Inside the creative minds of Humanity developers Yugo Nakamura and Tetsuya Mizuguchi

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Shuhei Yoshida chats with Yugo Nakamura, creative director, art director, designer, and narrative designer for Humanity, and Tetsuya Mizuguchi, executive producer for Humanity, on how the title delivers a new puzzle game experience. They discuss the thought process behind the creation of Humanity as a new form of interactive experience and how they came up with the game’s main theme. 

Humanity is available starting today as a Day 1 PlayStation Plus Game Catalog title.*

Inside the creative minds of Humanity developers Yugo Nakamura and Tetsuya Mizuguchi

Inspired by the “flocking behavior of birds”

Shuhei Yoshida (SY): I heard that Nakamura-san likes to observe flocks of birds, and that’s where you found inspiration for Humanity. Can you tell us more about that? 

Yugo Nakamura(YN): I specialize in Interactive Design, and I like to spend my time programming, sharing my work, and creating visual experiences; I enjoy these things and that’s why I do them for a living. I think a lot of people like me have used a simulation program called “Boids,” which essentially simulates the flocking behavior of birds. If you focus on just a single creature, you’re able to create very organic movements just by programming three simple rules and connecting them. But in the case of birds, the simulation looked so alive, and it was fascinating to see how organically the flock of birds moved, even though it was based on such a simple mechanism. 

From there, I spent some time making a bite-size mobile game that used simple bird movements as motifs. It was like a racing game where you control a flock of birds. 

SY: It’s the one where you try to progress further into the game, right?

YN: Yes. In a regular racing game, you’re only responsible for controlling one car, but in this game, you basically had to control 300 different cars. If you made a small mistake, you lost 100 birds, but then eventually gained back 200!

SY: Game developers like us are always looking to surprise people by creating something that goes above and beyond what you’d expect from a hardware’s capabilities. So when I saw your game, I felt something similar. 

YN: I had similar thoughts as a consumer myself. I was shocked at how smoothly games ran back on the original PlayStation, and I thought that was such a great achievement. From there, I decided that since I already made a game with birds on a smartphone, next I wanted to create a system that controlled large groups of humans. That’s how the idea for Humanity was born. 

(For Southeast Asia) PlayStation Plus Game Catalog lineup for May: Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, Humanity, Watch Dogs: Legion

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Today we’re happy to reveal the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog for May 2023. All games will be available on Tuesday May 16. Let’s dive in.

PlayStation Plus Extra and Deluxe | Game Catalog

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart | PS5

Blast your way through an interdimensional adventure. Go dimension-hopping with Ratchet and Clank as they take on an evil emperor from another reality. Jump between action-packed worlds, and beyond at mind-blowing speeds – complete with dazzling visuals and an insane arsenal – as the intergalactic adventurers blast onto the PS5 console.

Recreating Tolkien’s world for The Lord of the Rings: Gollum, out May 25

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“Why didn’t the Eagles just take the One Ring and drop it into Mount Doom?” Well, as developers working on a “Lord of the Rings” game, let me tell you exactly why: because it gave us the opportunity to explore and immerse ourselves in a rich and complex universe! 

In creating The Lord of the Rings: Gollum our motto has been to honor the way J. R. R. Tolkien looked at the richness of the world he had created, using his vision as a guidepost for our visual interpretation of his world.

Tolkien always wanted other artists to bring his writings to life and continue the creation of his great English myth. Of course, he didn’t have video games in mind back then. But his passion for meticulous detail, the history, languages, and names that he used to populate Middle-earth has always inspired our industry. Whether we realize it or not, all game creators owe a lot to Tolkien’s writings.

Following Gollum’s journey, we had the opportunity to explore parts of the world that we had never seen in such detail before. We started with everything we could find in the lore. Then we filled in the gaps with our own ideas and knowledge about the cultures and peoples who lived in these places.

For example, for the mighty fortress of Barad-dûr, we wanted to emphasize the huge scale and the stark contrast to our small hero. We imagined that the fortress was constantly expanding and changing. The builders could not keep up with the speed and size of their ever-growing walls and towers. Everything around the perfectly shaped main tower became increasingly chaotic.

One example is this service bridge that crosses the tower’s enormous moat, and that the builders probably meant to be straight:

While Mordor is an iconic and recognizable place with its dark volcanic rocks and reddish lights, designing Thranduil’s palace in Mirkwood was more challenging.

The contrast is intentional. While Mordor is spiky, Thranduil’s halls feature round shapes. While Barad-dûr tries to dominate and transform its environment, the Elvish buildings preserve and respect the shape of the mountain. It’s a harmonious interplay between architecture and nature. Welcoming instead of threatening. A place that repels Gollum but attracts Sméagol. Water, his native element, is everywhere and comes alive in different forms.

King Thranduil’s chambers were another fascinating place to create. The King likes to ride out at night and hunt under the stars. His rooms are decorated like a dreamy night forest, more symbolic than functional. The King’s bed is like a ceremonial boat on a river, where he only occasionally boards to have dreams and visions.

Working on this game has been both a great honor and a big responsibility. We felt a lot of excitement and nervousness when we started this adventure together. How would it all turn out? Would it feel right in the end? And we feel a similar excitement and nervousness now that we are about to share it with all of you.

Unleash your creativity in Humanity with the stage creator

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Un-leash. Get it!? Dog-gone it! Anything? To be more on the nose, you play as a Shiba Inu in Humanity, available on PS5 and PS4 starting tomorrow and available as a Day 1 release in the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog. With the game’s launch less than a day away, we wanted to celebrate and maybe inspire you to check out the Stage Creator by sharing this PlayStation logo-inspired stage with you. 

Building a PlayStation logo-themed stage

Using Humanity’s ultra-intuitive editor, you can let your imagination run wild. Whatever you’re in the mood for, a perplexing puzzle or a relaxing work of art, it’s easy to make it inside Humanity. The absolute best part is when you’re finished, you can share your creations with the world!

Get to know the Palette menu, which has everything you need to construct a stage. The basic building blocks of any level are…well, Blocks! To create the PlayStation stage you see here, we used the static (non-moving) and motorized (can be made to move along a pre-planned route) types, but many more options are available for your custom level. All you need are some Blocks, humans, and a Goal to send them to. If you have those three things, you’ve got yourself a working level! If you get stuck or need some help, the Stage Creator includes an extensive library of tutorial videos to assist you every step of the way. 

We’ll start by drawing the ‘S’ in the ‘PS’ logo. This will be the base for our puzzle. Next, we’ll create a pathway for the humans to walk on while avoiding the Others walking below and trying to stop us from collecting that precious Goldy. Finally, the ‘S’ snakes around and attaches to the back of a towering letter ‘P.’

That’s one giant PlayStation logo! 

Ahhhh, we forgot to add an essential piece! So, let’s bring up the Palette and drop in a Boulder. There, now it looks like it’s got a “registered” symbol. You didn’t see that one coming, huh? Get creative and don’t forget to have fun when designing your level!

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Official PlayStation Podcast Episode 457: Oh the Humanity

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Hey y’all! This week, Executive Producer at Enhance Games Mark MacDonald stops by to discuss Humanity and strategy for the unique puzzler. Plus the team dives into their personal approaches to challenging puzzle games.

Stuff We Talked About

  • DualSense Edge wireless controller
  • Gran Turismo World Series 2023
  • Players’ Choice Winner – Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
  • PS Plus Catalog May
  • MLB The Show 23 Season 2 – Kaiju Series
  • Interview with Mark MacDonald (starts at 10:20)
  • Humanity

The Cast


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