Visual effects in Astral Chain such as the IRIS and enemies exploding into data cubes are effects added later in development by a special VFX team dedicated to ‘interactive exhilaration.’
VFX Artist Takuo Yamamoto shared a dev blog that explained what the company tried to communicate with the visual effects in Astral Chain.
“Visual effects are finalized and implemented in the game fairly late in development, but they have a surprisingly large impact on the overall quality of Platinum’s games, in terms of both how they look and how they feel.”
The teams at Platinum Games worked hard to make the visual effects in their games to feel more impactful and easy to read, allowing players to be fully aware of what is going on around them.
The idea is that everything comes together to be easy on the system but create an impact on the player’s feelings as they play. Yamamoto went on to give examples, like the Chimera’s death animation, Dimensional Cracks, and the IRIS overlay. Each effect does not get officially implemented till near the end of the game, giving them time to change, shaping the game and vice versa.
Every effect was used to portray a feeling or make an impact such as the Chimera Death effect is so players know they can move on instantly. The Dimensional Cracks being a visual overlayed on the geometry of the world showing the power of the enemies and their origin. The IRIS being complex and high tech looking to give games the tools needed to feel like investigators.