The work of multimedia artist Baiyon never ceases to leave a memorable impression.
He’s most famous for creating the intricate multicoloured backgrounds and sensory splendour of Q-Games’ PixelJunk Eden, and, more recently, his work on LittleBigPlanet 2.
Based in Kyoto, Japan, this industrious graphic artist, sound producer and DJ had games in mind long before he contributed to his first title. For him, it’s the combination of audio, visuals and interactivity that establish a “holistic artistic vision.”
And the flurry of nominations for PixelJunk Eden’s audio-visual design, as well as a spot in Game Developer’s 50 important game industry persons of 2009, confirms him as a talent to follow.
Baiyon talks to Develop about his fascination with creating, and enjoying, audio-visual treats.
Can you briefly explain how you became involved in the games industry?
I met Dylan Cuthbert, the founder of Q-Games, at a party hosted by a friend of mine who is a graphic designer from Kyoto. Originally, games were always in my mind as source of inspiration in making music and graphic designs. I have been always interested in games in the sense that games could bring me the possibility of wider ways of expressing my world in the fusion between sounds and visual images.
When I talked about this perspective with him, he suggested that we should do something together since he had an idea for a very interesting series. That was the PixelJunk series. Subsequently I worked on PixelJunk Eden in the first collaboration with Q-Games. Since then, I have been actively involved in the game industry.
Your audio-visual creations would certainly be considered art by themselves. So how do you feel about the ‘games as art’ debate?
I don’t have an answer to this question to be honest. All I can say is that games are as important a media for my expression activity as music and graphics.
You’re currently working on PixelJunk Lifelike, a PlayStation Move title which you say is really a music visualiser. You also said you’re still searching for what it is. How do you want players to connect with it in terms of feeling?
I am just hoping to deliver such a new experience as dynamic and emotional touch of my work to all the players.
What game do you like to put on specifically to listen to its music - or perhaps simply for its visuals?
There is a game called Mother which was released only in Japan (Mother 2 was released overseas in the name of Earth Bound, though). I love the song played in the scene where people dance in the hall and save the game just before the scene begins to watch it anytime I want.
But it is not only listening to the music, more like enjoying the scene including music. The Mother
After many years of my wish, I released an EP from my own label Descanso last year in collaboration with Hip Tanaka, who produced Mother’s soundtrack with Keiichi Suzuki. It was one of the best things that happened in my life. Please check it out at iTunes and Beatport if you are interested. series is incredible in everything, such as music, its perspective of the world, story and game characteristics.