Rhythm Heaven has shifted 1.5 million copies in Japan so far and looks set to repeat its success here in the West. However, not many people are aware that the brains behind this unique game is a 40 year-old J-Pop record producer previously famous for creating the all-girl Japanese super group Morning Musume.
Mitsuo Terada – better known as "Tsunku" – has spoken to Wired about how he was able to add ‘video game designer’ to his already impressive list of career successes.
Here’s a little taster:
My collaboration with Nintendo began with my submission of a game proposal. In Japan, with games that use rhythm and sound, it's long been the case that the placement of accents and the timing of button-presses has had nothing to do with music. For someone like myself, whose work revolves around music, this has never seemed right, and I wrote up my proposal in hopes of doing away with this. I also felt that without Nintendo's expertise, realizing my idea for a rhythm game would be impossible.
It wasn't like I really knew anyone with Nintendo, either. It was a bit risky, but my staff just took our proposal and approached them directly. Then, after numerous meetings and dance classes, I was able to convey my idea to the software engineers, and slowly, it became a reality. Rhythm Tengoku for Game Boy Advance was completed as a result, and two years later we expanded the idea with Rhythm Heaven for Nintendo DS.