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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Avatar image for _Sam_

I've never played a music game. maybe I should

Avatar image for KabutoHunter

The more I think about it, the more I believe that we're better off without another Rez. What makes it great to begin with?? The fact that it is so original and there is nothing else like it. If there were another, I think it would somehow cheapen either the original or the sequel. Perhaps something similar would be good, but no, not a straight sequel. I'll keep my fond memories of the original, thanks. I'd prefer him to continue taking a similar course to people like Team ICO. Shadow of the Colossus is definitely similar and recognizable as their work, but also completely different. Sequels are what we need less of in the industry. So, Mizuguchi-san, bring us more like Every Extend Extra, Gunpey, Meteos, etc. Continue your creativity! Don't get bogged down on a single series. Gunpey is his best for PSP, btw. Possibly his best ever from a musical standpoint. He's at the top of his game right now. Don't ask him to go backwards.

Avatar image for theKSMM

He sounds rather Bohemian.

Avatar image for gametester1424

I hope that if he decides to do another Rez that they release it with the vibrator attachment that came with the Japanese Dreamcast version. Crazy times!

Avatar image for johndoh4

That was an interesting interview. I can tell he wants his games to be completely different from other developers, which is good. Hopefully they come out with a new game similar to Rez in the future.

Avatar image for Somini

Rez 2 for my Wii, please!!!

Avatar image for KEITH1437

Lumines 3!

Avatar image for GonzoGuy

We need a game like Rez on the Wii. Something that will once again make me think: "This is what I expected games of the future to be like when I was a kid. It doesn't have to be a Rez 2.0 but that would be nice. Yea Rez wasn't terrably complicated but it was refreshing in its simplicity and trippy in every aspect of its presentation, which, for some of us, is enough. Some of my favorite games are the simple/trippy ones you can properly enjoy after passing the blunt around the circle: Rez, Katamari, Warioware, and the like.

Avatar image for soundofspeet

@VixDiesel Well, Rez was an experience, to be sure, but it wasn't exactly a great game. I love music-oriented games, like Lumines! Live for example, but I had exhausted my interest in Rez on a rental. Still, it's an experience that should be had, hands down.

Avatar image for zsc4

Interesting, he seems like a good person.

Avatar image for vix

More games like Rez is definitely what we need.

Avatar image for kinglink

Tetsuya Mizuguchi needs to really stop allowing his creations to get ported, EEE (which wasn't that good) and lumines were both great on the original system less great on the systems it was ported to.) Oh and then giving the meteos game to disney... meh. gunpey was a disgrace as well, time to pick up the quality rather then quanity.

Avatar image for KrowlinMAN

All i can say is PLEASE bring us REZ 2.0!!

Avatar image for blacktorn

Tetsuya Mizuguchi please make a sequal to space channel 5 part 2!!!

Avatar image for TTDog

We need more games like Rez.., that was a clasic.

Avatar image for yaminoshadow

well, he doesnt seem much of gamer but at least he enjoys makin games for us. good games at that. keep em coming sir

Avatar image for menmau

Tetsuya Mizuguchi is a great person!!!