Friday, 1 February 2008

Digital Auteurs - Tetsuya Mizuguchi

In the first of yet another feature series, I'll be choosing from the best personalities in the videogame world. It's a great shame that people remember the names of authors and directors, but rarely know the leading figures behind their favorite games. These people are our equivalents, from the Spielberg's (Miyamoto), to the Tarantino's (Goichi Suda), and the Romero's (Shinji Mikami), it's only fair that we learn and appreciate the people who drive our industry forwards. For the first edition, Tetsuya Mizuguchi.

“I’m more concerned about people feeling emotions thanks to my creations, about what message I can include and how it can be welcomed.”

Tetsuya Mizuguchi has always demonstrated true originality and innovation throughout his videogame career over the last 15 years. He has carved himself up a very distinct and high quality videogame style through his output, and possesses a clear design philosophy that has forever remained consistently visible and stood out as vastly different from mainstream titles, summarized when he stated how “We don’t care about genres.”

He first made his entrance into game development through Sega, where he made his name being the lead designer behind the classic and still widely played Sega Rally Championship in 1995. Once being tagged onto Sega’s United Game Artists Division, he produced both Space Channel 5 for the Dreamcast in 1999, and perhaps his most celebrated work Rez in 2001.

After an internal restructuring within Sega, Mizuguchi left after becoming dissatisfied with the company’s new corporate thinking and formed the still thriving Q Entertainment. Most recently bringing us PSP hits Lumines and Every Extend Extra, as well as Meteos on the Nintendo DS. The former of these games have since been released on Xbox’s Live Arcade, which Rez has also joined in an updated and improved package in the form of the critically acclaimed Rez HD.

It’s always uncertain where Mizuguchi will head in the future. He may continue in the same vain as previous years, further pushing the boundaries and artistic quality of the music and puzzle game genres he’s done so much to popularize. He’s expressed much interest in digital distribution services such as Live Arcade, and has even mentioned a desire to work on a full sequel to his beloved Rez. Whatever comes of Q Entertainment in the future, you can count that it’ll be met with similar adoration and respect from both the mainstream and indie game circuits, a rare and very difficult achievement which Tetsuya seems to hold the key to.

“We don't care whether it's hardcore or casual. We just want to make something new, using new technology and new people and talent.”

Rez HD has recently been released on Xbox Live Arcade to critical acclaim, and can be purchased for 800 Microsoft points. If you haven't checked out Rez before, this is an essential opportunity to experience it in its greatest form.

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