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TGS 2009: Interview: Suda 51


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When we came into Marvelous Entertainment's hotel room, we witnessed another outlet recording a video interview with Suda 51, producer of No More Heroes and its sequel. Marvelous brought this, well, marvelous beam katana prop, which lights up and makes appropriately lightsabery noises, and someone pretended to attack him in the conclusion of the video interview. Suda gamely displayed mock fright at the beam katana attack for multiple takes while someone waved the device around in front of him.

All we did was ask him some questions about No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle and Grasshopper's other work.

Joystiq: First off, how many times today have people bopped you on the head with that thing?

Suda 51: I've been hit on the head with the beam katana the same number of times as there are people who went to Tokyo Game Show today.

There's a universal appeal to hitting someone on the head with it.

[Laughs.] It's dangerous.

No More Heroes 2 isn't on the show floor. Is there any reason?

The reason is that the Japanese publisher, Marvelous, doesn't have a booth this year. Maybe we should have it at the Ubisoft booth, but Marvelous is the publisher.

Also on the subject, the game wasn't on the stage at Ubisoft's E3 presentation either.

We didn't manage to have it on time at E3, but we had a demo at PAX. We managed to create a demo for PAX.

Have people been enjoying the demo? Good feedback?

It was shown during PAX and here to journalists who haven't played it, and yeah, we've gotten good feedback.

One issue that people had with the first No More Heroes was the open-world town of Santa Destroy. The general complaint was that there wasn't much to do. What's being done to address that?

I heard all the critiques from users about the open world. You can be sure for No More Heroes 2 that we'll fix it to some extent. But you'll find out later.

Do you think that those critiques were accurate? Is that something you agree with?

I always try to keep my ear open and listen to the users, and if I think that something is wrong with the open world, of course I'm going to fix it for the sequel. Basically, I listened to the user reviews and the fans about this one.

In a previous interview for the first game, you compared developing No More Heroes to going to the bathroom. What's a good metaphor for the development of the sequel?

For No More Heroes I got the idea when I was actually on the toilet, but for No More Heroes 2 this time I got the idea after I did what I had to do on the toilet. But still on the toilet.

No More Heroes 2 will support the Classic Controller. Is that mostly to attract the Monster Hunter audience?

That's correct, because in terms of the Japanese market, you see that Monster Hunter Tri was a big success here, and so you have to consider those fans who bought MH3 with the Classic Controller. After consulting Marvelous, we decided to make No More Heroes 2 compatible with the Classic Controller.

Some of the big appeal of No More Heroes comes from the satisfying finishing move motion. How does that work with the Classic Controller?

The most natural way to have this gameplay system with the slash move on the Classic Controller is to put the special move on the left analog stick. So now you don't move your hand anymore, you just move the analog stick in the right direction based on how it's written on the screen.

And regular attacks are still on a button?

Yes, and the normal attack is still on the A and B buttons.

The Classic Controller support would make it easier to port the game to other systems. Did that come into discussion at all?

You're right, but No More Heroes is a Wii title. So even though it's compatible with the Classic Controller, I'd still like you to enjoy it with the Wii Remote because that's how No More Heroes should be played.

How do the two new playable characters control? Do they control differently?

For example, in the case of Shinobu, the difference between her and Travis is that she can jump. There are differences in the way you fight too.

In this game, Travis is seeking revenge. Is there still a competition going on between assassins? Is he still climbing ranks?

He's going to fight to become Number 1 assassin again, but this time he's going to start from the 51 rank.

How did he lose his rank?

The ranking has been updated, and after the update, Travis ended up being at 51.

Are there 50 bosses?

I've prepared 50 bosses, now, will you fight every one or not? Maybe they'll kill each other. You'll have to play to find out.

As you get more famous in the game industry, do you feel more or less free to experiment and do new, weird things?

First, I'm really glad that people look at what I'm doing and look at new titles from Grasshopper. But I still feel that I make games as I like, so I don't feel that I've lost any freedom when I'm making a game. For me it's the same.

You've made adventure games like Flower, Sun, and Rain in the past. Any plans to go back to adventure?

If you look at the market as it is right now, just an adventure game without action ... that's kind of hard. Of course I haven't given up on adventure games, but I understand that you need to put some action features in it. So if we're talking about action adventure, of course I want to try to work on those kind of titles in the future. I'm not really done with adventure games, I just need to put a taste of action in it.

Speaking of adventure games, some time ago you started Project S with Kojima-san. It involved a radio drama, but is there more?

Yes, I'm going to continue the radio drama with Kojima-san. That's what I'm doing with him at the moment.

Any chance we'll ever get to hear that in English?

I don't know. That's something you'd have to check with Konami.

I was really interested in new Snatcher-related material, and also when I heard that you were involved, but ... I can't listen to it.

You are a fan of Snatcher? I think it's a really great game.

Every time there's a countdown on the Kojima Productions site, I hold out a bit of hope that maybe it'll be Snatcher this time.


Anything you can tell us about Kurayami?

There is no real update, sorry. (laughs)

Is it still in development?

It's not even in development right now.

Is it canceled?

We aren't even really working on it. We've just been talking about it, but there hasn't been time to work on it.

Recently, some sites rediscovered the artwork ...

Actually it was really just for Edge. The artwork was just something we submitted them. We're not working on this project yet. They had some special coverage about Grasshopper and we talked a little bit about Kurayami, and so we gave them some artwork.

When was that?

Three years ago.

A bunch of sites posted the artwork again, and for a while everyone thought it was new.

One day ... It's not canceled, I haven't given up on it. One day I'll have time to work on this title.

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