Hotel Dusk
Image: Cing

A video game miner named Adrot recently pulled back the curtain on the animation of Cing's Hotel Dusk: Room 215 and Last Window: The Secret of Cape West, after discovering the live-action source footage for the rotoscoped animation (as spotted by Bowloflentils).

If you've ever played this set of interactive mystery novels released for the Nintendo DS in 2007 and 2010 respectively, you'll likely be familiar with their rotoscoped art style that uses live-action performances as a source for the game's artists to animate over. They are two of the more notable examples of this technique being used in video games (besides Prince of Persia, Flashback, and Another World) and were previously the subject of a brilliant behind-the-scenes video from Nintendo detailing the process for Last Window.

In that video, it was revealed that not only did the studio use actors for the animation, but that these models eventually informed the final design of the extended cast (Kyle Hyde and Mila Evans are exceptions to this, according to a recent tweet from the director/character Taisuke Kanasaki). It also showed some before and afters to better explain this animation process, before demonstrating the final models being tested on a Nintendo DS.

For a while, this 7-minute video was pretty much the best we had of this raw footage, but last month, a video game miner named Adrot posted on Reddit that they'd uncovered some never-before-seen animation sources for the two games using a new tool from the Australian developer Jason Harley, which allowed them to look more closely at the game's files. They then posted more of this fascinating source animation online in a separate post, including the raw footage of the actors for the exchange student Charles Jeunet, the landlady Margaret Patrice, café owner Sidney Reagan, and the tenant Dylan Fitchar, among many more. These actors were apparently all cast from the same Tokyo-based modelling agency, called Avocado.

It's a mind-blowing discovery, especially since, as Adrot mentions in a comment on the original Reddit post, the animations were simply hiding inside the game's files all this time waiting to be discovered. If you have even a passing interest in animation, it's well worth checking out the original post.

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