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Tetsuya Mizuguchi

Ex-Sega luminary Tetsuya Mizuguchi talks his block-busting sequel to Lumines, Rez 2 and making people miss their tube stops

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Mizuguchi: If the people who played Lumines were very happy, I wanted the new style - not only the game itself to be able to be played very casually; any time, anywhere. When I started Lumines 2 I wanted to go not mass-market, but very happy; like a party atmosphere. But we never lose the kind of edgy approach; we needed the edgy stuff and also very happy things. I really love to make happier stuff; I love Space Channel 5, it's crazy and it's funny.

CVG: So do you prefer the music in Lumines 2 to the first game?

Mizuguchi: Yeah, I think it's always getting better and better. You know, six years ago I started to make music-based games like Rez and Space Channel 5. At the time I visited the various artists and said "I want to make a game with your music," but most of the people didn't understand; they had a kind of "game?!" kind of reaction, but now everybody's changed. I think that's what we needed to kind of push that on in the right way.

CVG: You mentioned your collaboration with Ken Ishii in Rez; what was it like working with him again for Lumines 2?

Mizuguchi: We got original music for Lumines 2 from him. I met him one day in a club when he was DJing and he asked "what are you doing now?" and I said "I'm making a puzzle game," "puzzle game?" "yeah with music - please make new tracks for me?" "Ok! I'll do that!" I think in just 2 weeks I had new music from him; I was like "wow! This is really nice music!" It's very happy, very up-tempo, very pretty; better, nice music. We put the music video on it and we used it in Lumines 2.

CVG: How important is synesthesia - integrating music and visuals - in Lumines? More or less important than in Rez or Every Extend Extra?

Mizuguchi: I think less so than in Rez, because in Rez we wanted to make a big, deep experience; going deeper and deeper. Rez is kind of tequila; a very strong shot, but Lumines is like a Sauvignon Blanc; a wine you can drink at Sunday lunch. This is very casual, easy to play, fun and you can stop at any time - I hope.

CVG: So the 'skins' in the game are a method of giving off a different vibe and feel between tracks. What kind of unique skins are in Lumines 2 and which are you favourites?

Mizuguchi: Some skins are animated, some are smiling faces; I really like those kind of animated skins. We wanted to do much more stuff like that; have them move with the music. I think it's very similar to Space Channel 5; many things moving and maybe singing and dancing with music, changing colours. That kind of synesthesia concept; a happier spiral that gives you a very happy feeling - those kind of skins I really love.

In Lumines 1 I really love Shinin' - that's the reason I asked Mondo Grosso 'please can I use your music in the game?' Shinin' is the best to me. But in Lumines 2... Heavenly Star? (laughs) Personally - officially I love all of the music (laughs).

I spent a long, long time getting all of the music. We needed to create the balance. All of the music is great so we have to care about the colours and the tempo and the feeling.

CVG: How do you feel knowing that you're responsible for making thousands of people miss their tube stops?

Mizuguchi: Yes, I get the same blame in Tokyo as well. Hmmm... (laughs) You should have an alarm or something!

CVG: Rez was influenced by the artist Kandinsky. Did any particular artist influence Lumines?

Mizuguchi: Not especially. Our art director Katsumi Yokota designed most of Lumines' artwork - he's a really good artist. If you have a chance to get an interview with him he will talk a lot. (laughs)

Personally I really like the Kandinsky concept. I mean not like his artwork; I love his concept, kind of his soul. He listened to music and then painted it. When I'm losing my way in production, wondering which way I should go, sometimes I think about if he was still alive now and instead of a white canvas he had a computer, and he could make something interactive what kind of thing would he make?

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