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Digital scenery brings Dragon Quest alive

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Dragon Quest, the popular Japanese role-playing video game, Nippon Television Network Corporation partnered with the Dragon Quest Live Spectacle Tour committee to bring the world of the game to life. The Dragon Quest Live Spectacle Tour visited five cities throughout Japan in 2016, attracting around 300,000 people to forty performances. Kahori Kanaya, an accomplished director for themed entertainment, directed the arena show. Stufish Entertainment Architects designed the sets, with Tadashi Matsumura responsible for lighting design. BARTKRESA studio designed the projections, employing Dataton’s WATCHOUT multi-display system for production and playback of the immersive visuals.

“Nippon TV and Kahori Kanaya emphasized projection mapping in the design concept,” explained Bart Kresa, head of BARTKRESA Studio. “Stufish’s set utilized fifty-two individually controlled roll-drop scrims as projection surfaces. We mapped all of the screens with animated 3D projections, creating content for the entirety of the two hour-long show.”

The projected images transitioned with the moving screens, and incorporated digital effects to enhance the live choreography. The overall effect gave a dynamic digital landscape. Because of the Dataton WATCHOUT system teamed with 32 high-power Christie Digital projectors, BARTKRESA studio was able to track the images with the moving screens. In the same way that players assume a role in the video game, the projections filled the arena to envelope the guests in a live-action Dragon Quest realm.

Over the past thirty years, the aesthetic of the Dragon Quest video-game has kept pace with technology and the producers challenged BARTKRESA studio to create an aesthetic that represented the evolution of the game. The end result blended 2D and 3D animation, and even 8-bit imagery. This media was programmed into a single WATCHOUT show that played out on bespoke media servers. Special effects were programmed in real time to support the on-stage battles, and to allow the actors to interact with the set.

The Dragon Quest Live Spectacle Tour was the first original-content arena tour of its kind in Japan. BARTKRESA studio’s projections not only brought the digital scenery of the video game to life, but also merged light, story, and design to craft an unparalleled live experience. “This unique production has raised the bar for live entertainment in Japan,” concludes Bart Kresa. The projection design for the Dragon Quest Live Spectacle has been nominated for a 2017 LiveDesign Excellence Award and shortlisted for an AV Award.

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