Jeremy Jastrzab
03 May, 2011

Child of Eden Preview

360 Preview | Eyes, ears and hands-on... With Tetsuya Mizuguchi himself.
A perennial debate that never really seems to get to any sort of resolution is whether video games are art? While there are people with much more time and much less sense to argue about this than us, someone that can claim his games to sit amongst ‘artworks’ is one of gaming’s best known developers - Tetsuya Mizuguchi. And anyone who has played any of Space Channel 5, Rez, Lumines or Meteos will surely tell you the same. Very fortunately, we had the opportunity to not only meet the great man himself recently, but he took us for a tour of his latest title – Child of Eden.

As anyone who has seen videos will tell you, not only does this game look completely out of this world, but it is heavily reminiscent of a previous Mizuguchi hit, namely Rez. Mizuguchi himself admitted this, and mentioned that Child of Eden was the game that he has been wanting to make for close to a decade, but had been waiting for the right tools and technology to become available. So with the advent of HD displays and resolutions, 5.1 surround sound and Microsoft’s Kinect camera, the spiritual successor to Rez (said so by the man himself) came into being.

Just wait till you play this on a big screen.

Just wait till you play this on a big screen.
While he didn’t quite make it clear whether or not we were allowed to talk about it, Mizuguchi gave us his take on the ‘story’. He referred to Eden (the artificial intelligence inside which Rez took place) as a historical archive; a place that was a physical representation of something like the Internet. This Eden is under siege from a virus attack that is threatening to destroy the peace and serenity of the archive. The game seems to be divided into five different ‘states’ (including beauty, passion and evolution) each represented by colour and referred to as an 'Archive'. The ‘Child’ is represented by a young girl and is meant to represent feelings of ‘hope’ and ‘purity’, so it makes her sad when Eden is overrun by this virus. As such, she will gain more emotions and life as you ‘cleanse’ the virus from each of the five worlds/states of being. Mizuguchi made the point that the game is about ‘cleansing’ the virus, not ‘killing’ it.

While you’re all no doubt curious about how the game is supposed to play with Kinect, it’s impossible to go past the application of ‘synesthesia’ to the game. Mizuguchi mentioned that playing titles such as Rez and Child of Eden is supposed to invoke intangible reward through much more “organic” methods. So rather than earning ammo or upgrades, the game is more about the reward associated with the audio and visual displays from completing your successful combos, which is done so by ‘playing’ to the beat each track.

At its core, Rez was a rail-shooter. Fundamentally, Child of Eden is very similar, though at a first person perspective now. You’ll be taken through the tripped out archives, each of which are meant to represent a different state (as mentioned), while cleansing the viruses as you go. Even the menu was quite amazingly presented, allowing an extra level of interactivity. Progress into each of the different archives was determined by the number of stars that you had earned, so you’ll need to play through with a great score before being able to advance.

The real matrix.

The real matrix.
The archive demonstrated by Mizuguchi was one of the most amazing gaming spectacles you’ll ever see. The inspiration from Rez was clear, but where Rez took a more geometric approach, there was a much greater emphasis on making Child of Eden look organic. The level was quite an amazing journey, as Mizuguchi showed how intuitively he progressed while keeping to the beat of the sublime soundtrack. It is known that Genki Rockets, who have worked on music in Mizuguchi titles before, will be doing a lot of track work. The fictitious face of this anonymous girl’s band, Lumi, will be making a significant appearance in this game as the 'Child' mentioned at the outset. The level finished off with an absolutely stunning boss battle against a whale, which eventually turned into a phoenix.

Now the likely question at the forefront of most player’s minds, is just how are you supposed to play this with Kinect? Mizuguchi was gracious enough to put his reputation on the line and demonstrate the entire level using Kinect. In Child of Eden, you have three different attacks. The first is your lock-on ‘gun’. This controlled with the player’s right hand, where you hover the cursor to lock onto your targets. Once you have the targets you want (max of five at once), you flick your hand as if you’re firing the lock-on shots directly out of your palm. You’ve all watched enough anime to know what we mean!

Your left hand controls a weapon called the ‘tracer’, which has a purple reticule and will continuously rapid fire when on screen. A handy tip was that for any purple enemy or projectile, this was your weapon of choice. In all, you should only have one hand up at any given time for things to work. Finally, throwing both hands up in the air to imitate an explosion will set off your bombs, for which you have three in each level. These are good for clearing masses of projectiles. Overall, it was quite amazing first to watch this implementation of Kinect in action, and then to actually have a go at it too. It’s very simple and intuitive, but hard to master.

And this turns into a phoenix, of course.

And this turns into a phoenix, of course.
With the press of a button, you can flip to a traditional controller, so those without Kinect will be able to experience the visual and audio sensual blast as well. PlayStation 3 owners will also get a turn with a Move enabled version of the game due in September. There isn’t much to be said about the visuals or audio that cannot be taken from previous Mizuguchi works or by simply watching and listening to a video of the game, so you’re best off checking these out. You’ll know if it’s your thing straight away. The only thing to say is that it looks and sounds fantastic.

Q Entertainment and Mizuguchi have been very quiet in recent times, but when they have a title such as Child of Eden cooking away, the chefs aren’t to be disturbed. He was a pretty cool guy, very willing to listen to everybody and talk about his gaming philosophies. Child of Eden not only will be a visual and audio experience unlike any other, but it will hopefully provide the first compelling ‘core’ argument for use of Kinect. It might be lost on those who don’t think gaming exists outside of Call of Duty, those who fail to appreciate something diverse and creative or those who don’t like score-based incentive titles. However, if you were sold at the videos, you know exactly what you’ll be getting and chances are you’ll love it.
The unashamed spiritual successor to Rez, Child of Eden will be blowing your senses and giving you a new way to play rail shooters very soon.

Related Child of Eden Content

Child of Eden Review
24 Jun, 2011 In a sea of rhythm and colour, it's time to get lost in the synaesthesia...
Child of Eden launch trailer
15 Jun, 2011 Something good for Kinect...maybe?
Child of Eden Review
27 Sep, 2011 Synaesthesia returns home.
2 years ago
2 years ago
I guess I don't get the whole Kinect anticipation. This game is multiplatform, works with normal controllers and Move. I'm just not a fan of 'controller free' gaming (yes I have a Kinect in my house. Just don't like it).
2 years ago
Very excited to hear that Genki Rockets is involved. It's like, convinced me even more to buy this game.
2 years ago
Great preview. The more I read about this the more I want it!
2 years ago
Game sounds beautiful, also tried some Genki Rockets songs on youtube and I'm hooked!

Mizuguchi is a musical magician.

Let's all pretend that the orginal Ninety Nine Nights was not created by him icon_razz.gif and that he didn't call it one of his 'best games'. Hell let's all assume it was all Tak Fuji's doing icon_razz.gif
2 years ago
Hey I liked Ninety Nine Nights.
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Australian Release Date:
  16/06/2011 (Confirmed)
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