Astral Chain’s Visual Effects, PlatinumGames Style, is Front and Center in Latest Dev Blog

Astral Chain’s Visual Effects, PlatinumGames Style, is Front and Center in Latest Dev Blog

Learn more about the visual effects and how each one brings Astral Chain to life in the latest PlatinumGames developer blog.

The latest Astral Chain developer’s blog stars Takuo Yamamoto, visual effects artist at PlatinumGames. According to Yamamato, his job is to make it “immediately visually clear what the player did and what happened as a result. Visual effects (VFX) are purely visual, but they still have a huge impact on how it feels to control a character, or interact with stage mechanics.”

The visual effects for combat have to be strong yet easy to understand. And of course in this case must maintain that trademark Platinum flashiness. In other words, it has to possess what he calls “interactive exhilaration.”

Yamamoto details how VFX is applied to Chimera deaths:

In Astral Chain, we’ve followed the tried-and-true Platinum tradition of having the enemy stop moving the instant they’re defeated, then vividly burst, so the player knows they’re done for. This is important because combat is fast-paced and players will often face several enemies at once! Nobody wants to waste time beating a dead chimera.

…we wanted the enemies to burst apart into particles in real-time when they were defeated….To briefly explain the process, in the moment a chimera dies, we enlist the help of the GPU to cover it in particles that match the color of the chimera under them. Since the chimeras in Astral Chain are made up of data, we made these particles into appropriately digital-looking shiny cubes. Just having chimeras crumble into a pile of cubes wouldn’t have enough visual impact for an action game, so we made some of them fall, while others violently scatter into the air, then tweaked the effect until it felt just right.

Next he goes into the effects used for Dimensional Cracks:

This is a visual effect used quite frequently in Astral Chain to show how chimeras warp and damage the world around them. This effect makes use of a technique called parallax mapping to make it look as if attacks or other damage are actually making dents in the scenery. That’s right — this is done with visual effects, not through a change in the 3D models themselves. Which means it can be used pretty much anywhere! We even stuck this effect on some enemy character models to make them look like cracks between dimensions were opening up all over their bodies.

And finally he talks about the in-game augmented reality tool called IRIS, which helps the protagonist with their police work. When the IRIS is activated, several effects take place at once:

  • a noise effect flicker across the screen as it starts up
  • a 3D grid fill the air around the your
  • grid lines covering every geographical feature
  • more grid lines running along the ground
  • the hue and saturation of the entire world change
  • outlines surround objects in the world, with differences based on how far away they are
  • a silhouette around your player character, to make their shape stand out

As always, it’s truly fascinating to find out what kind of hard work and dedication goes into creating titles like these. Especially in terms of creating and developing these smaller mechanics that players normally don’t consider during their average playthrough.

There’s also several previous developer blogs that delve deeper into the title from the sound design to art direction to the music to the environments themselves.

Astral Chain received some lovely post-launch artwork from both the NieR:Automata and Bayonetta’s character designers. The official PlatinumGames Twitter account also released new art from the studio’s main artist Hajime Kimura, celebrating the title’s success.

Astral Chain launched exclusively for Nintendo Switch and you can order it right now on Amazon. If you need some more convincing before you do, check out our review of the game here.

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