Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Time and Eternity

The story behind Time and Eternity's revolutionary look

5:30 PM on 03.05.2013 // Steven Hansen

Dark Souls producer Kei Hirono explains the making of an 'animation RPG'

When the PlayStation 1 and N64 came out and rough, polygonal, 3D character models became the norm, it took me a while to realize what was wrong. Playing certain games would creep into the uncanny. It took me a surprisingly long while to realize it was because characters I was used to seeing in 2D were now morphed and molded into awkward looking 3D, which could never look right. Sure, original characters might look good, and the transition between certain sprite characters (the more cartoonish Mario, et al) didn’t produce the same effect, but playing anything with licensed characters from a strong 2D background was a bit unsettling.

Technology has gone a long way to address this disparity. I have no interest in anything Naruto, but I’m consistently impressed by the fidelity and fluidity of CyberConnect2’s Naruto fighting game series. Wind Waker still dazzles me to this day. We’ve even transcended elementary cel shading with titles like Ni no Kuni or the upcoming Killer is Dead and their dazzling art. However, 2D art is still generally restricted to 2D planes and isometric camera angles. Until now, anyway.

Imageepoch’s Time and Eternity is being touted as a first of its kind -- an “animation RPG.” Sans that vague descriptor, it’s a game in which you’ll actually control 2D, anime-inspired art in a 3D world. When I met with Dark Souls and Time and Eternity producer Kei Hirono, he explained a bit behind the process of making something that’s never been done, and tracking down the right artist to do it.

“Even at the beginning of RPGs, people wanted to make games like this -- animated games -- but the tech wasn’t there. Even now, it’s really hard to do. Through the whole process of making the game and working on the game, we thought we were going to die a million times,” Hirono explains, working through a translator. The influence of anime on the Japanese gaming sphere is evident. Just look at the proliferation of the anime-styled visual novel genre that’s so successful in Japan.

That influence colors Time and Eternity more than it does most. That’s why Imageepoch outsourced the animation to Satelight, known for Macross -- Robotech in the US -- and the recent Bodacious Space Pirates, which I’m told is as good as its title. Hirono talked about wanting an instantly recognizable look. Something with a little more nuance, style or idiosyncrasy to transcend a ubiquitous, general anime look, as well as the desire to avoid moe cuteness. Though Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) is one of the best shows ever, I respect the decision. Ultimately, they found this required fresh blood, so they traveled to Taiwan to get their look.

The Taiwanese artist Vofan is “known as the illustrator of lights and colors. His illustrations look a lot like water color in a way,” Hirono said. You can find some of his work here. I flipping love it. Vofan got on the radar thanks to his illustrating work for the light novel series Bakemonogatari, which was a huge hit in Japan and adapted into an equally huge anime with character designs drawn from his style. “He’s the only person doing this kind of art, so it’s recognizable instantly.” The style fit the bill and the ball got rolling.

“He wasn’t the one and only choice,” Hirono said. “We approached five or six other illustrators as well.” They had him draw one half of Time and Eternity’s leading duo, Toki, first “and when he did, everyone thought, ‘Wow, this is what we like.’” After five or six months the details were hammered out and Vofan came on the project in official capacity, adding some international influence to something that is typically Japanese.

The logistics of getting 2D animation moving the way they wanted it, of course, was still a hurdle. “There was no previous example of how to do a game exactly like this. [The team] made a sample version of the game in the office to see what translated best into the animation and Vofan’s work translated well into that.” While his hand drawn work for the game features less of his signature lighting flourishes and water-color palette, it still looks stunning.

As a proponent of 2D art and general enjoyer of anime, it’s exciting to see Time and Eternity come to fruition. Whether I’ll like the end product couched in JRPG orthodoxy remains to be seen, but, like cel shading before, it’s nice to see yet another visual style at developers’ command.

Photo Gallery: (20 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Time and Eternity

  May 10

Time & Eternity warps to European shores in June

North American release to follow shortly thereafter

  May 05

Time and Eternity screens look as gorgeous as ever

NIS America once again showcases stunning art direction

  Feb 26

PS3 RPG Time and Eternity sure looks pretty

Imageepoch's time-traveling role-player heads to PS3 this summer

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

Insidia REVIEW - A whole dark, gloomy, and kinda creepy world to explore

DS REVIEWS: Trace Memory

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Archelon avatarArchelon
Community Question: With all the controversy surrounding review scores, what do you personally consider a "bad" score versus a "good" score? Is there a game in particular that was panned by critics that you nevertheless enjoyed? Or vice versa?
TheVeganGamer avatarTheVeganGamer
Finally got around to playing Diablo 3 with some friends, holy smokes! That game is rad!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Public service announcement: Marry an orphan. It makes the holidays so much easier when you don't have to deal with pain in the ass in-laws.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So... how long is it until we get the inevitable Colonial Marines or Ride to Hell: Retribution PS4/Xbox One re-releases?
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Screw Bloodborne. I finally managed to overcome not tearing up while listening to the entirety of Never More. Git gud! [youtube][/youtube]
NYCpunk avatarNYCpunk
you know what's not okay? scalpers with 10 copies of fire emblem fates SE on ebay for $200+. and no one is saying anything.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Fallout 4 wouldn't be Fallout with ridiculous glitches and shenanigans. Here are a few I've run into - [youtube][/youtube]
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I've never earnestly went drinking before so it's cool to know I'm the slow, sleepy, impaired type.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Got to admit I didn't expect to find a mewtwo amiibo at my bookstore of all places...
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
My cousin found out I slept with his girlfriend and is pissed. Understandable. I am totally sick of the angry phone calls though. It reminds me so much of playing Call of Duty online. The screaming 11 year olds suck on there too.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Huh. Apparently even Japan has a Black Friday sale going on on PSN right now.
Lawman avatarLawman
Yes, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I know that somebody has 2,625 more medallions than me. No, Resident Evil: Revelations 2, I don't really care.
Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
This fucking Bloodborne DLC, jesus. I'm on new game+, about level 90, and shit just tears my dick off. I don't know if I want to start another guy just to avoid NG+ and level him up, etc. sigh....
Shinta avatarShinta
Wii U, top selling black friday item on Take that you anti-Wii U people.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I am pretty hyped for when I get a laptop because I'll be able to have a good enough connection to stream XbOne/soon PS4 games to it along with natively rendered Steam games. Hype!
Avoclefo avatarAvoclefo
Got a PS4 that came with SW Battlefront this week, and planning on picking up the FFX/X-2 remake. Hype is through the roof, especially for FFX. If I were to get one other game, what should it be?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Did a google maps search around my parents house for bars and there isn't one in like 25 miles, so I picked up an Intel compute stick and South Park: Stick of Truth on Steam. That's more or less the drunken screaming I'm in the mood for at about the cost.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Do you ever have that moment of clarity when talking to someone and suddenly realising: You're just a skull, and they're just a skull, with fucking eyeballs and a sac of skin being the only comparative difference between you visually? ..just me then?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
After quitting for two days out of frustration, I beat Ludwig on my first try of the night. I'm on cloud fucking nine right now.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
When I did my retail shift today, we were moving more Smash/Splat Wii U bundles and the Gears/Rare Replay/Ori XB1 bundles than Uncharted and Battlefront PS4s. I think Nintendo and MS have better value on their side this holiday. Sony got lazy.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -