You worked externally on Ninety-Nine Nights
with Phantagram – what was that experience like and would you want to do that kind of work again on other projects with other developers?
I have had a very different experience working with Phantagram compared to my other projects. This way of working appeals to me because you not only learn more about how other people approach the development of games, but you also get immersed into the culture of another country. If I have a chance, I would like to do it again, perhaps with a Western studio… it depends on the game, depends on the idea.
SPOnG: Rez HD
… (Mizuguchi smiles) Sorry, we’ve got to talk about it [laughs]. It’s said to be an exact port of the Dreamcast original in all but graphical and aural flair. Do you think the original is perfect enough as it is then, and doesn’t need a sequel at all?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: Rez HD
is what I consider the pure, complete version of Rez
... 1 (laughs). Nothing’s changed (from the original game) except for the HD graphics in 1080 and the 5.1 Surround sound. There are no jaggies in it! It’s so clear, got such beautiful colours and I can watch it for just as long as I can play it. I can hear any sounds (thanks to the surround sound) too, and I’ve ended up playing it every day and getting a different sound out of it every time.
It says loads about a game when the creator gets so much fun out of it even to this day. Going on to puzzle games, how big was your involvement in the handheld title Gunpey
, and in what ways has Gunpei Yokoi (designer of the Game Boy and producer of several Metroid
games) inspired you?
That game is very primitive… it’s simple in terms of interface but it’s pretty deep. I was involved with creating this game, which was homage to Gunpei Yokoi’s passing in 1997. We wanted to pay attention to how he designed games and really make a title that respected his career and influence. To me he has been a big inspiration, and it’s really quite unfortunate that he passed away.
What spurred you to develop Every Extend Extra Extreme
? Was it a similar thing to Rez HD
, where you wanted to make the perfect version of the game, or is this a full-blown sequel?
No, it’s totally different (to Rez HD
). It’s more like a ‘Fever’ version of the game, so this is a real sequel to Every Extend Extra. We wanted to emphasise the idea that you can sit on the couch and chill out, playing or watching the game and get this… shower of lights, sound and animation.
But we also have some more modes this time, like one we call ‘R4’ which is more like a shooting game with 100 levels in it. Another new mode is called ‘S4’ – whereas the ‘E4’ mode is more like a time attack, ‘S4’ lets you pick your own music and the game finds the BPM (Beats Per Minute) in the song to build a whole new level for you. So in that sense it’s very special and a new feature for the series.
So yeah, it’s really a sequel more than anything else – it’s only 800 Microsoft Points and everything (laughs)!
With Rez HD
and Every Extend Extra Extreme
appearing on the Xbox Live Marketplace, it seems like you’re putting a lot of stock into downloadable content. What are the benefits of this to you? Do you think this is the way forward for game development?
I feel this is the one aspect of the future of gaming. It allows for people to make games at a lower cost than normal, so it doesn’t restrict their imagination. It’s a direct service to the gamer as well, so your game doesn’t become hidden on a shop shelf or dropped from manufacture. You can also connect with the users and allow them to communicate with others and contribute things as well – downloadable content can be something a player makes on a particular game. The size and scope of the online space is expanding all the time, and I think it’s really the future of gaming.