Q Entertainment’s Kinect compatible game Child of Eden grabbed our attention during Ubisoft’s press conference. The game has the essence of the cult hit Rez with hand gestures and music from the Genki Rockets. Does… Child of Eden have any connections to Rez? That’s one of the questions I asked Tetsuya Mizuguchi when we talked about Child of Eden.
How did the Child of Eden project get started?
Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Director: One day a seed was planted in my mind, and it felt like the time was right to tell the story of Lumi and Eden. My work with Genki Rockets stimulated many feelings in me, and this was the next natural course for my work.
Rez was said to be inspired by the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. What works inspired Child of Eden?
It would be hard for me to put it down to one specific influence. Child of Eden is the culmination of many of my life’s recurring themes, and now just seemed to be the right time to make this kind of game. In-between projects I often travel to relax and recharge my batteries, whether it’s on a beach in Bali or at a rave in Switzerland. The process of game making, like any other entertainment career, is a series of reactions.
The theme of Child of Eden is hope & happiness. Can you tell us about the game’s story and why you wanted to make a game with such a positive vibe?
The themes found in Child of Eden are the themes that resonate with me personally. You’ll find common threads in all of the games I’m involved with from my days at Sega to the things we’ve created here at Q. Even a game like Ninety-Nine Nights, a combat action game which could easily have been told from a simple “good versus evil” perspective, tells its story from multiple perspectives. Child of Eden is, too, layered in its message. Everyone has hopes and dreams. I just happen to convey these emotions through the video game medium.
Does the story have any connections or nods to Rez?
The obvious ones are there to pick out and examine. The rest you’ll have to play the game and see for yourself.
Lumi, who we’ve seen in the Genki Rockets videos, plays a key role in Child of Eden. Can you tell us more about her design and origins? Did Lumi always look the same?
The character of Lumi has always looked pretty similar to what you have seen of her so far. But as you will see in future revelations, there will be an evolution in her sophistication. She’s my muse, you could say.
Why did you choose to only use music from the Genki Rockets? Were there any licensed songs you were considering for Child of Eden?
For Child of Eden, I wanted to focus my attention on every aspect of the game; the music, the lyrics, the world, and the sound design. So the best way for me to achieve this was to create the soundtrack with my musical outfit, Genki Rockets.
How did you design levels and waves of enemies to match the game’s music?
We begin by designing rough layouts of each level on paper, before building them in 3D. Once we have them up and running in 3D we then have to consider the pacing and speed of the actual gameplay, while taking into consideration the music’s tempo and how it affects the play experience. There’s a lot of trial and error and experimentation before we’re comfortable with what we’ve achieved.
And the boss battles? How did you make those exciting and challenging?
Just as with any boss battle in any video game, we’ve designed each boss to have specific movement, evasion and attack patterns. But more important to Child of Eden is the overall ‘feeling’ you get while playing. To achieve this we pay close attention to the musical element – how the music syncs up and quantizes to the actions—and the sense of timing and speed and pacing that it gives the battle. We have different designers attached to different archives, so in this way we’re also able to keep things fresh. I meet with the Child of Eden team daily to discuss how to keep things fun and vibrant.
Rez’s synaesthesia experiment integrated color and sound. How did you utilize Kinect to add the sense of touch to the synaesthesia experiment?
The Kinect actually removes an element of ‘touch’ since you’re not actually holding a controller, but in response, peels away a layer of the emotional barrier that a controller provides. With Kinect you can really escape into Eden and become a part of the experience by ‘soaring’ through the archives and rescuing Lumi through your efforts. It may be a subtle benefit, but I think this brings you slightly closer to the tenets of synaesthesia by removing the obstacles between you and true immersion.
Have you thought about adding in PlayStation Move controls to the PS3 version?
Naturally we’ve thought about it, but unfortunately I can’t comment on this as nothing is confirmed as of yet.
Q Entertainment made a synaesthesia puzzle game and shooter. What other genres would you like to work with and add synaesthesia elements to?
I think our Synaesthesia Engine is flexible enough to apply to nearly any genre and even genres that don’t exist yet. Some of you will know that I’ve worked on racing games in the past, and that’s one genre, to give an example, where we’ve considered applying the principles of synasethesia. If this is of interest to anyone, I’d love to hear your feedback.