Tetsuya Mizuguchi has become one of THE names to look for in Japanese game development; so much so that Microsoft has even made a big song and dance about the fact that he's developing a game for Xbox 360. In this brief interview supplied by Ubisoft, Mizuguchi discusses his PlayStation Portable puzzle title Lumines, which will be released on September 1st in Europe alongside the PSP itself.
Ubisoft's introduction: "Following his graduation from the Nihon University School of Art, Mizuguchi joined SEGA in 1990, producing SEGA Rally 1 and 2, and SEGA Touring Car Championship. In 1999, he created Space Channel 5, featuring the character Ulala who subsequently achieved worldwide success through MTV and Vodafone marketing campaigns."
"2001 saw the release of the highly acclaimed and revolutionary REZ, the very first "musical shooting game", and winner of the Special Prize at the Media Art Festival organised by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 2002.
"Having established himself as one of the world's premier cult games developers, he founded his own studio in 2003. His objective: to renew the puzzle genre, and to this end launches his new title: LUMINES."
Ubisoft: Where did the idea for Lumines come from?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: The inspiration I had when I came up with the REZ idea has stayed in my head, and Lumines is the result of a chemical reaction between the initial inspiration and PSP's new style.
I wanted to create a puzzle game that unites gameplay and music that could satisfy psychological feelings through rich graphics and sound. I was able to realize this using the PSP's widescreen, high quality sound, and beautiful graphics capabilities.
Ubisoft: What is your expectation for Lumines? Do you think many gamers will be interested for this game? Why, what makes this game more special compared to other puzzle games?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Lumines has been already released in Japan and US and we've received a great response and praise for the game especially in the US. Therefore, I hope many people will enjoy Lumines in Europe as well. The first thing coming to my mind when we started designing Lumines was to make a very original game that would make the best use of the PSP's features. This brand-new experience is realized by combining a simple but very high quality puzzle game with music and beautiful graphics. I believe that users are excited about such new elements Lumines can provide.
Ubisoft: Music and sound will be essential parts in the game. Just like in REZ and Space Channel 5, so we read. How exactly will these elements be adapted to the gameplay?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Lumines dev team members are the same members whom I worked with on REZ. We have together thought out potentials of combination of music, graphics and game play. That's why Lumines has "call & response" that lets users feel music with not only ears but eyes and a body. Thus, we could make a game that satisfies physiological feelings such as "feel good" and "fun".
Ubisoft: Mondo Grosso is one of your favourite electronic Japanese bands. What was it like working with this band? Was it a collaborative effort or was the music written separately from the game?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: It was a very fun experience because I'm also a big fan of his music. Originally we just asked him to allow us to use my favourite song of his, "Shinin'". But in the end, he let us use 4 of his songs.
Ubisoft: Are there big differences between the single player mode and the multiplayer mode? (Except for the possibility to play with more people of course)
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: There is a difference between those 2 modes. In the 2P Mode, the field where you can put your blocks extends or narrows depending on the battle result. Players compete for a number of blocks they delete. If you delete more blocks than your opponent player, your field extends and your opponent's field narrows.
Ubisoft: Why did you choose to develop the game for the PSP?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: When I saw PSP for the first time, I got an impression of PSP as "interactive visual walkman". Lumines couldn't have been realized without PSP's sound quality, graphic capabilities, and widescreen. Lumines has all the good things only PSP can realize.
Ubisoft: You've worked on a lot of games that revolve around music ? where do you see the rhythm action genre heading next?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: There are many more game genres/ideas that haven't been discovered yet. I think the connection between music and game will become way stronger and smoother. Not only music, but also any game elements such as dramatic and movie-style directions will change and unite. I also think there will be many more of games that can't be categorized in any genre. I believe games will eventually become only 2 types : interactive entertainment or non-interactive entertainment.
Lumines will be released on PSP this September 1st in Europe.