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iNis' Yano On Creating Music Games For Drunk People

iNis (Elite Beat Agents) COO Keiichi Yano has been talking to Gamasutra about the accessibility of his Xbox 360 karaoke game Lips, even to the less skilled or drunk players, pointing out: "Usually, that technique is [to make] them die, or fa
As part of an in-depth interview with Gamasutra, iNis (Elite Beat Agents) COO Keiichi Yano has been talking in-depth about the philosophy behind the studio's Xbox 360 karaoke game Lips, releasing this week. In particular, the Japanese developer has been explaining how to create an accessible music game that even less skiller or perhaps drunk people can play -- asserting that players don't want to be punished with prematurely ending songs when they're not performing well. "When you're trying to enjoy the music and you're trying to kind of figure out your connection, your relationship to the song, you don't want it to stop prematurely," says Yano. "One of the things that's great about having original tracks and original videos is you want to see it. You just want to experience it just for that." He admits that the studio relished in creating "really hard rhythm games" in the past, such as Elite Beat Agents and the GitarooMan series, but the focus with Lips was to create something as accessible as possible. iNis needed an element that could replace that difficulty as something to engage people. "Usually, that technique is [to make] them die, or fail, or whatever. But if we can have all these technologies that pick up all these vocal nuances, and create technology that can do that, then we've got multiple dimensions that we could potentially score you," says the COO. That led the studio to developing a multidimensional scoring mechanism enabling more invested players to inflate their scores and pick up bonus points by executing motions with the included microphones. "If I really know the song, I can score literally millions of points," says Yano. "I score three or four million points on some of these songs, and that's great for the person that is very confident in his vocal capabilities. But, for the person who might not be, or if you're just drunk, it's just like you don't even care." He continues, "But you just want to jam to the song, and you're [warbles incoherently], and it's all this crazy stuff. But, you're still getting a score, right? And that's really important, because at the end of the song, you're drunk and you're still saying, 'Ha! I scored better than you!' or whatever, right?" Yano believes that most players prefer reaching the end of songs, even if they aren't putting on the most talented performance, adding, "[They don't say], 'Oh, yeah! It's not ending prematurely.' I would even say that a lot of people that don't normally play games even think about that. If anything, it's the reverse. 'Why did the song end prematurely? I want to enjoy the song.'" You can read the full Gamasutra interview with iNis' Keiichi Yano on Lips' advanced microphones, dealing with improvisation in music games, and more (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from other websites).

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