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Mizuguchi On Why Japan's Designers Are Going Indie 21

simoniker writes "Q Entertainment's Tetsuya Mizuguchi, creator of Rez and Lumines, has been discussing why he set up his own company as part of a wider Gamasutra interview, interesting because many major Japanese creators (such as Yuji Naka and Hironobu Sakaguchi) are leaving the big companies to form their own independent outfits. He explained: 'I don't know about everyone, but from just my case, I felt like I didn't have freedom. I was in Sega. At the time, I don't know now, but at the time, that was a big client for me, and I had a studio called UGA, United Game Artists. And I had seventy people. I had many visions, like to make casual games. Not big stuff, but small games. Not Lumines, but many other ideas. If I made a presentation to Sega executives about this kind of thing, and if they said no, that's over. That's it.'"
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Mizuguchi On Why Japan's Designers Are Going Indie

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  • by GundamFan ( 848341 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:47AM (#15955395)
    If little querky games didn't make there way to market we wouldn't have some of the most fun games I have ever played. Keep that in mind.

    Big production games with stories are fun too, but in a diffrent way, sometimes you need a game that can make you smile without much time invested.
    • by Necreia ( 954727 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @10:54AM (#15955458)
      1. Smaller companies don't have to feed such a big beast, they can take risks and do those interesting and fun ideas on the side. 2. If the gameplay is fun and interesting, bigger companies want to cash up on it (as well as the small company growing in side to make sequels and spinoffs) 3. Those companies grow, making fun games based off that gameplay style until the fun starts to dry up. 4. People split off and form small companies again in order to create a fun and unique gameplay experience. 5. Go back to 1 I personally love this cycle. It not only helps prevent stagnation, but also the 'wheel of games' allows interesting gameplay and fun mechanics to be utilized by high-budget companies at some point, while always leaving a fresh amount of interesting small games.
      • I can see the benefits of what you're describing, but why can't companies just stay small? I'm a big proponent of the lean & mean structure. With enough planning up-front, a small company can keep producing quality games, but we just haven't seen much of that in the real world.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Necreia ( 954727 )
          I'd imagine that companies can't stay small due to various reasons. Sometimes they get 'swept up' in having to grow under whipcrack of a publisher to make a current title 'better', or they bring in people to manage the business that slowly allow it to grow.

          In counternote to this though, I rather preferr the current system of grow / split / grow / split, as it allows the newer companies to be remixed with new people and new identity.

          If a single company continues to go forward, they just simply churn out the
          • by Miniluv ( 165290 )
            I have to agree. I don't follow the game industry in a ton of detail, but from what I've seen you see different groups of people coalescing around an idea for a new direction or concept, which then gets turned into a number of games of varying quality, before that group splits up and coalesces around a new set of ideas in new configurations of devs.

            I'm also really hoping that online delivery of console games and the apparent readiness of big companies to allow indie devs to sell their wares via these system
  • by Talez ( 468021 ) on Tuesday August 22, 2006 @11:32AM (#15955750)
    Lies. Lies and slander. Here's what really happened:

    Press: I like your hat!
    Mizuguchi: This money hat? It's a gift from Microsoft. All I had to do is rip Dynasty Warrios off in order to give the 360 some form of credibility.
    Press: But the Xbox 360 doesn't sell here.
    Mizuguchi: Sure it won't sell more than 50,000 copies in Japan and it won't mean jack in the long run but money hats for all!
    Press: But won't they figure that out?
    Mizuguchi: And what? You just can't do that with big game company execs because they already have money hats and therefore can't be bribed by them to release stuff on a system they know won't sell. Why do you think I left UGA?
    Press: Creative freedom?
    Mizuguchi: God no! I was on crack and made that Rez game and Sega still published it! Not only that but those fanboys ate it all up!
    Press: So why did you leave?
    Mizuguchi: I would say it was a choice between a hat comprised entirely of 10,000 yen notes or no hat at all. Which would you pick?
  • It seems that whenever Mizuguchi is mentioned, people talk about Lumines and Rez... Am I the only person that thinks Meteos is the most fun Puzzle game ever? Wheres the Meteos love?
    • by ECMIM ( 946033 )
      I agree. I think Meteos stomps Lumines *but* Meteos wasn't created by Mizuguchi--it was created by Masahiro Sakurai.
    • Don't know if you've ever played Lumines or Rez, but having played all 3 of the games you've mentioned I find the two much more enjoyable and addicting them Meteos.
      • by Scrapey ( 788047 )
        Completely agree. Rez is like looking through a kaleidoscope whilst being whacked out of your head on cough mixture. Plays well too...
        Roll on Lumines Live...
  • If it weren't for indie games/films we'd have to suffer with the same ol' blockbuster hits just witht a different skin each time. Creativity is all about freedom and big companies have a way of taking away freedom. *on an unrelated note: i was lucky enough to (recently) nab a copy of Rez for the PS2. Some schmuck sold it to gamestop. it was practically new as in, "hey, let me take off the shrinkwrap and sell this crappy looking game to gamestop" new.
  • had a week long look (like the Okami story also posted today) at Q Entertainment earlier this summer: []
  • I'm all in favor of indy development. The mainstream game industry has developed Hollywood envy and is trying to make games as interactive and innovative as movies, while spending Hollywood-sized budgets.

Houston, Tranquillity Base here. The Eagle has landed. -- Neil Armstrong