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.
|Kabushiki gaisha Vijuaru Wākusu|
|Industry||CGI animation for film, CGI animation for video games, Visual effects|
Number of locations
|Kazuyuki Ikumori (director)|
|Products||Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children|
Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV
|Parent||Square Enix Holdings|
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.
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. 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, and expanding to more video game franchises and genres after the acquisitions by Square Enix of Taito and Eidos Interactive.
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.
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.
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.
Video game cutscenesEdit
- Final Fantasy VII (1997)
- Xenogears (1998)
- Parasite Eve (1998)
- Final Fantasy VIII (1999)
- Final Fantasy Collection (1999)
- Final Fantasy Anthology (1999)
- Chrono Cross (1999)
- Parasite Eve II (1999)
- Vagrant Story (2000)
- Final Fantasy IX (2000)
- Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (2000)
- The Bouncer (2000)
- Final Fantasy Chronicles (2001)
- Final Fantasy X (2001)
- Final Fantasy XI Online (2002)
- Kingdom Hearts (2002)
- Drakengard (2003)
- Final Fantasy X-2 (2003)
- Final Fantasy Origins (2003)
- Drakengard 2 (2005)
- Final Fantasy XI Online: Rise of Zilart (2007)
- Final Fantasy XI Online: Chains of Promathia (2007)
- Kingdom Hearts II (2005)
- Final Fantasy XI Online: Treasures of Aht Urhgan (2006)
- Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (2006)
- Final Fantasy III (2006)
- Final Fantasy XII (2006)
- Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII (2007)
- Final Fantasy IV (2007)
- Final Fantasy XIII (2009)
- Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep (2010)
- Final Fantasy XIV (2010)
- The 3rd Birthday (2010)
- Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection (2011)
- Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
- Final Fantasy Type-0 (2011)
- Final Fantasy XIII-2 (2011)
- Gunslinger Stratos (2012)
- Hitman: Absolution (2012)
- Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (2012)
- Tomb Raider (2013)
- Gunslinger Stratos 2 (2013)
- Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII (2013)
- Thief (2014)
- Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)
- Densha de Go! (2016)
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (2016)
- Final Fantasy XV (2016)
- Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (2017)
- Dissidia Final Fantasy NT (2018)
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)
- Kingdom Hearts III (2019)
- Final Fantasy VII Remake (TBA)
- "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.
- "Final Fantasy CG Studio Visual Works Talks About The Tomb Raider Trailer". 14 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 November 2016.
- 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.
- "Square Enix Streams Introduction Movie for Visual Works Exhibit". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on 2016-10-11.
- 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.