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It’s a miracle Humanity exists — and maybe fate

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Origin humanity (video game) Feels like the end of humanity (concept).

Visual director Yugo Nakamura and his creative team asked a simple question: “How many digital people can we put on one screen at once?” To find the answer, he created humanity: A barren, brutal world in which endless streams of humans march up, down, and around towering structures before plunging into the abyss.

This time, humanity There was not much play. Nor was it being created by game developers – not in the traditional sense.

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The designers are part of Tha, a Japanese creative firm that does everything from reimagining Tokyo public toilets and Uniqlo’s blocky branding to experimental fashion and experiential art installations.

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Their jobs sound like fun, but the concept of futuristic bathrooms also requires a distraction from the paying people. After all, every job is still a job. or as Nakamura puts it, “there must always be something else [to focus on], not just a day-to-day desk assignment. Something to have fun and be curious about and to push things forward for future projects.

And so the second thing, in 2017, was to get as many people on screen as possible. And in most versions of the story, humanity That’s all it will take – a side thing rests in a folder on an office PC.

But humanity What happens when you have time to experiment, when you share your ideas with the world, and when you get lucky (or are touched by luck) and become one of the most iconic video game makers in the history of the medium? One is supported.

Thousands of humans climb a minimalist ladder and jump into a gravity-defying column of water in the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Image: was/enhanced

Not sure what would happen next for their visual innovation, and unwilling to compost it, Tha’s team presented a visual demo at the Unity Festival in Tokyo in front of a panel of judges – one of whom was Tetsuya Mizuguchi was If you don’t already know Mizuguchi by name, you know the games he helped create: Rage, Lumines, external extended spareand most recently and perhaps most famously, tetris effect, He is the founder and CEO of Enhance, a video game publisher/experience arts creative studio.

Mizuguchi has used Enhance (and their goodwill) to help get other projects off the ground and through development. Sometimes it’s a logical project, like modernizing the greatest puzzle game of all time. Sometimes it’s far more abstract, such as an R&D lab focused on “the architecture of synesthesia and other multi-sensory experiences.” In this case, it’s somewhere in between: converting conceptual visual art into a playable, entirely new video game.

“we can call [seeing that early art] “All about luck or chance or timing,” says Mizuguchi, “but I believe it was meant to be.” Yugo-san said that the tech demo was out of curiosity. But I don’t take that word lightly. Curiosity leads to something. When we met, I felt his strong desire to make [something more], Not saying that his other work doesn’t have that spirit, but it seemed to me that he wanted to create an experience that was unlike anything he’d done before.

“It seemed to me that if I gave this man the tools and resources to make a game, he already had the basic sensibilities to do so. I saw in his mannerisms and eyes that he would not miss the opportunity .

Mizuguchi was right that Nakamura could see and humanity to complete. But neither artist expected the project to take five years, with Mizuguchi as executive producer and Nakamura overseeing creative direction, art direction and design. (Though, perhaps they should have expected a development time of at least five years, with the game literally being named after the idea of ​​our shared consciousness.)

humanityAs it happens a month before release, is a puzzle game that visually misses lemmings (a group of followers, following your guidance even after their demise) and resonates creatively choo choo rocket (Hold arrows to drive intelligent creatures to safety). Each stage is a discrete puzzle and can be completed in a number of ways. Some are relatively simple. But for completionists who want to collect giant golden creatures standing in corners or on podiums out of reach, there are far more challenging routes to take.

As the game progresses, the player receives new instructions to give to their stream of humans, telling them to jump high or long jump, or to dive into a completely geometric pillar of water and swim to the other side. Says for. And the goals also change. For example, the infinite stream of people sometimes becomes finite, making survival and timing important.

A glowing, white Shiba Inu stands on a stone block in Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Image: was/enhanced

Did I mention you, the player is depicted as a dog? An ethereal Shiba Inu, to be exact. You bark with authority and people obey.

This, as you may have already guessed, is a weird game. I’m still a beginner, and I have a lot of questions. What’s up with the fringe space between missions, where all my men and gold statues – known as goldies – are waiting to gloat like that? And how would I accomplish some of these stages – user created stages produced after the game’s level maker tool goes live? I’m obsessed with the game and I’m not the one who had to spend the last half a decade making it.

Before the end of my interview with Nakamura, I asked if he would do it again. If only he knew when he asked that simple question – how many people can I fit on the screen? — that he would eventually have to make an entire video game that much bigger and wackier and more audacious.

A huge ball of the human body Goldfish in humanity

Image: was/enhanced

A giant cube of a human body floats above gold statues in Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration was and is among Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Image: was/enhanced

Crowds of faceless people and tall golden statues roam Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Image: was/enhanced

“In life and in general, what you don’t know you don’t know.” Nakamura says. “I jumped into it not knowing the depth and the challenges and effort involved in making a game. If I had known from the beginning, I’m not sure I would have gone down that path. Now that I know, making a game is so much easier.” Its difficult.” And yet, he seems to have no regrets, repeatedly expressing his gratitude for the opportunity.

,[At Enhance] We crave creative work that’s very unique,” says Mizuguchi. “We want to support and discover new artists along the way – with similar values. If we come across their work, we want to bring it to a larger audience. he hasn’t changed [since the founding of Enhance], That will always be a path that we seek.

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