Behind many of Square Enix’s blockbusters is Visual Works, a fully owned subsidiary that specializes in making movies scenes for games like Final Fantasy Type-0 HD and since the Eidos acquisition Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Siliconera spoke with Visual Works director Kazuyuki Ikumori and he talked about some of the most memorable scenes he had a hand in creating.
“There are so many memorable ones it’s really difficult to come up with an answer. I’ll tell you some of the ones that come to mind. The one that invoked the most emotion was the kiss scene from Final Fantasy X just because I put so much of my heart and soul into that project,” Ikumori reminisced. “Final Fantasy XIV 1.0’s trailer is another because the team came to me and said, ‘Make a trailer and you can do what you with the monsters that appear in it.’ Because I’m a huge Malboro fan, I decided to include a Malboro in it. Also, the Final Fantasy III DS intro. The team came to me and said, ‘Could you make an intro? We’ll leave it to you!’ I had complete creative freedom and I loved that.”
Getting romance right in a video game with 3D models is a complicated. You have to avoid the pitfall of the uncanny valley and show chemistry between characters. I asked Ikumori what it was like working on the scene and what challenges the team at Visual Works had to overcome.
“For the Final Fantasy X kiss scene, a lot of our animators were not that experienced with romance. We were thinking how do we make this look real? How do we make people get teary eyed in that scene? We went around and asked younger staff at Square Enix showing them what we made and asked them is this real? Is this emotional? And then, we would take that feedback in and make changes when necessary,” Ikumori answered. “My philosophy is if you don’t know you ask people who are going to end up consuming [what you create] and then you take in that feedback.”
“I remember remaking and touching up that scene multiple times. One of the things that I remember was the size of the smile, especially their actions and movements before or after the kiss. I remember a lot of our female staff members would say ‘That’s unnatural,’ ‘That’s not believable,’ or ‘That’s not accurate.’ We remade this a lot of times because our female employees said, “no, no, no you guys don’t get it,” Ikumori laughed.