Interview: Suda 51
He is arguably the most unique voice in the mainstream industry, and a convincing argument for the existence of the auteur in game design. He is also the CEO of one of the fastest growing and most progressive studios in Japan. We sit down with Grasshopper Manufacture’s Goichi Suda to discuss the balance between the commercial and the creative.
NowGamer: A lot of your fans really like the rough edges on your games – it’s what gives them personality. Do you understand that?
Suda 51: [In No More Heroes] I put in a lot of things that inspired me, and I think some people didn’t understand it because there were so many ideas in one game. What do you think of the differences?
Well, it’s a smoother experience, but one of the endearing things in No More Heroes was the roughness…
I understand what you mean, but I tried my best on No More Heroes 2.
Travis Touchdown has changed. He attained his heroic status, but he no longer wants it. Is that a comment on the way you’ve changed, or the way that gamers have changed?
In No More Heroes, Travis’s goal is simpler to understand, but I wanted to create something different with No More Heroes 2, to give him more anger, to give him different reasons to fight against the bosses. Revenge is another theme for No More Heroes 2.
You’ve said that NMH2 will be the end of Travis Touchdown’s character. Do you still rule out continuing the character’s story?
I want to conclude Travis Touchdown’s story with this game. But No More Heroes 2 is really for fans of the first one, so if I get a lot of response from the fans asking for a No More Heroes 3 – and as long as Rising Star make a lot of sales (glances at Rising Star PR) – then it’s possible that we could do a third game.
Well, after every Metal Gear Solid game, Hideo Kojima always says that he’ll never make another, and then does anyway. Are we going to be talking about a NMH game with Travis as a 60 year-old man in ten years time?
I think the reason that Kojima keeps on making Metal Gear Solid games is because he gets so many requests from his fans, and people who want to see more Snake. If people sincerely want to see more Travis Touchdown, I think it’s my responsibility to meet their requests.
Do services like PSN, WiiWare appeal to you? They allow designers to realise more experimental ideas, and make smaller games.
I’m hoping to do so in future. Right now, I’m focussed on the game for EA and I don’t have time for anything else. Maybe someone else within the Grasshopper team without a lot of experience but a lot of ideas, it could be a good way to get them to try something of their own.
How is the collaboration with Mikami going?
I’m really enjoying working with Mikami-san. I think he looks like Eminem. He doesn’t think so, but these days he wears a hat all the time that makes him look even more like Eminem.
You can read the full Suda 51 interview in games™ issue 95. Out 15 April.