Hello! I’m delighted to share with you that Arashi: Castles of Sin launches exclusively on PlayStation VR tomorrow, August 10.
In Arashi: Castles of Sin, take on the role of Kenshiro, an elite shinobi assassin. With an arsenal of feudal weapons and your wolf companion, Haru, take revenge against the ruthless bandits who have terrorized the countryside and claimed castles across feudal Japan as their own.
One of the keys to making this game was staying small, rudimentary, and flexible. We kept our approach as DIY as possible by using state-of-the-art mocap tools such as an inertial motion capture suit for full body capture, mocap gloves for finger capture, and an app that captures high facial movements. quality. We captured all of this on a laptop under $ 1,000, proving it can be done without huge, expensive workstations.
By having these tools on hand, we were able to have a mobile mocap studio capable of filming at a quality that would normally require a mocap set, a dozen people, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in hardware and equipment, all with three. personal team of Forrest Söderlind, Patrick Jandro and myself from our office last summer.
To provide motion capture for the fighters you’ll be fighting, we worked with Master Russell McCartney, the world record holder for Japanese fencing. As our creative director Tom Doyle likes to say, “You won’t just fight a bad guy who wields a sword; you are actually facing one of the best swordsmen alive. ”
However, your katana is not your only weapon, it is just one of ten different weapons in Arashi. Meaningful player choices and expressive gameplay are paramount to our Design Director, Peter Carlson, which is why we ensure that each weapon has its own strengths and drawbacks that allow players to face challenges in their chosen playstyle.
Our team was passionate about presenting this story entirely in Japanese with subtitles. We have a deep love and appreciation for Japanese cinema from the 1940s and 1950s and wanted to transport the player directly to their own personal Criterion Collection film.
We felt it was important to find a way to represent the specific cultural gestures of Japan. Our solution: send a mobile phone around the world to Japan, set up a tripod and press record in the capture software while our Japanese voice actors perform. As excited as we were about it, presenting the full game in Japanese was an interesting challenge as none of our animators speak Japanese. Fortunately, our 3D art director Louis Lu and his wife are fluent and helped make the lip sync and subtitles as consistent as possible.
There was still a lot of work going on from there and Forrest and Pat say that this was one of the most complex and rewarding experiences for them on this project. To give you a glimpse of part of the process, we put together this video of Ayane, Kenshiro’s cousin and guide.
We wanted Haru to be not only a powerful weapon, but also your partner. To capture Haru’s spirit, we took a field trip to a wildlife sanctuary, Predators of the Heart, and had an amazing day studying and playing with the wolves.
Haru was a part of our process that was a little less DIY. Our plan was to be in a mocap studio and film animation for her, but due to pandemic reasons, that was a failure. We called our friends at Beyond Capture in Vancouver, Canada, who coordinated with us a remote capture of four German Shepherds, each with a different role: neutral, aggressive, cinematic, and playful. In all of our careers, doing a remote quadruped shoot was completely unprecedented and a huge undertaking, but we’re very happy with Haru.
Oh, and can you pet the dog?
Yes. You can pet the dog. Well, wolf.
When I play Arashi, I feel like a stealthy, strategic ninja assassin on a playground with all my awesome toys. I laughed out loud with joy the first time I faced two enemies, one fighting with my katana and the other with my tanto. One of my favorite things is dropping a mine near a group of enemies and ordering Haru to distract them, luring them straight into my trap. Boom!
Our team is very excited for you to play starting tomorrow, August 10th. We are eager to hear about your adventures in the shadows.