Behind The Art Of Last Window: The Secret of Cape West

By Ishaan . October 14, 2010 . 11:33am


Both of Nintendo and Cing’s hard-boiled detective games, Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window, use an animation technique named “rotoscoping” to achieve their unique look. Rotoscoping involves artists tracing over videos and images of live-action actors in order to give the animation a realistically-detailed, yet artistic look.


Rotoscoping was conceived by cartoonist Max Fleischer, whose work you might be familiar with. Fleischer is well-known in animation circles for bringing Popeye and Superman to life on television. Fleischer’s studio made heavy use of the rotoscoping technique in the 1940s Superman cartoon in particular.


Chances are, you’ve seen rotocoping used to various degrees in music and movies, too. It was used in three of music band a-ha’s videos, and the most prominent movie to use it in recent times is A Scanner Darkly.


Nintendo of Europe recently put up a fascinating “Making of” feature for the art and animation of Last Window, which takes you through the rotoscoping process used in the game. The most interesting part of the feature is the look it gives you at some of the live-action actors Cing chose to base Last Window’s characters on. Click the video above to check it out!

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  • lostinblue

    More importantly… Since this is appearing now et all… does that mean cing is afloat still? I want news :(

    • Actually, the japanese version of this video was up on youtube a couple months ago. It’s the same stuff, but edited to have same english gameplay in the beginning. Just look up “Last Window Art Special” in youtube, and you should find the japanese version.

  • While it’s great that Nintendo’s European branch has such enthusiasm for the series, maybe I want to share some of that.

  • Omg i never though i could see this! i hope this series continue, maybe nintendo will do his job on this, this game is a MUST buy

  • Yes, I would definitely enjoy it if it was released in the US. Perhaps I should import a PAL version or something.

  • Hours

    Why won’t NoA release this game? It’s mind boggling.

  • Avojavo

    Wow… wow, that is a lot of effort. Do the programmers, artists, designers ever fear that for all the thousands of hours invested into the production of a game, that it fails? Does that spur them to work more conservatively, or work harder?

    Game design. What a frightening field.

    • Yesshua

      No kidding. Consider also that this particular company did go under right after the game released. I guess they probably knew that everything was riding on this title succeeding. It must have been incredibly draining.

      It’s even more a shame, because I happen to like Cing developed games quite a bit.

  • Aoshi00

    Wow, very cool video, so that’s how all the motion and expression looked so natural and life-like, but w/ a distinct anime look added to it. Had no idea this game used the same technique as A Scanner Darkly too, so I guess they did that for Trace Memory too huh. I know Disney has been using live action videos for reference and that’s why the motion looked so fluid in Disney cartoons. I used to draw a lot back in the days, maybe I should practice by tracing like this too.

  • I got my copy a while ago….I still haven’t played it…. why did I bother pre-ordering it… OTL

    I can’t wait to play it…but no time ;___;

  • Ahhh…! I want to see who played as Kyle and Mila to create their animations….

  • Oh boy, even though they outsourced some work it looks like Kanasaki had to redraw every single picture, e.g. removing the mustache they gave to Kyle Hyde.

    “Now that the development team has finished their mamoth task of creating this new world, I hope that you enjoy solving the mystery of Last Window”
    Thank you Kanasaki-san, I will always remember CING and your games ;_;

  • Joanna

    Still holding out for a NA release….but if it does not come mid-2011, this will be my first import title.

    That was a lot of work! They all look so sad in the video, is it because they were under financial stress? Poor Cing, you didn’t deserve to go under. T^T

    Damn it Nintendo! Scoop these people up, they are amazing!

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