Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-06-17 17:18 JST)
Artist and music producer Tsunku recently retweeted a fan request to release a Rhythm Heaven game on the Nintendo Switch, adding, “This!” Tsunku periodically expresses his love for the series and has once again shown that his passion hasn’t waned.
Rhythm Heaven is a rhythm game series made by Nintendo that began with a project plan brought to the company by Tsunku (Iwata Asks). Developed in cooperation with the team behind WarioWare, the first title Rhythm Tengoku released in Japan for the Game Boy Advance in 2006. Following that was Rhythm Tengoku Gold for the DS, known simply as Rhythm Heaven outside of Japan, Rhythm Heaven Fever, and Rhythm Heaven Megamix. But since the release of Rhythm Heaven Megamix in 2015, there’s been no news on the series despite its creator Tsunku continuing to express his desire to make a sequel on social media.
Tsunku also showed his interest in making a new Rhythm Heaven title when retweeting an article about the game in 2019. In April of 2020, he asked fans what features they would like to see in a new game and commented in July of the same year that he wants to put out another game continuing the trend of making appeals for the series. In addition to planning and producing, Tsunku is also a composer for the series, and we can see his love and passion for it is still going strong.
It’s unknown why the Rhythm Heaven series has seemingly been put on hold. Rhythm Heaven Megamix sold 700,000 copies in Japan alone which wasn’t bad at all for the time. The series’ foundation is there and Tsunku seems to be onboard with the idea of a new game, so it looks like there wouldn’t be a problem. But when such a prominent member of the team is making appeals for the series online, it supports the theory that nothing is currently going on with it. Furthermore, we can see other key members of the original staff have gone on to work on separate projects.
First is Rhythm Tengoku and Rhythm Heaven chief director Kazuyoshi Osawa who doesn’t seem to have been credited on any games for some time now. Osawa was called the series’ “chief mastermind” in an Iwata Asks interview and was involved in a number of aspects to bring the series to life (Iwata Asks). As far as we can tell, Osawa’s most recent development credit on a Nintendo game is Wii Play: Motion.
Next is sound director Masami Yone who was also involved in Rhythm Heaven Fever and took over for Osawa as director for Rhythm Heaven Megamix. However, since Megamix, Yone seems to be working with a different team besides the WarioWare team on games like Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training for Nintendo Switch and Big Brain Academy: Brain vs. Brain.
Kou Takeuchi, who’s importance to the Rhythm Heaven team was touted by Osawa in the Iwata Asks interview, is still going strong with games like WarioWare: Get It Together!. But other key members of the small team like Kyohei Seki and Takafumi Masaoka appear to be active at separate areas within Nintendo.
Of course, they could use younger staff members, a new team, or even subcontract another company. But with the absence of a key figure like Osawa and the other early team members working in other areas, it doesn’t look like there’s much movement in way of a new title.
Despite not getting any new titles lately, the series has shown itself to be popular in recent years, with numerous YouTube and TikTok videos being made by young content creators. Rhythm Heaven seems poised to see even greater popularity if it were released on the Nintendo Switch. While many wish for the series to return, perhaps there’s a reason it hasn’t. With Rhythm Heaven being beloved by both Tsunku and the fans, we hope to see a revival somewhere down the line.