Friend of CVG and all-round gaming god Tetsuya Mizuguchi recently popped in to town for a chat and a swift coffee for the launch of his latest mind-bending PSP blaster, Every Extend Extra.
Risking jetlag and a throttling from his publisher Miziguchi shared with us the latest on his top-secret project, the ever-changing Japanese games industry and what he thinks of Sony's next platform.
So how did you come across the PC version of Every Extend and why did you decide to create the PSP remake?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: A new team of young people worked on Every Extend Extra. One day they showed me the freeware PC version of Every Extend and every young person at Q Entertainment was playing it.
The director Reo Yonaga suggested to me that we remake Every Extend for the PSP using some Q Entertainment tastes, like quantizing sounds and visual effects. That's the story.
I think the original Every Extend was a fun game; we believed if we added the new elements it would be even better.
Each level in the game has a very distinct art style. What were some of the inspirations for the art in EEE?
Miz: The artists are very young, I think they had some influence from Rez and Lumines. I didn't tell them they should study the Synesthesia concept, but at the same time if they wanted to that was OK.
I wanted more of the opposite, to see what the generation that grew up with stuff like Rez and Lumines were going to produce -leave it as much as possible to them and see what they were going to create. So I was taking very much a back seat in most of those things.
You've been making music-based games for a while now. How do you intend to shake-up the genre going forward?
Miz: The games I made at Sega and up to now are all in the same line, if you understand, so it's all an on-going evolution from Space Channel 5, Rez, Lumines to Every Extend Extra and Gunpey. It's all in the same line for me.
I think at Q Entertainment we will always continue to make something new with the latest technology - we're really aggressive in creating the next music-based game or experience.
I don't know exactly what that is, but I'm really aggressive to make it. We will announce what the next game is very, very soon - it's not too far in the future.
What is your process for choosing which licensed tracks go in your games?
Miz: Basically it depends on the game. We have to think about what kind of experience we want, so with Rez I focused on a trancey experience - using lots of sounds and effects to make you feel trancey.
I think about what kind of effect I want to give the player first, then I decide the kind of sound of music I want and go out and get it. The priority is not to get a name or famous artist.
You moved into new offices last year. How quickly is Q Entertainment growing?
Miz: At the moment there are quite a lot of new people coming into the company, not in the Music Interactive side but more to help develop online and mobile games because they're quite big in Japan.
It's becoming more like we're not limited to one type of console or experience - we're not taking one form of shape. The expansion is making Q Entertainment a lot healthier.
What kind of freedom has the success of Lumines and your other titles given you as a creator?
Miz: When I was at Sega it was my only client, so if I presented and idea to the executive board members and they said no, that was it. But I can't keep my ego and my passions locked up; I want to design in a certain way.