GDC 2019

Tetris Effect's Cut Modes Included A Rock Band-Style Puzzler

by Imran Khan on Mar 21, 2019 at 01:15 PM

During the Game Developer's Conference panel for Tetris Effect, the psychedelic and absorbing version of Tetris released for PlayStation 4 last year, Enhance Games producer Mark MacDonald went into a little detail about the game's cutting room floor. While the game boasts a number of modes for different takes on the Tetris formula without compromising the Tetris formula, there were a few modes that didn't quite make the cut either because they couldn't make it work or it would just take too much work.

Unfortunately, Enhance Games was very specific that we could not take pictures of or record any part of the presentation, so description will have to do.

The biggest mode that didn't make it is a Rock Band-style mode that would have let players switch between different instruments and create music using the effects from the game. So moving blocks, dropping them, etc. would create different sounds with the instrument you had selected, similarly to the way the gameplay works in concert with the music in the main game. MacDonald showed off guitar, bass guitar, drums, piano, and voice, though he explained getting voice to sound right beyond just incoherent yelling was not working right when they decided to the cut the mode. Unfortunately, this Rock Band mode would have needed as much work as a full game unto itself, so it had to be cut mainly for that reason.

Another kind of similar mode was built around the idea of creating lyrics to the music through clearing lines. Like the Virus mode in the game, small non-Tetromino pieces were strewn throughout the board, in this case hearts. When the hearts are cleared, different lyrics would pop up on screen and in the audio, allowing users to construct their own song through their puzzle mode. This also didn't really come together, so it was removed before the game released.

Finally, during Tetris Effect's weekly community events, Enhance planned to have players build statues and structures together. The example MacDonald showed was players working together to build an astronaut who, when completed, would start dancing the hustle, thus leading to the name "Disco Astronaut." Disco Astronaut did not make it to release, as Enhance quickly realized that making one of these every week for a year was absolutely unfeasible.

Multiplayer was also considered for Tetris Effect, but the team was not very into the idea, so they ultimately scrapped it. MacDonald confessed they "did not have any brilliant Tetris 99-like ideas" for it, so it went into the bin.

We at least got a number of really cool modes out of what is undoubtedly one of the best Tetris games ever made, so it's easy not to worry too much about the road not taken. Tetris Effect is currently available for PlayStation 4.