Many of you might be familiar with the critically acclaimed rhythm game “DEEMO” on Android, iOS, and Nintendo Switch. Last month we got the opportunity to try out the reborn version of the game on Playstation 4 at Anime NYC, breathing new life to the game by transforming something originally in 2D, into 3D. This transition allowed the game developers at Rayark Inc. to also offer a new interesting way to play the game, giving it a Virtual Reality (VR) mode.
To learn more about the game’s new direction, its new music library, and also their recently announced movie adaptation of DEEMO, we sat down with Ming-Yang Yu, the CEO of Rayark Inc. to discuss all the new features.
About DEEMO -Reborn-:
Rayark’s classic game DEEMO is reborn on the PS4 console with a brand-new look.
Having both TV/VR mode, this title allows you to immerse in the fantastical music performances and adventurous world explorations.
A girl who fell from the skies and lost her past
Deemo who plays the piano all alone in the world of the treehouse
an accidental encounter between the two.
The music flows as the fingers hit the piano keys.
The start of a fairytale journey has begun…
‘Before turning to leave, don’t forget to say one last goodbye.’
Before talking about your new game DEEMO -Reborn- we wanted to first touch on the DEEMO movie you announced yesterday. The movie is based on the story of your original game “DEEMO”, what is the reason you wanted to adapt it into a movie?
We also wanted to tell the story through different forms of media, and I think movies are one of the best mediums to tell a complete story with. I’m also very thankful for Pony Canyon’s involvement who made all this possible.
Is there a chance we might see your other rhythm game like Cytus II turn into a movie too?
[Laughs] Yeah, we hope so!
The new movie has Yuki Kajiura creating the theme song, she is well known for composing music for the unit Kalafina, as well as anime like Sword Art Online. What made her the perfect fit?
Yeah, she’s definitely one of the superstars! Since DEEMO’s story is a little sad and warm at the same time, I just thought that her songs would be a perfect fit for the atmosphere of this series. I think they go together great.
The DEEMO -Reborn- theme song by Yuki Kajiura can be heard in the movie trailer.
So about your latest game DEEMO -Reborn- on Playstation 4. Unlike the original DEEMO which is 2D and only available on handheld touch devices, the new game is 3D and adds the option to experience it in VR. Were there any restrictions you wanted to break out of when going from 2D to 3D?
With a mobile phone, the time in which a player spends on a game is in fractions. You just play maybe 10 minutes, or 30 minutes, when you’re waiting for the bus or something. But with a console game, you’re fully focused on playing the game. Thus, the game design had to be different, especially with DEEMO -Reborn-, we added a lot of puzzle-solving. It’s about 50 percent of that, and 50 percent of an adventure-type game. I think that’ll be a good surprise for the players.
You’ve teased DEEMO -Reborn- with the quote “The answer to all the questions, shall be Reborn through the sound of the piano”. What does this imply?
I believe with DEEMO -Reborn-, you can discover a mysterious world with your own eyes and see all the details of the game, especially in VR mode. We did a lot of work to further complete the illustrations from the original DEEMO game, to turn them into 3D models while still maintaining a consistent recognizable style for the players. We didn’t want the players to feel like they’re playing a different game, we want them to feel that “This is DEEMO, and this is the complete reality”.
Rhythm game players are used to tactile controllers or touch screens, but with DEEMO -Reborn- you hit the notes by swinging the PlayStation Move controllers in the air. What challenges did you face when transitioning to this type of controller?
We used a lot of effort to allow players to feel like they’re playing a real instrument. For example, we used vibration as feedback to create a more immersive feeling of what you’d feel if you were playing a real piano.
What other ways of playing the game did you explore?
As we aimed to recreate the feeling of playing the piano in a VR world, there were only just a few choices I had in mind. We looked at what was offered in the PC world and found Oculus and HTC Vive, but they’re all similar in my mind, they’re just hand controllers.
What we’re using on Playstation VR is its vibrate feedback, and we feel that it is a good solution because it feels like you’re touching something. There is a virtual keyboard in the game and when you touch the keys, you experience the feedback.
Before the game was launched, the collaboration with EGOIST was revealed. How did this collaboration come to be and why did you choose EGOIST?
EGOIST are great musicians! But also, our publisher is Unties who is under Sony Music Entertainment. Because EGOIST is also under Sony Music, they were able to make this happen for us. We feel that this is a great collaboration!
How does the song library differ compared to the original DEEMO? Will you keep the same direction in terms of the songs you include?
About half of the songs are new and are exclusive to DEEMO -Reborn-. We also made more songs that feature vocals for the game, so I think the players will love that feature.
Lastly, we at JROCK NEWS love Japanese games and seeing how Rayark Inc. is a company founded in Taipei, we were curious to ask why you decided to include so much Japanese influences in all of your games, including DEEMO?
I think most, if not all Asian children grew up watching Japanese anime and reading Japanese manga. So I think the cultural influence had a huge impact on us. When we were creating the game, we aimed to implement some Japanese styles.
Big thanks to the friendly Ming-Yang Yu for taking his time to speak with us, we look forward to seeing more exciting games the team at Rayark will develop!
In the past, we already crowned Rayark’s Cytus II as our favorite mobile rhythm game, so make sure to give it a try too!