Puzzle games don't tend to inspire much emotion in players, except for the occasional bout of frustration. But music lives and breathes emotion, so when it came time to make another music-puzzle fusion with Lumines: Electronic Symphony, developer Q Entertainment focused on making emotional connections. Producer James Mielke opened up about these, which he calls his "Say Anything moments." Yes, like the movie.
"What I really wanted to achieve with this game was what I was referring to as 'Say Anything moments' -- like the John Cusack, boom box over the head," Mielke told Gamasutra. "So in that movie, when he pulls the boom box out and holds it over his head, that's a pivotal moment in that movie, and they're using Peter Gabriel's 'In Your Eyes' to great emotional effect. It's a poignant moment in the film, and there's an emotional impact, and it's wordless. It's just the music that's doing all of that work."
Mielke set about making an emotional experience that rose above being just a puzzle game. "And so because of that, we were choosing our music very selectively. I think ultimately Electronic Symphony is a little bit less manipulative than we were originally going for, because we really had set pieces that we were going to put into the game." He says some songs that might have had a different kind of emotional punch were cut because the concept shifted, but says that was the "original inspiration."
Series creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi seems convinced, calling games "a new way to enjoy music" and noting that stories can be much richer than they were before. "So I believe in that kind of power of the game, and the possibility of synesthesia," Mizuguchi said. "And it depends on the changing of technology, which is getting high. Ten years ago, we could just start to make synesthesia like Rez, but now we can make much more. We can put much more high resolution and get high synesthesia. I can make some much more rich storylines in Child of Eden."
Steve Watts posted a new article, Lumines: Electronic Symphony devs inspired by John Cusack.
Lumines: Electronic Symphony producer James Mielke talks about using music to form an emotional connection in a puzzle game.