Keiichi Yano, co-founder of Japanese music game specialist iNiS, has told Develop how its upcoming singing game Lips - a chief component of Microsoft's casual push for the Xbox 360 - will let players appreciate music like never before.
Speaking to us in an extensive interview at the studio's Tokyo offices - a small part of which you might have seen in the latest issue of the magazine - Yano said: "What’s awesome about Lips, I think, is that you discover the true essence about what is great about a certain song. You look at certain things and you go, ‘I really like this phrase, and that’s why I like this song'; it’s half a rediscovery, it’s half a digestion of the song in a different way.
"You pick up things that you might not have realised if you’d just listened to it – through singing, you recognise certain nuances that you wouldn’t have noticed before. The game helps to accentuate that because of the fact that it is trying to score you. And you pick up on that, and it's like ‘Oh, that’s a really cool part of this song, I really like singing this bit’."
Yano highlights that it's for this reason that music-based games - be they voice-based like SingStar or instrument-based like Guitar Hero and Rock Band - have gained the popularity that they have; because applying interactivity to music helps gamers feel closer to the original musicians.
"Because you’re interacting with it," he says, "it’s a different feel, and I think it’s a different relationship between the musician that’s playing the music versus the user that’s actually hearing it. When you start doing it yourself, you start getting closer in to the hues of the musician that originally wrote the song, and you understand the emotional nuances behind their creative decisions. I think we bring that out really well in this game, and in that way I really can’t wait for people to sing against our system. I think they’ll learn that they might like a song because of a different reason than they did before."
For more on how Yano thinks iNiS can differentiate Lips from the other singing games, and how bringing spectators into the experience can help people feel comfortable with singing, check out part one of our interview - and stay tuned for parts two and three later this week.