GO3: Q&A: Lumines creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi

Lumines, Rez developer on creating music games and the future of the industry.


Q Entertainment chief creative officer Tetsuya Mizuguchi may be better known for being the brain behind music games such as Rez and Lumines, but the famed Japanese developer has a long history stretching back to his very first creation, Sega Rally Championship in 1994. GameSpot AU caught up with Mizuguchi at the GO3 Conference held in Perth, Australia, over the weekend to gauge his thoughts on game creation and what he thinks the future will hold for the industry.

GameSpot AU: Why is music such a big part of your games?

Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Music is a common chord with human beings. Everyone loves music, everyone can get into a groove, everybody wants to dance and sing. It's nonverbal entertainment that connects us to each other.

GS AU: Games like Lumines and Rez contain some unique yet simple gameplay concepts. How hard is it to come up with those?

TM: It's like attacking the top of a very high mountain, it's always in the mist. It's really difficult to tell--it takes a long time to communicate with others even in your development team. That was always the process--make and destroy, find out where is the fun, why is it not fun. So we have to think about it very deeply. The keys are human wants and basic instinct. If you want to make a good game, you have to have many experiences. For example, if you watch a movie and it makes you feel good, you have to think about why it does so.

GS AU: Do you think there is enough creativity in the games industry now?

TM: I think games are going to a higher level because the canvas is getting wider and wider, and it's becoming high-def. But you need more skills and deep thinking, and very good production design. And you have to use big money compared to older eras.

GS AU: What's your opinion of the next generation of games consoles? Do things like the Wii controllers or Sixaxis in PS3 give you any new ideas about games?

TM: I started my career in arcade games, so I love to think about peripherals. So I'm very happy to use new technology in a game. But I have to think about balance. Usually I get inspiration from new technology--like the PSP, I thought it was a visual walkman that would allow me to do a music-based game. Maybe I will get new ideas when I touch the Wii controller--totally new ideas, not like Rez, not like Space Channel 5.

GS AU: Looking toward the future, what do you think the big advancements will be in video games?

TM: I don't think we can divide games from other entertainment--all entertainment should be interactive. Thirty years ago games were just black and white dots. Thirty years later, and you can't recognise who's real and who's not real. In the future there will be no barriers; there will be a melting or fusion of experiences.

GS AU: What major projects are you working on?

TM: I still have a big passion and eagerness to create new types of music-based games. I will continue to create that kind of thing. I can't tell you the details yet, because we are just in preproduction. We will make announcements soon--maybe this summer.

GS AU: Have you ever thought about making arcade games again?

TM: No, I don't need that, because the platforms now are like a stage for us to act and to play. We're like actors with many stages--10 years ago we had just two or three stages--Nintendo, Sony, and Sega. But now we have many stages--like the PC, consoles, mobile phones, PSP, or DS. It's a happy thing for us.

GS AU: Apart from your own games, what others have you been playing lately?

TM: I can't pick a game because I don't play other people's games usually. I'm professional--I need to play our games to say this is good, this is bad. Usually they're not fun yet at that stage, but I have to find the fun. There's no time to play other people's games. The other thing is I'm always trying to find inspiration for the next game or project, and usually I don't get inspiration from other people's games. I usually get inspiration from travelling, talking to people, and watching other forms of entertainment.

GS AU: Tetsuya Mizuguchi, thanks for your time.

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