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Suda 51 wants Grasshopper Manufacture to be like real grasshoppers


Grasshopper Manufacture revealed a major change in its development strategy during the Tokyo Game Show this year. Of the eight different games on display, the majority were downloadable titles, including high-profile titles like Sine Mora, Black Knight Sword and Diabolical Pitch. During the show, we managed to snag some time with Grasshopper's CEO, Goichi Suda, more commonly known as Suda 51.

During our chat, we discussed Grasshopper's new direction, Sdatcher and even the possibility of a collaboration between Grasshopper and Kojima Productions. Suda's ultimate goal? For Grasshopper Manufacture to become more like actual grasshoppers.

"We are definitely developing consumer games as well as social network games and then downloadable [games]," Suda told us, pointing to Grasshopper's TGS press event, the first such event that the company has hosted, and noting that the eight titles on display were for a wide variety of markets.

Regarding the strategy shift, Suda found the traditional retail release cycle to be "sporadic," something he was determined to change. "We want to be able to provide games anywhere, everywhere, so that's where we are," he said. "I was a little bit concerned about the wait time people had to endure, so that's why we wanted to quicken this cycle of release."

Suda then went on to paint an odd metaphor, saying that he hopes Grasshopper Manufacture's games become as ubiquitous as the insect itself. "Just like grasshoppers, you will see them probably in your neighborhood. You can probably see them around here as well. We want to be like grasshoppers, that can be found anywhere."

Another aspect of the new push for downloadable games, as mentioned to us by Theodore Reiker of Digital Reality – Grasshopper's publishing partner for Black Knight Sword and Sine Mora – is that a game like Black Knight Sword allows Suda to cut loose and pursue different ideas. "If you're working on high budget consumer games, you really cannot fail," said Suda, adding that, "for smaller titles you get a little bit more relaxed, and it allows you to experiment more."

Among Grasshopper's other current projects, Sdatcher – a web-only radio drama set in the universe of Hideo Kojima's cult classic Snatcher, – may be the strangest. Suda noted that the project has been "really fun and interesting" and that it's "a good way to introduce radio drama to a younger audience" that might not be familiar with the art form. He also boasted about the well-known actors the program has garnered. We asked if any actors had approached Grasshopper after hearing about Sdatcher. "Yeah, actually, there was one," said Suda. "I've already got him on the show. His name is Suda 51 and he's pretty good," he joked, "I was surprised."

Regarding the creation of Sdatcher itself, Suda noted that he's a fan of both Snatcher and Hideo Kojima, adding that Snatcher was how he first became familiar with Kojima. "His name is actually the first one I remember from the video game industry, so I have a lot of good memories."

With Kojima seemingly collaborating on several projects these days, we asked about the possibility a project between Kojima Productions and Grasshopper. "I think it's really all about timing. Kojima is busy, Kojima Productions is busy, but if we have the right moment, sure," he said, jokingly adding that Joystiq should drum up some publicity around the idea. Incidentally, that was also his response when we asked if there will ever be an official English translation of Sdatcher. We're doing our best, Suda!

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