Tetsuya Mizuguchi is widely regarded as an industry legend. Producer on Sega Rally's one and two and Sega Touring Car Championship, he was the creative mind behind Space Channel 5 and a certain game called REZ. More recently he's turned his attention to the PSP and created the acclaimed Lumines, a title that combines puzzle gameplay with music. Lumines has already released in the US and Japan and is now preparing to boggle the minds of Europeans courtesy of Ubisoft which has picked the title up for these shores.
Here's what Mizuguchi-san himself has to say about his game...
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.
What is your expectation for Lumines? Do you think many gamers will be interested in this game? What makes this game special when 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.
Music and sound will be essential parts in the game. Just like in REZ and Space Channel 5. How exactly are these elements adapted to 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".
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.
Are there big differences between the single-player mode and the multiplayer mode?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: There is a difference between those two 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.
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.
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 is a Euro PSP launch title and will be out in September.