Testuya Mizuguchi is a happy bloke. As he sits opposite me in a plush hotel in the London Docklands, he looks as though he could explode in a shower of rainbows and bunny rabbits at any moment, as he tells me about his favourite Lumines II track, 'Heavenly Star'.
"I got a big influence from the music video itself," he says, pointing out Heavenly Star's psychedelic background visuals, which are a mix of vector graphics with a hand-drawn 'Take on Me'-style singer. "The concept is synesthesia - like Rez, my ex-game. Every sound in the game has colours and luminance and lights; movement with the music. So that kind of feeling I wanted to put into the music videos."
The ex-Sega luminary's latest title is Lumines II, the sequel to the "highest rated PSP game of all-time," and one of the most addictive puzzle games yet. The sequel looks set to snatch even more time from our busy social-lives, but as Mizuguchi-San is quick to point out, Lumines II isn't about leading a revolution over the first game's block-dropping gameplay - or indeed even evolution.
Lumines II is about music and music videos - and lots of them. At least 100 new and old tracks are featured in game including music from a much wider variety of genres and artists, like Missy Elliott, the Chemical Brothers, and Beck, as well as the edgy, underground tracks we know from the first game.
In our recent chat, Mizuguchi-San also talked about the future of gaming, and possibility of his much-love PS2 and Dreamcast shooter, Rez. Is Rez 2 on the cards? "I'm just thinking about that," he says.
Read on for more...
CVG: How are things at Q Entertainment?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi: We're still small. I left Sega three years ago and I founded Q Entertainment with a few people, and it's increasing; now we have 50 people. It's pretty young and everybody is always moving faster. We're watching the kind of future of entertainment - Q means 'Quest', and it never stops. We think about 'what is the future of entertainment?' So yeah, it's really healthy; the freedom. It's nice.
CVG: We heard you moved offices a couple of weeks ago?
Miziguchi: Yeah. It's a very small office - a very small building, not so gorgeous. But we're working together and we're happy.
CVG: So what spurred you to create a sequel to Lumines?
Mizuguchi: Our programmer and our designer came to me after Lumines 1, and we used the moving images behind the Lumines blocks and thought 'hmmm, that's very interesting - how should we use that kind of technology?' 'OK, let's use the music video - let's make an experiment'. And we did - that was nice.
I got Lumines from the music video itself; when I was a kid I watched MTV and thought 'wow, this is a new kind of art form of expression'. So yeah, I'm very happy to combine the music video and the game itself. We always watched the music video, but playing Lumines very casually with the music video, of course we're quantumising the sound with the music - blending the music. This is the story of Lumines 2.
CVG: Were you surprised by the success of the first game?
Mizuguchi: It was a big surprise. I think we were lucky, because it was the launch of the PSP and we could provide a game on the day launch of the PSP, worldwide. I think everybody was watching what was next; it was a really good atmosphere. And there were not many games like the PSP original, so I that's the reason we had really good sales in all the countries. That was luck, I think.