The launch of Rez Infinite on PC earlier this month came as something of a surprise.
Following the return of the iconic and trippy title on PS4 and PlayStation VR last October, little had been heard from Enhance Games, the company behind it.
But there was good reason to release the title with no forewarning.
“The exclusivity with PS4 and PSVR was timed,” Enhance founder and development legend Tetsuya Mizuguchi tells PCGamesInsider.biz.
“So we monitored some other timed exclusive VR games that made their way onto Steam later on and saw that some people followed the initial news announcement, but by the time the titles came out on Steam or Oculus, the momentum had slightly decreased for one reason or another.
“We just really wanted to surprise people, and the reaction to the PC version was awesome.”
As well as PlayStation 4, Rez has also been on Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 as well as Xbox Live Arcade. But the title became trapped on those platforms once they became obsolete – something that the PC version will no longer allow.
“One of the big motivations to bring Rez Infinite to PC this time around was that the game has been described as timeless,” Mizuguchi says.
“We wanted it to live on regardless of platform. Bringing it onto PC would help us reach a larger audience, but it also meant that the game would never 'expire' in the way that it has with the Dreamcast or Xbox versions.”
He continues: “We want Rez to live for as long as possible – this project has allowed us to finally bring it to the PC. We're super excited about that because it won't become obsolete. That was a goal that we wanted to reach and accomplish, and we're very satisfied with that.”
As well as remastering the original release, Mizuguchi and his team wanted to explore what they could add to the game using current technology.
“Rez is my life’s work – we spent one and a half years just on pre-production for Infinite,” he explains.
“I wanted to convert and remaster it to the current tech, as well as making a new experience using new technology. That became the Area X stage, which was very exciting.
“We wanted to keep the original Rez concept but use new types of technology, like Unreal Engine and VR, and figure out what new experiences we can make.
“It's no longer a rail shooter, and there's no motion sickness at all.”
As a result of releasing two new versions of Rez Infinite, the last year has been pretty hectic for Enhance – especially when you consider that the company isn’t exactly big.
“You can count the core Enhance team on one hand,” Mizuguchi says.
“It's a really small team, but we have alliances with our content developers. We form partnerships with developers for specific projects, like Monstars on Rez Infinite. That happens to be a studio created by former colleagues from my Q Entertainment days. But we're not limited to just working with them.
“In the future, we will look for the right content developers who can work well with that concept.”
This scale – with a small company working alongside others to make games – was a reaction to Mizuguchi’s days working at big companies such as Sega.
“I’ve tried many styles but there are so many people at a big company that the creative powered is diminished,” he explains.
“Everybody gets a salary from the company, but there's little effort. So we decided to change everything. This is an experiment. Making your own studio or working as a solo artist and creator on a game is healthy. You have to make a lot of effort on your own and manage yourself. I don't want lots of managers. Fewer people means higher creativity – everyone is busy but happy.”
He continues: “The games industry should change. 15 years ago that was impossible, but now we can do it thanks to game engines like Unity and Unreal, as well as digital publishing.
“We are a five-person publisher. We are doing all our global marketing and publishing because we have digital technology.”