Interview: Mizuki Hosoyamada on Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop & Working with Apple

    Recently, Final Weapon had the chance to chat with Hosoyamada-san, who is the Producer of the Puyo Puyo series. The latest game in the long-running series, Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop, was just recently released as an Apple Arcade exclusive. In this interview, we asked Hosoyamada-san about the title and his experience working with Apple. Please enjoy, and a special thanks to Hosoyamada-san for his time!

    Hosoyamada-san – thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions! We have loved our time with Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop, as well as many of the previous titles in the series. We’re grateful for the love and passion your team has poured into these projects. As the Producer of the Puyo Puyo series, how fulfilling has it been to see the series continue to grow over the years?

    Mizuki Hosoyamada: It’s difficult for an IP to stand the test of time, but Puyo Puyo is such an awesome series that I want people to continue to enjoy it long after I’m gone. It’s been going for 33 years, so hopefully it reaches its 40th, 50th, and even 100th anniversaries.

    I’ve been involved with the series since its 15th anniversary in 2006-18 years ago. Of course, all IPs-not just Puyo Puyo-have their ups and downs, but regardless I feel Puyo Puyo’s hardcore and newer fans really band together and bring hype to the series.

    It’s a really fun IP for me to develop for. I’ve experienced so many people expressing their gratitude for the game series, be it through letters saying that Puyo Puyo changed their life for the better, or through people coming up to me at Tokyo Game Show to say thank you.

    So in response to your question, it has been very fulfilling and rewarding to experience for myself first-hand how Puyo Puyo has made people smile and enjoy themselves so much.

    How did you and the team approach building Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop?

    Hosoyomada-san: Once development for Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 had finished and we were wondering where to take the series next, we remembered thinking it was a problem that Puyo Puyo wasn’t available globally on mobile devices. As we were considering that and other topics, Apple contacted us, which lead to us thinking about creating and ultimately releasing a game for Apple Arcade.

    The development was taken care of by the Puyo Puyo team, comprising several members, at the center of which were those who had worked on previous titles. We’re still working on development, because we have some updates coming out in the future.

    Mizuki Hosoyamada

    What elements from past Puyo Puyo games were the team most excited about bringing back in Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop?

    Hosoyomada-san: Particularly given how Puyo Puyo! 15th Anniversary and Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary didn’t have a worldwide release, for a long period we’ve had fans around the world clamoring for a game available in various languages. Sure Puyo Puyo Tetris 1 & 2 and Puyo Puyo Champions were released globally, but their core concepts differed to regular games, so we had to leave out quite a few features.

    This time around we’ve taken on the challenge of introducing and mixing up rules and modes that were only used previously in releases exclusive to Japan. For example, co-op mode is back, but not in the same form-we’ve switched things up. There’s a bunch of other stuff, too. We’ve really been trying our hardest to make the ultimate new Puyo Puyo game, so hopefully lots of people around the world enjoy it.

    SEGA has been an avid supporter of Apple Arcade with a number of titles, including Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop. Did the development team face any challenges while making the game work on a wide range of Apple Arcade-supported devices?

    Hosoyomada-san: Everything went pretty smoothly. We’ve always brought the Puyo Puyo series to various platforms, so, for example, we already had keyboard controls covered. And unlike the mobile-exclusive or console-exclusive games we’ve released in the past, we only had to adjust the basics for Apple’s devices and not several others at the same time. This, plus the fact that throughout the process Apple provided quick and thorough support, helped development proceed smoothly, too. It also helped having the development team for Samba de Amigo next to us-and even some members on our team-in case we had any questions.

    The biggest challenge was making the game available in 15 languages-something we hadn’t done for a Puyo Puyo game before.

    With the ability to play on so many devices, how has Apple Arcade benefitted the reach of Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop?

    Hosoyomada-san: We’ve received reactions from people all over the world-including from those who hadn’t played a Puyo Puyo game before-which provide valuable insights. The release of Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop will give so many more people the chance to play, so it’s an exciting time!

    As we were told the exact date and time of the Japan release, we were able to do a countdown on social media-something we’d never done before. That was a lot of fun, too.

    Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop Conclusion
    Screenshot of Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop

    Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop is a crucial step forward in introducing Puyo Puyo to more players outside of Japan. Is there anything else that Puyo Puyo fans around the world can look forward to after finishing Puyo Puyo Puzzle Pop? Where would you like to see the Puyo Puyo series go from here?

    Hosoyomada-san: We plan to release updates throughout the next several months following the game’s launch, so we hope that players enjoy the additional content.

    In Japan, there are lots of amateur and professional tournaments, and we’re planning an official SEGA tournament of our own, too. Most of the tournaments are streamed and then stored on YouTube, etc., so make sure you check out the huge chains and other great plays that the top players make.

    Also, if you’re new to Puyo Puyo, I recommend the console versions like Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, where you can get a real kick out of the differences in gameplay.

    In Japan, we almost take for granted the fact we hold tournaments, sell merch, and everything like that, so we are looking into bringing these things to a global audience. The more fans we have, the more likely we can make this a reality, so let’s do this!

    Last but not least, what is your favorite SEGA IP/property outside of Puyo Puyo and why?

    Hosoyomada-san: I have too many SEGA things to choose from, but my favorite has to be Sonic-I’ve got a lot of admiration for that IP. Of course, I also love Like a Dragon, Persona, PSO2, and so on. Before I joined SEGA, on Dreamcast I played a lot of Virtua Striker, Sonic Championship, Virtua Fighter, SEGA Rally, Tetris, Crazy Taxi, SpikeOut, and Sports Jam, among others. I have so many fond memories of playing games on Genesis, Saturn, GameGear, etc, too… It’s honestly really hard for me to pick a favorite. (I love them all!)

    Noah Hunter
    Noah Hunter
    Noah is Final Weapon’s Editor-in-Chief. He co-founded the website in June 2019 and has been writing for it ever since. In total, he has over five years of writing experience across many publications, including IGN Entertainment. His favorite series include Xeno and Final Fantasy.

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