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When people speak of the leading creative lights in the game industry, Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi's name inevitably comes up. Soft-spoken and contemplative, the game designer - particularly known for working on titles such as Space Channel 5 and Sega Rally while at Sega, and Lumines and Meteos at his own company Q Entertainment - is recently most famous for melding music into interactive experiences.
Following the re-release of underappreciated six-year-old classic Rez onto the Xbox Live Marketplace, he may be free to move forward into new concepts once again. In this in-depth Gamasutra interview, the designer firstly discusses the creation of Rez HD for XBLA, before discussing the future of games - from his unique perspective - in fascinating detail.
Brandon Sheffield: I know it was previously stated that, for Rez HD, nothing was really being changed, aside from the 5.1 Surround and the HD stuff. But it has much more Trance Vibration now -- because only one was supported previously. How did you go about redesigning that, and what corresponds to what, in music? How do you make that happen, how the Trance Vibration works in three controllers. What corresponds to what action?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: I think it was somebody's idea. Who, I don't know. We had a discussion, just brainstorming with the present team. So we had some opinions and ideas from one of us, "If we used the controller as the Trance Vibrator, it would be good." "Oh, that's a good idea!" Because every controller has the vibration.
The original Rez needed a [separate peripheral] Trance Vibrator, but it was so serious to me. I wanted to make kind of a sensory experience, with not only visuals and sounds. The vibration and the stimulation is very important. If you go to a club, you see the light, and you feel the music pound. Not only hands... if we could make the vibration independently. You must feel the dimension, the panorama feeling of this idea.
BS: So how do you figure out what
on the controller is corresponding to what in the game?
TM: You have a controller in hands, and others. I think controller held in the hands, you can feel a pulse on top of the beat, like a bass drum. The other controllers react with like a hi-hat, or with the other sounds. That kind of feeling... it's driving the feeling all the time. I think they will be like that all the time.
We feel the same stimulation from the hands, like the pressure of air, or the pressure of sounds. I think the goal of the Rez experience is that everything is moving and activating with music, like a MIDI controller. It's like a synthesizer. Not only sounds, but in the visuals it crafts, and vibration.
BS: Is there an ideal situation
for each controller, like in the 1, 2, or 3 slot? Is it best to have
one on your back and one on your foot and one somewhere else? Is there
a perfect situation to feel a full-body experience?
TM: I'd like to step on one -- I think the distance from my hands is the farthest place. I feel some space.
I think if one is under my foot, and the other one is on my back, and maybe if I have one more, it can go like... I don't know. I know some people did like that. (laughs) I don't know whether this is good or bad, but I think the back is really effective.
BS: There don't seem to be a lot
of changes, really, from the earlier version of this game.
We wanted to make a complete Rez.
I tried not to change anything -- just only high-resolution textures
and engineering sounds. So no, in the near future.
BS: It was also part of the license deal with Sega, right?
TM: Yeah, we got a license from Sega. Because this is a six-year-old game, it's taken time. But I think the experience is still fresh, and if we get a resurrection on the new console, it's very effective for Rez. I've been pleased to make Rez on XBLA.