Square Enix shows WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] (Tech Demo by AP Team)

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Sep 26, 2013
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#1
http://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2015/04/30/build-demo/


(Some new FFXV footage in the video too.)

Many tech demos end in tears. Square Enix’s moving demo during the keynote at Microsoft’s BUILD 2015 developer conference this week might be the first where that’s exactly the point.

In collaboration with NVIDIA and Microsoft, Square Enix – maker of the Final Fantasy series of video games – stunned the BUILD audience with a research project called WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry].

The project portrays human crying — considered one of the most difficult emotions to recreate digitally — at a level of quality never seen before with a real-time, computer-generated character.

It’s a demo that may come to represent a milestone in an industry that has long-struggled to cross the “uncanny valley.”


Square Enix – maker of the Final Fantasy series of video games – stunned the BUILD audience with a research project called WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry].
Coined by pioneering roboticist Masahiro Mori nearly 50 years ago, the term describes the boundary where emotional realism in the digital world begins to blur with reality — and creates a sense of the strange, or even revulsion, in human observers.
Overcoming this sensation has been a stretch goal for computer-generated graphics for decades. It’s a task that’s even tougher when performed in real time.

WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] project, powered by Microsoft’s new DirectX 12 application programming interface (API) and NVIDIA GeForce graphics, points to a way through the uncanny valley.

Bringing more reality and depth to character expressions will better immerse players in stories during game-play, and deepen their connection to characters.

NVIDIA GameWorks Effects Studio and GeForce GTX graphics were among the next-generation technologies Square Enix put to use. Square Enix also conducted extensive research on real-time CG technology using DirectX 12. The results will be incorporated into Square Enix’s Luminous Studio engine.


Art, and science: NVIDIA GameWorks Effects Studio and GeForce GTX graphics were among the next-generation technologies Square Enix put to use.
During the BUILD conference, Microsoft unveiled the research project running on four of our flagship NVIDIA GeForce TITAN X GPUs. It’s a stunning example of what they can do with the DirectX 12 API, due to arrive with Windows 10, Microsoft’s next-gen operating system.

Much of the know-how achieved by this project will surely trickle down to tomorrow’s games. That’s reason enough for tears of joy.
Press Release
SQUARE ENIX Unveils Real-Time CG Tech Demo Using DirectX 12 at Microsoft Build
World’s Highest Quality Real-Time CG Created with Cutting-Edge Technology

SAN FRANCISCO (April 30, 2015) – Square Enix Co., Ltd. (Square Enix) today announced “WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry],” a real-time tech demo that utilizes DirectX 12, a Windows10 based new generation API, at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference.

As a part of a research project that studies a variety of next generation technologies, Square Enix conducted extensive research on real-time CG technology utilizing DirectX 12 in collaboration with Microsoft and NVIDIA Corporation. Revealed today as a technology demonstration titled, WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry], the results of this research will be incorporated into Square Enix’s LUMINOUS STUDIO engine, and is intended for use in future game development.

WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry], has achieved some of the world’s highest-level quality of real-time CG. It portrays the human emotion of crying-- one of the most difficult representations for existing real-time CG technology. The emotion is displayed in a level of quality which has never been seen before with a real-time CG animated character teemed with life.

WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] was created mainly by the developers of AGNI'S PHILOSOPHY – FINAL FANTASY REALTIME TECH DEMO, a tech demo for LUMINOUS STUDIO revealed in June 2012. Square Enix research enabled the real-time CG to feature even more refined graphics and improved processing capabilities in WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry].

“Our team has always pursued cutting-edge pre-rendered and real-time CG,” commented Hajime Tabata, head of the next-generation technology research project and Division Executive of Business Division II of Square Enix Co., Ltd. “As a part of the technical development, we created this demo using world-class, real-time CG technology with generous support from leading-edge software and hardware providers – Microsoft’s Windows10/DirectX 12 and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX. The efforts from this project will power future game development as well as FINAL FANTASY XV, currently a work in progress.”

“Square Enix is working on this next-generation research project as a showcase for our technology and creativity which will lead the future of Square Enix,” said Yosuke Matsuda, president and representative director of Square Enix Co., Ltd. “The results will be used to further advance the quality and technical expertise of our games. We will continue to pursue this research on cutting-edge technologies including high-end real-time graphics using the innovative DirectX 12.”

Furthermore, this tech demo was made possible by using NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X-4-way SLI PC.

“We've designed DirectX 12 to deliver industry leading performance across the widest range of form factors and graphic cards,” said Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president and chief evangelist at Microsoft. “The work Square Enix is doing plays a valuable role in exhibiting the potential of DirectX 12 to enable even greater innovation and optimized game performance.”

“WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] features the most ambitious real-time, cinematic-quality graphics ever undertaken,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO, NVIDIA. “Square Enix’s achievement is nothing short of breathtaking. I am delighted that their amazing team turned to the NVIDIA GAMEWORKS EFFECTS STUDIO to help bring WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] to life. This is a preview of the beauty and artistry of video games to come.”

Square Enix will continue to drive research and development of new technologies in game development and to provide the world’s highest quality entertainment content to consumers.

The WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] demo video showcased at the Microsoft Build Developer Conference can be viewed here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2015/KEY02

The WITCH CHAPTER 0 [cry] will also be showcased at “de:code 2015,” a developer conference hosted by Microsoft Japan, to take place May 26-27 in Tokyo, Japan.


©2015 SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD. All Rights Reserved.

About DirectX 12
http://dev.windows.com/en-us/games
Windows 10 introduces DirectX 12, the next version of the 3D graphics pipeline that powers Windows. DirectX 12 brings faster and more efficient API performance than ever before. Your game can feature richer scenes, more objects, more impressive effects, and can better utilize modern graphics hardware. DirectX 12 will provide optimized graphics across Windows devices, including phone, PC, and Xbox One.

About Square Enix, Inc.
Square Enix, Inc. develops, publishes, distributes and licenses SQUARE ENIX, EIDOS® and TAITO® branded entertainment content throughout the Americas as part of the Square Enix Group. The Square Enix Group operates a global network of leading development studios and boasts a valuable portfolio of intellectual property, including: FINAL FANTASY, which has sold over 110 million units worldwide; DRAGON QUEST®, which has sold over 64 million units worldwide; TOMB RAIDER®, which has sold over 42 million units worldwide; and the legendary SPACE INVADERS®. Square Enix, Inc. is a U.S.-based, wholly-owned subsidiary of Square Enix Holdings Co., Ltd.

More information on Square Enix, Inc. can be found at http://www.na.square-enix.com/

Contact
U.S. / David Yang, Square Enix, Inc., [email protected]
UK & PAL / Alex Huhtala, Square Enix Ltd., [email protected]
Japan / Corporate Communications, Square Enix Co., Ltd. [email protected]
(This should probably not be in the Final Fantasy section. Agni just makes me think Final Fantasy so I got hasty) :p
 
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Likes: LeonBlade
Jun 7, 2014
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#5
They're talking about graphics and technology and whatnot, but I don't care. I just want a game about Agni. Or a full movie.
Come on Square, this looks too interesting to just let go.
 

LeonBlade

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Oct 25, 2013
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#7
I still don't think she will be involved at all in XVI. None of this is interesting, crying girl with some crystal covering her face? It's not interesting to me. I know a lot of people want her character, personally I'm tired of knowing what to see next from Square with Final Fantasy. I've known about XV's characters and story for 10 years now, I want the next reveal of XVI to be something I wasn't expecting and for it to feel like a lot of time and effort went into making something new, not reusing assets from another project as a mainline title because of skewed development efforts from previous titles and having to play catch up.

I want something new! I want something fresh! I want the same excitement I had when I picked up a new Final Fantasy title years ago when I didn't know what I was getting myself into. These days, the Internet makes it easy for you to learn about these things, but just like with when XIII and Versus were announced, these were fresh ideas.

It's almost 10 years now since we saw new Final Fantasy characters take the stage at E3 and similar events showing what's to come next in Final Fantasy. After XIII it was Lightning twice in a row, and now XV is just Versus (which I'm 100% okay with because I'm excited for the game). That means nothing new has come from FF in years now, once XV releases next year, what comes from XVI?

If XVI is just using assets from a tech demo years prior, it will feel like Square is just cycling what they have in the company and cannot create anything new, nor do they have any good visions for the future of the series. I want something that will completely surprise me, I want what 1Truth has been saying with Ito all this time making XVI honestly.

Please, Square, give us something brand new...
 
Likes: hui43210
Sep 26, 2013
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#9
Even though it's just a tech demo that's probably reusing the same assets from Agni's Philosophy, it wouldn't surprise me if they're at least thinking of something.

Four Titan X graphics cards.... Wonder if Shinra tech comes into play here? Don't think the average consumer will be able to afford that anytime soon.
 
Likes: LeonBlade
Nov 17, 2014
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#10
Is it possible that it's Motomu's next game? A new Agni tech demo will be shown in late May. Then comes E3 at June. I just get the feeling that it'll all lead to a new trailer confirming Agni's Philosophy as a game this coming E3, and be led by Motomu. Though I'm also skeptic about that. Thoughts?
 

Jenova

SeeD A-Class
Oct 28, 2013
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#13
They must be planning something with Agni or else they wouldn't go out of their way to tease her not just once, but twice. I'm fairly sure Square-Enix learned their lesson from the Final Fantasy VII tech demo fiasco.
 

LeonBlade

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Oct 25, 2013
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#15
I dont see any new XV footage in that video.
All of that was new, lol. Besides maybe the pan over Duscae, the food scene was completely new, the car was new, the window rain glass thing was new, the Cindy scene was new, the bit showing Lestallum was new.

They must be planning something with Agni or else they wouldn't go out of their way to tease her not just once, but twice.
No, not really. They're using assets from a tech demo they already have to release another tech demo for something that won't become a reality for a while now. They needed four Titans just to run that demo, so if it was going to be a Final Fantasy title, it certainly won't be looking like that any time soon.
I'm fairly sure Square-Enix learned their lesson from the Final Fantasy VII tech demo fiasco.
Huh? What fiasco? There was no FFVII tech demo fiasco at all. The only fiasco is people looking at a tech demo and getting their hopes up, that's all on the people that watch these things to have realistic expectations for what you're looking at and to watch it through to the end before making judgment calls in the middle of the presentation to get excited. I assume you're talking about the PS3 tech demo. Hell, even the PS4 FFVII demo I wasn't phased at all by, but it just goes to show that people get easily excited and then disappointed and get all upset over nothing.

Yes - there have been several teasers by the dev team too, like "What if we turned Agni into a real Final Fantasy?"
Several? There has only been two, both have been on a high spec PC, this time it was showing off DirectX 12. Do you want to know why they made this demonstration with Agni again? They made this SPECIFICALLY to showcase DirectX 12 of all things, this wasn't made to showcase a game, but in fact was designed SPECIFICALLY for Microsoft and DX12. It's pretty clear that Microsoft paid Square Enix for this tech demo to showcase the power of DX12 to market to people to showcase off their newest iteration of DX tech. With technologies like Mantle existing, MS have used this opportunity to squash Mantle here and now.

This is nothing more than a tech demo, SE probably got a decent chunk of money for this, nothing more.
 

Lulcielid

Warrior of Light
Oct 9, 2014
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#16
All of that was new, lol. Besides maybe the pan over Duscae, the food scene was completely new, the car was new, the window rain glass thing was new, the Cindy scene was new, the bit showing Lestallum was new.
Thanks, my eyes are getting bad, i should stop playing latenight.
By new i was refering to something like "never seen", what you mention is something we have already "seen" but with some tweaks, i don't if i 'm clear with that.
 

Sora96

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Nov 12, 2014
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#17
Is it possible that it's Motomu's next game? A new Agni tech demo will be shown in late May. Then comes E3 at June. I just get the feeling that it'll all lead to a new trailer confirming Agni's Philosophy as a game this coming E3, and be led by Motomu. Though I'm also skeptic about that. Thoughts?
Don't listen to the Toriyama haters.

But in all honesty, as probably the biggest Toriyama fan out there, no I do not think this is his project. I believe this is Ito's. I believe Toriyama's is X-3 or a new IP for PS4.
 

Leopold_Bloom

PSICOM Soldier
Feb 22, 2015
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#20
Agni reminds me of female Hawke from DA2.

OT: I don't think we'll be seeing games look like this for a very long time.
Games (including XV) are only starting to get to the level of the original Agni tech demo, now.