As part of PlayStation’s ‘Countdown to E3’ reveals, a new virtual reality (VR) title from Enhance Games was showcased. The studio most known for the visually stunning Rez Infinite release, announced their latest title would be a similar experience but feature a familiar videogame. This was the world’s first look at Tetris Effect, a new rhythm title that brings a new twist of a cult classic. Speaking to PlayStation on stage at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) 2018 event, videogame designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi and Mark Macdonald, VR Production from Enhance Games to learn more about this upcoming title.
“We had a very positive reaction who watched the trailer” Mizuguchi explained, talking about the reveal of the title. “You were beaming. I came into the office the day after it had premiered and you had a huge smile.” MacDonald added: “It’s only been a week and we checked last night and we’ve got a million views and for us that is a huge, huge deal. All thanks to you guys, but we couldn’t be happier, people saying they watched it two or three times, people saying they liked the music, saying they got what we wanted to do with the trailer and say about the game, which is just awesome.”
MacDonald went on to explain that throughout all the positive feedback of the reveal trailer, a large number of people have been asking about the music used and, if it was available: “The funny thing is, the song doesn’t have a name yet. It’s all originally music from the game. It’s actually from the first level of the game. The track from the trailer is the track from the first stage.”
Known for his work on other popular titles such as Luminous and Rez, Mizuguchi discussed that the idea to create a rhythm based Tetris had been in his mind for some time. “So actually, back in 2003-2004, the first PSP (PlayStation Portable) so at the time, I thought about ‘if we make Tetris with music, it must be awesome!” He explains: “But, I couldn’t make that for many reason. So we made Luminous. But, I couldn’t forget about that and so I’ve been talking with Henk Rogers, he’s CEO of The Tetris Company. So we had a long, long conversation. He wanted to create a zen Tetris type of experience and we had a discussion.”
“How can we combine a zen experience with visuals and music, and a new type of story telling, a new type of story experience?” Mizuguchi continues: “So there is a long, long history process. We had two years of pre-production and one and half years of production.”
This period of pre-production was when MacDonald became aware of the project, around the time the company was finishing up Rez Infinite. He mentioned that during that time key visuals and inspirations for what would become Tetris Effect had already been worked on, and were visual to the team. As soon as Rez Infinite shipped, MacDonald explained, the team got to work building this new title and by the time it releases later this year it would of been about a two year development cycle.
When asked what the team was hoping to achieve with this release, MacDonald explained: “So the idea of Tetris Effect is to lose yourself in the game, you know, like the trailer explains there is this thing called the Tetris Effect where, it’s like a real studies phenomenon where you keep seeing the pieces, we’ve all had it when your going to sleep or whatever. What we wanted to do is amplify that so when your playing the game you just get completely out of your head, you are just so absorbed in the game that everything else just melts away, especially in VR.”
“We really want to make something beautiful that people can enjoy and kind of escape.” MacDonald adds: “There are a lot of different types of games and experiences here, and that’s great, but we want something that when you come home from a hard day at work or school, when you might be to tired to normally play a game, especially a VR game, that you actually want to go to, that you are like ‘I need to relax’.”
This is a feeling that is shared by Mizuguchi, who expressed that everyone knows Tetris in some shape or form, making Tetris Effect an accessible title. “Many people know Tetris, grandmothers, my mother (laughs) so I think many people can play Tetris with the VR headset.” He adds.
Tetris Effect is currently in development for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR, with a release planned for later this year. VRFocus will be sure to bring you all the latest on the title and E3 2018 so make sure you stay tuned for more.