Suda51 Talks Killer Is Dead And Yakuza Riding Tigers
I’m really impressed by the style of Killer Is Dead, it’s so stylistic. What’s interesting to me is that a lot of the games being shown at the show because of next-gen are really focused on super-realism in their visual whereas yours takes a completely different direction, so I was wondering what does next-gen mean for you since your games don’t tend to require a lot of additional power?
I really feel every time a console comes out, there’s going to be a race towards realism. Everyone’s going to try and take what they see in their surroundings and incorporate that and create the most
If that’s what I would call a vertical evolution, I would like to say there’s also going to be a horizontal evolution in addition to that. Exploring the horizontal possibilities, not just the vertical increase in levels of realism, it’s going to really open up a whole slew of new ways to filter and abstract what we perceive and regurgitate. There’s going to be completely new ways to do that.
It seems most of the Xbox games we have currently are focused towards a Western audience and I’m wondering if that’s the reason that Xbox never really did well in Japan and it’s probably going to be the same… most of the things I’ve seen on Xbox One are very Western focused. I was wondering what you knew about Xbox’s plans for Japan. When Xbox 360 first came out there were quite a few JRPGs from Mistwalker, things like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey but this time I’ve seen nothing on Xbox One that’s really trying to harness the Japanese audience. I was wondering what you thought about that.
I honestly don’t know what Microsoft’s plans or vision for Xbox One in Japan is going to be. We really haven’t received immense support for Xbox One in Japan as of yet, so I don’t know what their plans are. Whatever everyone else knows right now is what we know. That being said, Windows and a lot other Microsoft products have a track record of being successful in Japan, so I think it’s matter of time or some kind of hook that will let the Xbox explode or shine in Japan. But what or when that is, is still kind of up in the air.
Hack and slash is the genre you primarily work in, Western games tend to use a lot of QTE to show cinematic set-pieces In Japanese combo-focused combat games, focus is about putting the player primarily in control and figuring out how to make that look stylish. What’s your take on maintaining control versus taking control away?
I won’t deny or say that QTE are mistaken or wrong in any way but one thing I do emphasise within the team and with everyone I work with, is if you’re going to use a QTE, don’t simply lift it out of another game and pop it into ours. Make sure there’s meaning behind the QTE.
I wonder also, looking at the demo we’ve just seen, it seems like a lot of people put a lot of very strong limitations on the ideas they can put in and make fit. It seems in Killer is Dead and some of your other games, it seems if you have an idea that is crazy enough, you’ll make it work anyway. Like the tiger chase scene is a great example of that. A lot of developers would shy away from stuff getting that crazy whereas you seem to embrace it.
I really feel that everything in games is an experience and everything that people experience has to be fresh, completely outworldly, something they can’t even imagine. I want to continue to deliver experiences that people can’t even think about and can’t even think about. That’s almost our obligation at Grasshopper, so I will continue to try and push that boundary. So in thinking about the best way to integrate that into the context of a game as I write the scenario and the gameplay takes shape, for example the tiger chase, I was thinking yakuza has a tiger, what would be a good thing for that?
Naturally I arrived at Kyoto and the traditional architecture and traditional scenery. So all these puzzle pieces take shape simultaneously and then unite to form a greater vision. To me, that’s a message from the videogame goddess telling me to leave certain milestones in the history of videogame making.
With the combo gameplay you mentioned all of Mondo’s powers are available right from the start. Most games don’t do that – they’ll say ‘at level 3, you’ll have this power’ and so on. What was the reasoning to not go with the traditional unlock route?
So one thing I really feel action games are doing these days, as you said earlier with the QTEs and showing flashier and more graphical, more visually stunning elements, they tend to give you a combo at a certain point in the game and then once they feel like they’ve reached a new point and they want to show even flashier action, they throw away the old combos and give you even newer combos and everything kind of gets dropped as the game progress.
Since we’ve really simplified and taken a step in terms of action and creating combos and stringing attacks together, all the player has to do is press the X button. So instead of switching things and changing moves to fit the X button, I really wanted to make sure the X button never betrayed the player in the sense that as long as the player is learning and becoming better and better at executing their moves, they will be able to gain access to better and better combos, so it really depends on the player’s skill and execution. You can think of it as progress – when the players improve themselves,they will unlock the moves at their own pace , instead of forcing them to unlock them at a certain stage.