GS: When you bring a game out in America, how do you consider what to do in this market? Do you have to cater to American tastes, or try to show Americans something different?
TM: I want to make something universal. I want to break the barrier between countries and markets. I’m looking for things that are very simple, and hit a common chord always. Both in the game design area and marketing area. It’s very difficult. The game design area is a very tough process, but it’s really simple also. Take a human being, and consider what kind of fun a human being wants. Just watching basic human instincts and wants, and getting deeper and deeper. That’s better.
Like with Rez, the music playing, and the rhythm, and the user memory, that kind of basic instinct is the same. So I tried to find what is the same DNA or common chord in people.
GS: It seems like the more complicated a game you make the more difficult it is to appeal to everyone. With a simple game you can appeal to a base instinct, but with a more complicated game with maybe a deep story, everyone has their own cultural experience and folklore they grew up with. So how do you approach something like that?
TM: So, many checkpoints. If I try to make something, like a game for the U.S. people, I think that’s too much. It would fail, because I think if a United States studio tries to make a game in Japanese style, I think it’s kind of fake. So we’re always trying to make something global. Naturally I don’t forget about our DNA, but never push this kind of concept or style on anyone. We’re always trying to think about something between markets, or between countries. Not here (touches chest), but here (touches table between us). Not on the U.S., not on the Japanese market, but a universal concept.
So like Ninety Nine Nights, we picked up on the fantasy aspect, and massive action. So the fantasy element, everybody has that kind of story or background. Each race, each country. But also the concept of vice versa. You can play the justice of both sides (see Gamasutra’s E3 interview about Ninety Nine Nights for more on this). Everyone can understand that, and everyone can imagine that. Every country has an experience of war, and fighting. So carefully we always pick up those kinds of elements.
GS: One reason I ask is that this Lumines 2 release just went out this morning, and already on message boards people are upset about some of the music choices. Like people have mentioned not wanting to see the girl from the Black Eyed Peas dancing while they play.
KY: They’re upset? Like because of the Black Eyed Peas?
GS: More because it’s such mainstream American music. What do you think about a reaction like that?
TM: I think that’s ok. I’ve got confidence that everyone who plays it, not just if they watch, but if they actually play Lumines 2, they’ll think oh – what is the concept here?