IRC Q&A with Tetsuya Mizuguchi

By Dave Wickham

During the afternoon of September 7th, Ubisoft hosted a session on their IRC server allowing the public to ask questions to the creator of Lumines, Tetsuya Mizuguchi. The developer, also the creator of Space Channel 5, Rez, and the recent Nintendo DS release Meteos, was on hand to answer questions about the game, as well as dropping a few hints about a sequel. Here's the full transcript of the Q&A session we watched.

Speaker Text
MizuguchiHi everyone
Mizuguchithanks for having me tonight
RyosanLet's begin, then. The session will be moderated: only Mizuguchi-san and I may post.
RyosanThis is how we'll proceed: you may send your questions only to me and I will relay them. Please do not send them directly to Mizuguchi-san, he will only answer to mine. To send me a question double-click on my nick (Ryosan) on the right hand column and a new window will open in which we may chat. We will then choose the questions according to their interest and relevance.
MizuguchiI'm in TOkyo now !
Ryosan<PlayDevilcom> Where did Tetsuya get the idea behind Lumines ? Did he had it already years but never found a decent platform to develop
MizuguchiWell...
MizuguchiI had the idea for a long time...
Mizuguchibut when i saw a PSP, i just saw a new type of game with music
Mizuguchithat's Lumines
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Prism> So, why did you limit the high score in Lumines to 999,999 points? :)
MizuguchiI just simply thought...
Mizuguchino one could reach that high score...
Mizuguchihow many of you have reached the MAX already ?
Mizuguchi*
UbiRazzA fair few of the more hardcore gamers seem to have reached it. Big fans of the game ;)
MizuguchiI'm very happy to hear that
Mizuguchi*
MizuguchiBack to the question...
MizuguchiMaybe I should change the MAX to 999,999,999 for the next Lumines...
MizuguchiAnyways... the reason for 999,999 is...
MizuguchiI was thinking how long PSP battery would last...
MizuguchiI thought it would last about 2 hours... so i kinda calculated from it...
Mizuguchithen I decided to pick 999,999 =)
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Mercenary> Lumines is great, but I just dont get it. When playing in challenge mode what actually causes your level to raise and the skin to change?
UbiRazz(Please excuse the delay while we translate ;))
MizuguchiIf you manage to delete a certain number of blocks, you can get next level and skin
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<yosh> How did you start working with Mondo Grosso?
MizuguchiWhile making Lumines...
MizuguchiI went to a Southern Island...
Mizuguchiit's called "Okinawa", located in Japan
MizuguchiI was thinking about Lumines on the beach...
Mizuguchithen I heard Mondo Grosso's song...
MizuguchiDawn, then night... lots of stars were at the sky...
Mizuguchiit was very beautiful...
Mizuguchithen i was thinkin...
Mizuguchiif stars shine coresponding to music, that would be really interesting...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<JPinOsaka> How hands on were you during the actual play mechanics of Lumines? What were some of the changes Hattori-san made to your vision?
MizuguchiHattori is sitting next to me now...
Mizuguchiwe've been creating games together for 15 years...
MizuguchiHe was with me when I was struggling to create Rez...
MizuguchiWe can share and understand each other with less words...
MizuguchiHe's a great staff who can understand my ideas very well...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Hades0> Can you briefly explain us what is your game, Lumines, for the players who don't know this title?
MizuguchiSure...
MizuguchiThis is a puzzle game...
MizuguchiBut, all the control/play sounds are on the music sheet...
Mizuguchithe sound you play will become a song...
Mizuguchijust like... making music by playing puzzles...
Mizuguchifusion of puzzle game and music...
Mizuguchisorry... kinda very normal explanation...
Mizuguchihaha =)
UbiRazzhehe :)
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<BryterLayter> What inspirered you when making the sound and visual presentation of Lumines?
MizuguchiWell...
Mizuguchithere is a drama behind it...
Mizuguchiafter the sunset... stars started shining... then i had a dream...
Mizuguchiwhen i realized... it was already sunrise... then morning...
Mizuguchiit was like a show...
Mizuguchii asked our art director Yokota to create such a "show" with music and visual
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<PlayDevilcom> Where do you basically get your 'game' ideas from? Spending time on your desk and waiting until something is on paper or ... ?
Mizuguchithat's a good question...
Mizuguchii always think about different ideas simulteniously in my head...
Mizuguchibut while i'm thinking, usually i cannot come up with good ideas...
Mizuguchibut after i think a lot, when i start doing something totally not related to game development, usually great ideas come to me !
Mizuguchifor instance...
Mizuguchitalking to people from different industories...
Mizuguchiwhile driving... or on airplane...
Mizuguchiwhen just watching outside from the window...
Mizuguchibut the important thing is to talk to people...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<zoti> how big was the team that worked on Lumines ?
Mizuguchi6 people
Mizuguchithe smallest team ever
Mizuguchibut since i didn't really work hard... so i should say 5.5 people =P
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Domstercool> I heard that Meteos only took three days to get a working version on the Nintendo DS. I was wondering how long did it take you to get Lumines running on the PSP? Is it a lot more difficult to work on the PSP than the Nintendo DS?
MizuguchiIn case of Lumines...
MizuguchiWe created 3 prototypes in a month
MizuguchiI don't think PSP is more difficult than DS...
MizuguchiI think not different...
Mizuguchihowever...
Mizuguchiwhen we started Lumines development, PSP hardware itself wasn't available yet...
Mizuguchiso we had to proceed Lumines development on PC for a while...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Prism> Did you expect the US and European versions of Lumines to outsell the Japanese edition?
MizuguchiHonestly...
Mizuguchiwe wanted to change music for each territory...
Mizuguchihowever...
Mizuguchiso many people suggested me that US and European fans would like the music we selected...
Mizuguchiof course, i want to create different music version of Lumines...
Mizuguchibut I believe US and European fans would love the music and game more than Japanese fans!
Mizuguchi*
UbiRazzI love the music myself :)
MizuguchiThank you =)
Ryosan<Hyoushi> At Q!, are you going to keep focusing on music and rhythm-driven games for the games you direct yourself, or are you also going to direct other efforts?
MizuguchiTo continue to create a fusion of game and music or a game with a solid style is one of things we always want to do
Mizuguchihowever,,,
Mizuguchiwe will continue to challenge new things other than that...
MizuguchiWe are currently working on Xbox360 game called N3 (Ninety-nine Nights) is one of the challenges
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<CoffeeMan> do you play your own game, after they are release? if so which one do you play most, meteos or Lumines?
Mizuguchithat's a... mean question =P
Mizuguchihonestly...
Mizuguchii've played Lumines quite often recently...
MizuguchiI've traveled a lot recently...
Mizuguchiand on airplane, i just keep playing Lumines until a flight attendant tells me... "we're landing now!"
Mizuguchibut... i still cannot stop playing it !
Mizuguchi=)
Mizuguchi*
UbiRazzWhat's your highest score on Lumines? :)
Mizuguchi999,999, of course !
Ryosan;)
Ryosan<Dere> What genres of music, bands and songs do you like yourself? Are there artists whose music you would like to have in the next Lumines?
MizuguchiI like all kinds of music really...
Mizuguchiif possible, i'd like to use Beatles songs for next Lumines !
MizuguchiAll need is love...
Mizuguchiclassics sound good, too...
MizuguchiRecently...
Mizuguchii've listened to Chemical Brothers and Far Boy Slim a lot
Mizuguchi*
RyosanI think the most frequently asked question today is about Lumines 2 so...
Ryosan<McCloud2> Will there really be a Lumines 2, if yes.. what are gonna be the major changes ?
MizuguchiWe haven't announced about Lumines 2 yet...
Mizuguchibut we've been trying out many things for Lumines 2...
Mizuguchiwell...
Mizuguchisorry... i cannot tell you more than that at this point...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<yosh> Apart from Mondo Grosso and Eri Nobuchika who provided two songs each, who else contributed to the game soundtrack? How many songs are available in Lumines?
MizuguchiThe rest of the songs were created by Takayuki Nakamura and Yokota
MizuguchiTakayuki Nakamura was in charge of Vertur Fighter 1's music at Sega...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<BossG> when making games, how often do creators consider the high level players when tuning their games?
MizuguchiWhen i create games, i always try to make the entrance very wide but make it so deep...
MizuguchiEntrance is wide... which means, everybody can easily try out the games...
Mizuguchibut it will be difficult to reach further...
Mizuguchiit sounds easy, but actually it is really difficult to make a game...
MizuguchiIt always give me headaches !
Mizuguchi*
RyosanBecause you're so many and so enthousiastic, I'm glad to announce you the live chat will last 10 more minutes! =)
Ryosan<gloone> What is your favorite game released in the last year or so?
MizuguchiOf course Lumines !
MizuguchiI made Lumines because I wanted to play it =)
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<^Simon> In Rez (awesome game, by the way) the last level (5) was really special, very specific and different from the other levels, and that really made a huge impression on me. In Lumines the same can be said for the "Lights" level with, as you describe, a sunset. Is this a very concious decision on your part, to hold some stuff back for the finale? Michel Ancel said surprise is very important to a game, do you agree with that?
MizuguchiI'd like to thank you, who asked this question...
MizuguchiIndeed, Rez 5th level and Lumines Lights have something in common...
Mizuguchiif some of you don't really understand how they are similer, sorry...
Mizuguchibut... the point is...
Mizuguchii always want to put some message in games...
Mizuguchiit could be a small message, but i want players to feel something...
Mizuguchifrom now on...
Mizuguchimore games will be like that...
MizuguchiOnce games become Hi-Def completely, it will be definitely like that...
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Robbo> My favourite skin in Lumines is probably Shake Your Body because of the intense background changes. What is your favourite Track / skin from the game?
MizuguchiShini' and Lights are my favorites
Mizuguchi*
Ryosan<Awwe> Question: Why not make a remake of REZ for the PSP, beacuse of the high popularity with Lumines on the system?
MizuguchiUmm...
MizuguchiI created Rez when I was at Sega...
MizuguchiSega has all the copy rights...
Mizuguchi*
RyosanMizuguchi-san, do you want to say something to your fans to finish this live chat?
MizuguchiIt's 11 pm in Tokyo...
MizuguchiA big tyhoon hit Tokyo and it was very windy...
Mizuguchibut now it's completely fine... just like the sky of Shinin'...
MizuguchiI think it's around 3pm there...
UbiRazz3:15pm in the UK :)
MizuguchiI think this is great that I can get to know you guys through a game...
Mizuguchii'm very happy about it...
MizuguchiLet's meet somewhere, sometime !
MizuguchiI'm going to Paris on 9/22
MizuguchiI'll attend the Game Hotel event there...
ActionUbiRazz books a flight ;)
MizuguchiSee you everyone there !
RyosanI guess that’s it then. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, especially at that hour for you. And a special thanks to Michiko, our marvelous translator ^__^
MizuguchiThank you!
RyosanA full transcript of the live chat will be posted on the Lumines official website in the coming days. Stay tunned!
MizuguchiGoodbye, everyone

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