Nintendo DS

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



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!

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and wrote the book "The Legend of Zelda - A Complete Development History". He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.