It’s a miracle humanity exists – and perhaps fate

Thousands of humans climb minimal ladders and jump into gravity-defying columns of water in Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Origin of Humanity (video game) looks like the end of humanity (concept).

Visual director Yugo Nakamura and his team of creatives asked a simple question: “How many digital people can we put on screen at once?” To find the answer, they created Humanity: A sterile, brutalist world in which endless streams of humans march up, down and around giant structures before falling underground.

Above this point, Humanity Wasn’t much of a game. Nor was it created by game developers – not in the traditional sense.

The designers are part of Thao, a Japanese creative firm that does everything from reimagining Tokyo’s public toilets and Uniqlo’s blocky branding to experimental fashion and experimental art installations.

Their jobs may seem fun, but even the people who get paid to imagine the bathrooms of the future need a break. Every job, after all, is still a job. Or as Nakamura puts it, “It’s always important to have something else [to focus on], not just everyday desk assignments. Something to have fun and be curious about and push things to lead to future projects.

And so the side thing, in 2017, was to put as many people on screen as possible. And in most versions of the story, Humanity It will remain the same – a side item removed to a folder on some office PC.

Also Humanity That’s what happens when you have time to experiment, when you share your ideas with the world, and when you get lucky (or get lucky) and get the support of one of the most iconic video game creators in the history of the medium.

Thousands of humans climb minimal ladders and jump into gravity-defying columns of water in Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance.

Image: Tha/Enhance

Unsure of what would come next for their visual innovation, and unwilling to compost it, the team at Tha presented a visual demo to a panel of judges at the Unity Festival in Tokyo – one of whom was Tetsuya Mizuguchi. If you don’t already know Mizuguchi by name, you know the games he helped create: Rez, Lumins, Xteri Extended ExtraAnd most recently and perhaps most famously, Tetris effect. He is the founder and CEO of Enhance, a video game publisher/experiential art creative studio.

Mizuguchi has used Enhance (and its virtues) to help other projects get off the ground and through development. Sometimes it’s a logical project, like modernizing the greatest puzzle game of all time. Sometimes it’s more abstract, like the R&D lab “focusing on the architecture of synesthesia and other multi-sensory experiences.” In this case, it’s somewhere in the middle: transforming imaginative visual art into a playable, entirely new video game.

“We can call [seeing that early art] “All about luck or chance or timing, but I believe it was meant to be,” says Mizuguchi. Yugo-san said that the tech demo was out of curiosity. But I do not take this word lightly. Curiosity leads to something. When we met, I felt a strong desire to make it [something more]. Not to say that his other work doesn’t have that feeling, but I felt that he wanted to create an experience that was unlike anything he had done before.

“I felt that if I give this guy the tools and resources to make a game, he already has the core sensibilities to do it. I saw in his mannerisms and eyes that he was not going to miss this opportunity.

Mizuguchi was right that Nakamura could and would see Humanity to complete. But neither artist expected the project to take five years, with Mizuguchi as executive producers and Nakamura overseeing creative direction, art direction and design. (Although, maybe they should expect at least five years of development time, but literally the game is named after the idea of ​​our shared consciousness.)

HumanityBecause it lives up to a month before release, it’s a puzzle game that’s visually reminiscent Lemmings (a flock of followers, following your guidance even as they fall to their demise) and creatively echoing Choo Choo Rocket (Place arrows to lead unconscious men to safety). Each stage is a separate puzzle and can be completed in several ways. Some are relatively simple. But for perfectionists who want to collect giant golden men standing in corners or on seemingly out-of-reach podiums, there are much more challenging paths.

As the game progresses, the player gets new directions to give his human stream, asking them to jump high or long jump or dive into perfectly geometric pillars of water and swim to the other side. And goals change too. For example, the endless flow of people sometimes becomes finite, creating the key to existence and time.

Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance, features a glowing, white Shiba Inu standing on a stone block.

Image: Tha/Enhance

Did I mention you, the player, are represented as a dog? An ethereal Shiba Inu, to be exact. You bark with authority and people obey.

It is, as you have already guessed, a strange game. I’m still early, and have many questions. What’s happening to the liminal space between missions, where all my people and golden statues — known as goldies — linger as if awaiting rapture? And how in the hell am I going to complete some of these stages – let alone the user-created stages that will be generated once the game’s level maker tool goes live? I’m overwhelmed by the game and I’m not the one who had to spend the last half decade making it.

Before the end of my interview with Nakamura, I asked if he would do it all over again. If only he knew when he asked that simple question – how many people can I fit on the screen? – that he’ll eventually have to make an entire video game that’s much bigger and weirder and more daring.

Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance, features a giant orb of human bodies floating above golden “Goldie” statues.

Image: Tha/Enhance

A new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhance, Humanity features a hulking cube of human flesh floating above golden statues.

Image: Tha/Enhance

Humanity, the new PlayStation/PC collaboration between Tha and Tetsuya Mizuguchi's Enhanced, features crowds of faceless people and towering golden statues.

Image: Tha/Enhance

“In life and in general, you don’t know what you don’t know.” Nakamura says. “I jumped into this without knowing the depth and challenges and effort involved in making a game. If I had known that from the start, I’m not sure I would have gone that route. Now I know, making a game is extremely difficult. And yet, he seems to have no regrets, often expressing his gratitude for the opportunity.

“[At Enhance] We crave creative work that is very unique,” ​​says Mizuguchi. “We want to support and discover new artists along the way – with similar values. If we find their work, we want to showcase it to a larger audience. It hasn’t changed [since the founding of Enhance]. It will always be a path that we find.

#miracle #humanity #exists #fate

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