Of the many minds that transformed the video game industry at the turn of the century, Tetsuya Mizuguchi was by no means the most famous and his games were not the most widely played. He was perhaps the most colorful, though, his games the most buoyantly joyful. Unfortunately, it looks like Child of Eden will be the last game he makes. According to a Thursday report, Mizuguchi has stopped producing games for his studio Q Entertainment.
Speaking with Eurogamer at the Tokyo Game Show, Q Entertainment’s Nobuhiko Shimizu confirmed that Mizuguchi has stepped down from his creative role with the company. “Right now Mizuguchi does not produce the games. He’s now more of a spokesperson,” said Shimizu, “He’s not developing stuff right now.”
Mizuguchi made a name for himself in the video game industry during the mid-‘90s when he was responsible for high quality home conversions of Sega’s arcade games. Most notable among them was a stellar version of Sega Rally for the Sega Saturn that not only admirably recreated the complex 3D graphics of the arcade game, but also its unusual car physics. It was after Sega Rally though that Mizuguchi began working on the music and rhythm games that defined his career.
Starting with Space Channel 5 on Sega’s Dreamcast and then Rez, Mizuguchi fostered a unique identity as a game developer, mixing vibrantly colored graphics, surreal settings, and ecstatic electronic and pop music in his games. In 2004, he began developing games at his own studio Q Entertainment, publishing excellent rhythm puzzle games for the Nintendo DS and PSP including Meteos and Lumines. In the years since though, Mizuguchi increasingly focused on re-releasing his existing games as well as his band Genki Rockets.
Child of Eden, a spiritual successor to Rez, was released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in 2011, and while that game worked hard to create the same transcendent atmosphere as his earlier work, it felt hollow and overly sentimental by comparison. It also failed to connect with gamers, selling just 34,000 copies in its first month on shelves. That being the case, a break from games might be just what Mizuguchi needs to get his groove back.