Hepburn romanization is a system for the romanization of Japanese that uses the Latin alphabet to write the Japanese language. It is used by most foreigners learning to spell Japanese in the Latin alphabet and by the Japanese for romanizing personal names, geographical locations, and other information such as train tables, road signs, and official communications with foreign countries. Largely based on English writing conventions, consonants closely correspond to the English pronunciation and vowels approximate the Italian pronunciation.

An animation studio is a company producing animated media. The broadest such companies conceive of products to produce, own the physical equipment for production, employ operators for that equipment, and hold a major stake in the sales or rentals of the media produced. They also own rights over merchandising and creative rights for characters created/held by the company, much like authors holding copyrights. In some early cases, they also held patent rights over methods of animation used in certain studios that were used for boosting productivity. Overall, they are business concerns and can function as such in legal terms.

Contents

Beginning with Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children (2005) the company began to work on stand-alone CGI films, continuing with Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV (2016). After the acquisition of Taito and Eidos Interactive by Square Enix, Visual Works branched out their functionality to create cinematic scenes for Square Enix's acquired publishing brands, whilst continuing to primarily work on Square Enix's in-house properties. Visual Works are assisting Square Enix with the lighting and cinematic direction of the Kingdom Hearts franchise for the high definition entries. [1]

<i>Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children</i> 2005 film by Tetsuya Nomura

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is a 2005 Japanese computer-animated science fantasy action drama film directed by Tetsuya Nomura, written by Kazushige Nojima, and produced by Yoshinori Kitase and Shinji Hashimoto. Developed by Visual Works and Square Enix, Advent Children is part of the Compilation of Final Fantasy VII series of media, which is based in the world and continuity of the highly successful 1997 role-playing video game Final Fantasy VII. Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children was released on DVD and Universal Media Discs with Japanese voice acting in Japan on September 14, 2005, and on April 25, 2006, with English voice acting in North America and Europe.

<i>Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV</i> 2016 film by Takeshi Nozue

Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV is a 2016 Japanese computer-animated fantasy film directed by Takeshi Nozue and scripted by Takashi Hasegawa from a story by Kazushige Nojima and Saori Itamuro. Developed primarily by Square Enix's exclusive CGI studio Visual Works, Kingsglaive is based on the setting and story of the 2016 video game Final Fantasy XV, which is thematically connected to the Fabula Nova Crystallis subseries. Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV released theatrically in July 2016 in Japan by Aniplex, and received a limited theatrical run in August in North America by Stage 6 Films. Digital and physical home video versions were released in October 2016, and the film was bundled with different editions of Final Fantasy XV alongside Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV.

Taito Japanese company

Taito Corporation is a Japanese company that specializes in video games, toys, arcade cabinets and game centers, based out of Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company was founded by Michael Kogan in 1953 as the Taito Trading Company, importing vodka, vending machines and jukeboxes into Japan. They would soon begin production of video games in 1972, renaming the company to simply Taito. In 2005, Taito was purchased by Square Enix, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary; however, they are treated as a separate entity from their parent company.

History

Visual Works was founded as a subsidiary CGI production company for Japanese video game developer and publisher Square around 1997. The company's first project was the 1997 Final Fantasy VII . [2] [3] They have continued to produce video game scenes for the company, remaining a subsidiary after the merger of Square and Enix into Square Enix in 2003, [4] and expanding to more video game franchises and genres after the acquisitions by Square Enix of Taito and Eidos Interactive. [2]

Square Co., Ltd. was a Japanese video game company founded in September 1986 by Masafumi Miyamoto. It merged with Enix in 2003 to form Square Enix. The company also used SquareSoft as a brand name to refer to their games, and the term is occasionally used to refer to the company itself. In addition, "Square Soft, Inc" was the name of the company's American arm before the merger, after which it was renamed to "Square Enix, Inc".

Enix Japanese video game publisher

Enix Corporation was a Japanese video game publisher that produced video games, anime and manga. Enix is known for publishing the Dragon Quest series of role-playing video games.

Square Enix Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company

Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd. is a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company known for its Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and Kingdom Hearts role-playing video game franchises, among numerous others. Several of them have sold over 10 million copies worldwide, with the Final Fantasy franchise alone selling 144 million, the Dragon Quest franchise selling 78 million and the Kingdom Hearts franchise selling 30 million. The Square Enix headquarters are in the Shinjuku Eastside Square Building in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The company employs over 4300 employees worldwide.

In 2005, Visual Works produced their first stand-alone project, the feature-length CGI film Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children . They produced a second stand-alone film, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV , in 2016.

Process

The studio's creative freedom in creating cutscenes varies from project to project. Director Kazuyuki Ikumori explained in 2015 that some projects allow them complete freedom to decide the direction of the scenes and where they best fit, while others more narrowly define for the studio the length and location of the scene and how it begins and ends. Some projects also consult with the studio on which scenes work better as interactive scenes than passive cutscenes. Visual Works does not try to have different styles based on if a game originates in Japan or Western countries, such as for former Eidos properties, but instead try to match the style of the game series or development studio. Ikumori noted that that for some series, such as those by Crystal Dynamics or IO Interactive, they receive a lot of detail about the feeling of the scenes, which they take as a starting point, but for others such as Final Fantasy they know the series so well that they can easily match the developers' intent. Ikumori credits this last to his previous work as a map and character designer for the Final Fantasy series. [5]

Crystal Dynamics, Inc. is an American video game developer that was founded in 1992 by Judy Lang, Madeline Canepa and Dave Morse. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, it was acquired by Eidos Interactive in 1998. After Square Enix's acquisition of Eidos in 2009, it became a subsidiary of Square Enix. Crystal Dynamics was the first licensed developer for 3DO. The company's mascot was the video game character Gex the Gecko until 2000.

IO Interactive A/S is a Danish video game developer based in Copenhagen, best known for creating and developing the Hitman franchise. IO Interactive employs 170 people as of October 2016, and operates a Malmö-based studio, IOI Malmö, since January 2019.

Visual Works uses motion capture to design the movements of their CGI characters; Ikumori has described the process as being "really about the center of balance and that transition of balance" than about the exact motions. Especially for more fantasy-oriented series, they use the motion capture data as a basis to overlay with more exaggerated, "flashy" movements that still reflect the way the characters normally move. [5]

Motion capture tracking procedure which makes it possible to detect any type of movement and convert it to a digital format

Motion capture is the process of recording the movement of objects or people. It is used in military, entertainment, sports, medical applications, and for validation of computer vision and robotics. In filmmaking and video game development, it refers to recording actions of human actors, and using that information to animate digital character models in 2D or 3D computer animation. When it includes face and fingers or captures subtle expressions, it is often referred to as performance capture. In many fields, motion capture is sometimes called motion tracking, but in filmmaking and games, motion tracking usually refers more to match moving.

Works

Feature films

Video game cutscenes

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References

  1. "キングダム ハーツ HD 2.8 ファイナル チャプター プロローグ" [Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue]. Dengeki PlayStation (in Japanese). No. 629. ASCII Media Works. 12 January 2017. pp. 68–77.
  2. 1 2 "Final Fantasy CG Studio Visual Works Talks About The Tomb Raider Trailer". 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016.
  3. McLaughlin, Rus (April 30, 2008). "IGN Presents: The History of Final Fantasy VII". IGN . Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on January 28, 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2008.
  4. "Square Enix Streams Introduction Movie for Visual Works Exhibit". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11.
  5. 1 2 Spencer (2015-04-03). "Final Fantasy's Cinematic Mastermind On Making Advent Children And FFXV's Cutscene Balance". Siliconera. Archived from the original on 2015-04-06. Retrieved 2016-11-02.