Idea Factory used a program called SpriteStudio to create Record of Agarest War 2’s 2D sprite animations. The demonstration at that link shows how it allows you to animate an object by dividing it into several parts, and move each part around without breaking the overall shape. Here’s an example:
There are two versions of SpriteStudio…the regular version, and one for the Nintendo DS. The software is also compatible with mobile phone games. Here’s a look at its implementation in a finished product:
Sprite Studio is developed by Web Technology Corp. Does that name sound familiar? They’re also the company that develop Comipo!, the amateur manga-creation suite.