Here Is A Ridiculously Well Animated Video Game Jazz Band

When video games depict a musical performance, they usually half-arse the animations. The drummer waggles his sticks around, the guitarist scrubs at the strings, the sax player sways like a drinking bird. Not Yakuza 0, man. This game takes musicians seriously.

In the video above, you can watch a brief, extremely well animated sequence where a jazz big band performs at protagonist Goro Majima's club in Osaka. It sounds awful -- nothing but fake MIDI horns and dated synth instruments. But watch the animations. Everything is spot-on, from the bassist walking his fingers along the strings to the brass section's unified breathing to the pianist's hand movements.

I actually don't think I've ever seen a video game depict a jazz performance with this level of visual fidelity. The game's animators must have watched a video of a live band playing, then painstakingly matched the music with the animations. It reminds me of the performance scenes in the fantastic jazz anime Kids on the Slope, which took a similar approach by basing animations on live, recorded performances. Just one more unexpected delight from a game full of them.


Comments

    That's one weird bassline if the double bass fingering is correct.

    Even the lead saxophonist tapping his foot to the beat.

    The only problem I saw was how all the front row have exactly the same legs and positioning.

      Yeah I noticed their odd seating arrangement too

        I actually thought they were floating for a moment.
        Also foot tapping is bad and will get you into trouble. (In a brass band anyway)

          I'm in a pipeband... it's acceptable from the leader (or people who can actually keep the beat).
          I didn't know that about brass bands.

            It's fine in practise, but not allowed in performances. Especially championships as they can hear it.

    Yeah the animation's great and all but why go to all of that effort just to have cheap midi-sounding instruments?

    It's impressive but, if I'm being super critical, the drums and double bass look a bit floaty.

    While not a full jazz band, Ellie playing guitar in The Last of Us Part 2 trailer is still the most impressive musical performance animation I've seen. The subtleties really made it - the vibration of he individual strings, the pressure applied by the fingers and the resistance of the strings.. it was uncanny.

    Last edited 04/02/17 1:17 am

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