Q&A: Every Extend Extra's Tetsuya Mizuguchi

We take time out with Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi to talk about his latest game, rave culture, and Rez 2.

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Tetsuya Mizuguchi is a man who loves his music. Whether it's Space Channel 5 or Rez while working at Sega, or Lumines and Meteos at his own company, Q Entertainment, his work has consistently featured banging beats and trippy visuals. Mizuguchi's latest game is called Every Extend Extra, and while it falls into this category, it's still a difficult game to describe. Close to Rez in terms of look and feel, Every Extend Extra focuses on creating chain reactions through explosions, with the number of enemies and the pace of the beat increasing as you progress. Every Extend Extra is already available in the US and Japan (check out our full review here), and with the game being released in Europe this February, we caught up with Mizuguchi-san in London to find out more.

GameSpot UK: Why did you decide to take Every Extend Extra from a free PC game to a full PlayStation Portable release?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: One day, one of the younger members of Q Entertainment found Every Extend on the PC, and everyone started to play it. It was so addictive! So one of the staff came to me and said he wanted to convert it to the PSP and remake it with a Q flavour. I thought it was a good idea.

GSUK: Was that because it fit in well with games you've made in the past?

TM: Well, we call music interactive; it's a big theme for us to combine the music and the game experience. We wanted to make a music-based game on PSP because it's a really nice platform, an interactive Walkman. So yes, it's along the same lines.

GSUK: How would you explain Every Extend Extra's gameplay?

TM: It's a very simple game. You can move around the screen and explode yourself while enemies come at you. If there are many enemies, the explosion will cause a chain reaction--boom, boom, boom! These sounds and visual effects work with the music, and items called "quicken" allow you to speed up. Run out of time or your stock [of detonators], and it's game over. I think it's simple but really addictive. We wanted to focus on painting the musical elements onto the original game design.

GSUK: If it was another designer that came to you with the original game, what was your involvement in the project?

TM: I [would] just take the back seat! I think that this is a new challenge for us at Q Entertainment, encouraging new talent, and I feel like it's my job to cheer them on. I have to cultivate the future possibilities, and we need new heroes in this industry.

GSUK: Your games have a very distinctive visual style--is this something you enforce, or do the other designers share your tastes?

TM: I think Every Extend Extra is getting close to Rez, and it's something that I'm quite anxious about. Rez is Rez, and Every Extend Extra is Every Extend Extra, and I think they should each have their own individual style. So, I don't say to my designers, "You should do this, you should do that." I just watched them and kept silent, even though I usually have something [to say]. I will usually tell them important things--that is my role. But the graphical and musical tastes should be down to Every Extend Extra's designers.

GSUK: You've been heavily involved in music, most recently directing a music video for Lumines II. Is this something you want to pursue?

TM: Yeah, that was really fun! I've taken a lot of influence from music videos in the past. When I was in high school I first saw MTV, and I was so surprised--this new expression and art form. There were many great videos that came out like Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer" and a-ha's "Take On Me," and that was a new style. So when I had a chance to do Lumines II, I needed many [different] types of music videos and I was looking for a music video with people cheering. I couldn't find one, so I thought we should make one ourselves. It looks like it's been hand-drawn, like the a-ha video, and I wanted to pick on that, like a synaesthesia concept. I like the mix of colours and sounds--the synaesthesia keeps coming back in my creations--and it was a great experience.

GSUK: You've talked about synaesthesia and the work of artists such as Kandinsky as influences for Rez, but what other sources do you draw from?

TM: I had many inspirations for Rez, particularly from rave culture. When I first saw a rave party in about 1993 there were many people dancing, and it was like they were jumping in time to the music. I had a big, big flash, and suddenly I just remembered about the concept of synaesthesia. I studied Kandinsky at university, so this concept came into my brain and it took three or four years to think about making a game around this concept, and it was a long journey. One day, I saw a video from one of my friends in Africa. They'd shot a video of a restaurant with people eating, and suddenly one guy just picked up a bottle and began hitting it [percussively]. Suddenly, this other guy just began clapping his hands and many people began moving and swaying. Then one guy began singing and soon everyone had joined in, and the entire group had found a groove! This video lasted for 15 minutes--a 100 percent invisible groove--and it made me think--how can we create a groove interactively? This is the basic core of the game design, the basic response. It's very abstract but I needed almost five years to complete this kind of concept. At the first stage nobody understood what I was talking about, but it was so fun!

GSUK: This abstract style has meant that your games sometimes appeal to a very limited audience. How do you feel about being seen as an auteur or an indie darling?

TM: I don't care about that! To tell you the truth, after Rez I felt disappointment. I'd put so much energy into it and it was not such a big success commercially. But after five or six years, people are still talking about it and it's a really happy thing. That kind of reaction always gives me passion and energy. The game is not art, it's entertainment, but we need a very artistic approach, and I think we're getting better each time.

GSUK: What are you working on at the moment--a successor to Rez by any chance?

TM: I can't talk about details, but I'm ready to go with my next game, which will be bigger than Lumines or Every Extend Extra. I want to use my passion and energy again using the next-gen technology. I have many reasons to make a new experience, and it must be a new sensory experience using high-def technology. I can make some announcements soon.

GSUK: How interested are you in working on the Wii?

TM: The Wii is really unique, really fun to play, but the graphics and sound technology is not gorgeous like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. I think it's very fun, and they have style, but I think it depends on the idea for the game. If I have an idea that I need to use the [Wii Remote] for, then I will do that. But no particular ideas or projects yet!

GSUK: Mizuguchi-san, thanks for your time.

Discussion

26 comments
Reetesh
Reetesh

I have a Signed Copy of Lumines 8) yay! His games are really great :D

nevereathim
nevereathim

Wii, YES, no xbox 360, ha, xbox 360 isn't that great

GonzoGuy
GonzoGuy

Rez is definitely one of the all time best video games ever! I remember hearing a rumor that it would be ported or sequeled to the Wii. I guess that was really just a rumor. Too bad, that would be the perfect game for the wii and you'd only need the wiimote too. Imagine what they could do with the additional speaker.

R-Force
R-Force

Rez was great man. and now finally a Rez 2! Great, rock Mr. Mizuguchi

kenerhai
kenerhai

ooooooooooooh yea, gimme rez 2, that would sooooo friggin rock. that game was so awesome, i remember sitting up for hours after hours playing the original long into the night, then playing hooky in high school, so i could sit at home and rock that game even more! I lost so much sleep (and quite a few brain cells, but thats not appropriate talk for here!) playing Rez! oh my god a sequel is so overdue, i dont care what console its on, as long as it not JUST ps3. make rez xbla game, a psp or ds, wii, 360, i dont care, just make it!! no more N3, no more space channel5 - I WANT REZ 2 BABY!!

eggsiboss
eggsiboss

wicked article, i have a lot of respect for this dude, and yes wii rez would rule, hope he sorts it out:)

trifecta_basic
trifecta_basic

hey generic dude gamespot uk didn't review every extend extra. Also I hope they do a Rez remake on the Wii...remix the tracks and add some wii-specific levels. Especially since they are porting Lumines to PS2, which makes less sense than Rez on the Wii.

waffleicious
waffleicious

I don't know if you guys have heard this, but there has been information circling around for a while that there will indeed be a "Rez 2" or at least that Tetsuya Mizuguchi has plans for one. This info was released in "Game Informer" magazine (I think that was the name xD) and was released in Spring.... maybe Spring, I can't remember :-p Still, though, great interview! Learned some interesting stuff :-)

Vash67
Vash67

I love his answer to the Wii. For once, a level headed person who isn't going to put things on the console just because he can.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

cool interview even though the game kinda sems strange

TryMe01
TryMe01

its all about the music for them... also, great Q&A , lol :P

skyvader
skyvader

EEE and REZ don't need high demand gfx. He needs to show the wii some love. Those games (especially rez) would do very well using the wii-mote.

synapticflow
synapticflow

I hope he makes Rez 2. Rez was a classic. Many people won't agree, but fans of the game know that it was awesome. It really is an "experience" more than a game.

Megavideogamer
Megavideogamer

I at least played the Every Extend Extra Demo, Included with Lumines 2. I could not make heads or tails of this game. A different game, very strange, A game where I couldn't figure what hell this game was. Every Extend Extra, yeah I guess so.

aznbenjiman
aznbenjiman

very color fulll... hope he doesnt get too artistic and start getting people Seizers....

interpolred
interpolred

I like how he looks at everything artistically. Really interesting.

The_Weekend
The_Weekend

not a bad dude ... he sees things very differently ...

billysea
billysea

I really want something unique and fresh puzzler for the Wii. Something of a cult classic like Lumines or Meteos for PSP and DS. When will we see something like that?

Generic_Dude
Generic_Dude

Funny how GSUK is all kissing his backside over this game that they rated a 6.7 -- grow a spine and tell this guy you thought EEE was lousy! Not to mention the fact that they recognize that it WAS a free PC release and now he wants people to pay for it... something that infuriated GS about, say, Elf Bowling for the DS. Seriously, GSUK, grow some and tell this guy what you REALLY want to say. There goes your credibility. Nonetheless, I'm a big fan of his work... Meteos was pretty good, and Lumines is, simply said, the Tetris Killer. Although the new song for Lumines Live sounds like something that would have been cookie cutter in 1990 and the Puzzle Mode is just rediculous. Still, more "meh" Lumines is better than less Lumines.

Doolum
Doolum

cool.cool.looc.looc.cool.cool

dn3datomiced
dn3datomiced

I, too, am a big fan. I also LOVED the special skin they released (Heavenly Star) for Lumines Live! The video was amazing, and I loved the song too. That's a really big statement, because most every time I hear a song done in that style, it's too syrupy-sweet, and ends up sounding like some Disney Channel pop song. Even if this never gets to Mizuguchi-san, thank you!!!

Ponsardin
Ponsardin

I'm a big fan of his works. Keep up the good work!

blackdamage
blackdamage

When it comes to Rez, it's the only game for which I'd prefer next-gen graphics over Wiimote controls.