Tetsuya Mizuguchi's trippy 2001 shooter Rez is coming to PlayStation VR as Rez Infinite, Sony announced during its PlayStation Experience keynote moments ago.
Rez's soundtrack is often considered a thing of legend... with one exception: the Area 5 theme "Fear" (or "Mind Killer" as it's commonly referred to) is not the same version of the song that's in the game. Thankfully, Rez superfan and audio aficionado GO-GO-GST has managed to reconstruct composer Adam Freeland's long-lost tune.
HD remasters have continued to fill release schedules over the past couple of years, leaving many console owners feeling a bit of a remaster fatigue. Despite that, we still believe in them. While the likes of Saints Row 4: Re-Elected and Sleeping Dogs: Definitive Edition are obvious cash grabs, we feel that a high-quality remaster can serve not only to preserve classic games but also open them up to a new audience altogether. If there's one publisher that still has a lot of untapped potential in this field it has to be Nintendo. Going all the way back to Super Mario All-Stars on SNES, Nintendo's work on remastering projects has always been first-rate.
And yet, during the packed 2013 Autumn release schedule, exactly one such release slipped entirely under our radar - The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD. It's an interesting conversion of the original GameCube release that goes a bit further than your average remaster project; Nintendo EAD enhanced both the visuals and gameplay to refresh the game for a new audience while preserving what made it great to begin with. It was an exercise no doubt designed to familiarise the team with HD development in its preparation of a brand new Wii U Zelda title, but it highlights the potential in tackling more of its back catalogue. But just how good is Wind Waker HD as an example of what could be done, and what other projects would benefit from similar treatment?
Wind Waker HD isn't the first time Nintendo has returned to a classic Zelda game on a new platform; Ocarina of Time 3D was released more than two years prior with entirely revamped visuals in tow. However, with Wind Waker HD, EAD chose to stick with the original 3D meshes, instead using other means to improve the visuals. It starts with a crisp 1920x1080 output, something of a rarity on Wii U, combined with a post-process edge filter that does a reasonable job of keeping aliasing at bay.
In the sweat mist of a late 90s techno hall, Tetsuya Mizuguchi got his first glimpse of what would become his life's work. The young Japanese designer, still fresh from the success of creating one of Sega's biggest arcade hits, found himself on a balcony at Zurich's Street Parade - an offshoot of Berlin's celebrated Love Parade - watching out over a crowd lost to the rhythm. "This DJ is playing, and 100,000 people are moving with the music. The sound changed, and the movement changed. I watched from the top, and was like 'wow, what is this?'" What if you could play this, Mizuguchi thought to himself. What if he could turn this into a game?
Rez and Child of Eden creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi is now a professor at a Japanese university.
The developer behind Rez HD is helping Capcom make Okami HD.
"The concept is hope and happiness. That's what we pitched first," says Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi, sitting down after a Child of Eden demo to talk with us about his work in games so far. "It's like a spiritual sequel to Rez, definitely, but I wanted to have much more organic feel, not only digital, techno. I made it like a drama, a story, an emotional setting – it has songs, lyrics, words.
Q Entertainment is having a good hard think about whether to bring Rez HD to PlayStation Network.
Ubisoft announced a collaboration with Rez and Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi during its E3 publisher press conference last night.
Tucked away in one of central Tokyo's sprawling, bustling regions, Q Entertainment's office building is small and incongruous - but impossible to miss, thanks to the striking logo on the side. "Q?" it asks. "Hopefully," responds the somewhat lost foreign journalist.
Xbox Live Arcade will be athumping and achin-stroking this Wednesday as Xbox Live fans tuck into Rez HD and Chessmaster Live from 9am GMT. That's 30th January, in case you're dozing.
Snap the Rez design apart, lay the pieces out on the table and you've little more than a wireframe Panzer Dragoon. Sure, it's been named by Underworld, custom soundtracked by Adam Freeland, graphic designed in a lab by Tron nanobots and rolled out into the look-games-can-be-intellectual battleground plastered with Wassily Kandinsky posters. But behind the frippery sits Space Harrier chewing acid at a science-fiction fancy dress party. There's no way to escape the fact that your character moves along a fixed path at a fixed speed, clicking on pop-up targets for points. At its heart, Rez is a good old-fashioned shooting gallery arcade game, albeit one stationed at a Butlins in Alpha Centuri.
But, even if you do ignore all the peripheral highbrow talk of Russian abstract painters and neurological foibles or the lowbrow hand-muffled giggling about a third-party sex toy peripheral and its rhythmic pulsing, the strong, assured core of this extraordinary game is somehow more than its constituent parts. Yes, you sit on an esoteric rollercoaster picking off line-art cubes as they streak by, but perform that kind of critical reduction and you'll not only miss Rez's destination but you'll also ruin the journey. And in Rez, the journey is everything. And in Rez HD, the journey is filmed by a Heliglimbal gyro-stabilised camera borrowed from the BBC's Planet Earth production team.
The orangey lines that delineate something from nothing, never too jagged or pixelly in the original, could now slice a cheese moon. Spread out across a widescreen canvas, the streaky pixel bomb explosions, circuit board backgrounds and ancient wireframe temples you fly through are finally brought into true focus, as if before we looked through a Dreamcast darkly but now we see in full (HD). The original version is included in the package but you can't escape the feeling that it's there less for completism's sake than for rude showboating on Q Entertainment's part.
Q Entertainment has told Eurogamer Rez HD could appear on Xbox Live Arcade within days.
Rez doesn't sound like much on paper (or Internet). You travel along a predetermined path using a lock-on mechanism to fire upon up to eight enemies at once. Blue power-ups gradually increase your health, allowing you to "evolve" into different forms, with successful enemy attacks reducing your growth by one stage of evolution, while red power-ups add to your stock of "Overdrives", which blitz whatever's in front of you when activated. There's a boss at the end of each of the game's five biggish levels, followed by a boss-rush finale that concludes with a bigger set-piece battle against an AI called Eden, which - if you're bothered about the fiction - it's your job to reboot.
Microsoft has popped up in our inboxes with trumpets and balloons announcing the impending launch of Boogie Bunnies on Xbox Live Arcade.
Q Entertainment has excitingly told us that Rez HD will be out in "only a few weeks".
The upcoming Xbox Live Arcade version of Rez - called Rez HD - will not be compatible with the legendary USB trance vibrator peripheral, but don't be too downhearted (or in this case flaccid).
Microsoft has announced Ninja Gaiden 2 will be released exclusively for Xbox 360 next year during a press conference in Tokyo earlier today.
Q Entertainment will be bringing Rez to Xbox Live Arcade in Q1 2008, the developer announced earlier today.