Suda51 Interview July 28 Feature

Suda51 talks about No More Heroes, why he likes Travis Touchdown, Killer7 and the cancelled Silver Case DS port

Anime News Network has recently published an interview with Goichi Suda (better known as Suda51) where he discusses various games and topics from throughout his career.

I quoted some of the more general and Nintendo relevant parts below, but you can read the full interview here, if you are so inclined.

At the end of No More Heroes, a character who looks like Garcian or Emir from Killer7 shows up and gets offed rapidly. A lot of your fans wonder if this is really Garcian or just a lookalike. Do you prefer to leave it vague?

Vague is good, I think. [laughs] Garcian is definitely a good character, so I don’t want him to die! It’s nice to see them fight together, though.

You stopped that tradition after No More Heroes, though, because you haven’t killed off Travis yet.

Well, I definitely want to see Travis again. Not just in the sequel, either. His life is really interesting, so I want to talk about his story again. I want him to grow up as I grow older. I’m not sure when it will be, but I want to talk about his life. So Travis is very important to me. I think he’s the most loved of my characters.

Killer7 has a lot of themes running through, including the relationship between the U.S. and Japan. How has your opinion of that changed in the ten years since the game came out?

During the Killer7 project, I imagined what the relationship might be like in the future. So it’s a serious theme. I think Japan is a country where we should never have a war, but I’m afraid there might be some incident where we have to go to war. But the key is definitely the relationship between the U.S. and Japan, and I know the treaty is changing drastically. And that’s probably another reason why Killer7 is kind of important to a lot of people. The theme is not something that a lot of people talk about or use.

With the amount of creative freedom you had with Killer7, were there any ideas you had to leave out?

No, I think most of what I thought of is still in there. But if you want to go into detail, the riddles were originally a little harder to solve. So some of them were cut off.

Killer7 also suggests that its characters can’t escape violence, even in the distant future. No More Heroes has some of that in its ending, as Travis can’t escape people trying to kill him, but it’s more lighthearted.

Yes, he’ll have to keep fighting. But at the end of No More Heroes 2, Travis sort of escapes from his saga. In Killer7, though, that’s definitely something I was trying to express. No matter how the two powers try to change, the individual saga will continue on.

So what might happen to Travis in No More Heroes 3? Will he continue to grow or fall back into his old ways?

My image is that he’d be living in a place where not many people would reach him, and it would be a peaceful life. And the story starts from there…

How did your original plan for No More Heroes change? It had a visual style similar to Killer7 in its original trailer, but the final game looked different.

At the beginning, we had that art direction. But because we decided to release this game on the Wii, the shader that we were thinking of wasn’t possible to achieve. Also, the stage was set in the West Coast, so I figured the shade should be very strong and the weather is very good. So I wanted to use a lot of black shading.

Travis is an interesting clash of “moe”-obsessed otaku and a sort of rock-star cockiness. What do you think of modern otaku?

Let’s see…I don’t really understand “moe” that much myself. Even a friend of mine, [Chiyomaru] Shikura at Mages…he did Liberation Maiden Sin and Steins;Gate, which was a big hit…he’s really into “moe” himself, and he tells me “you don’t understand ‘moe’.”

Your works play a lot with sex and violence in a satirical way. Do you have a rule for handling these subjects?

Personally, I don’t believe in violence. I believe violence or death needs some explanation or reasoning behind it. I always try to talk about the people who are close to death, like assassins or other killers. So in that sense, I guess violence or fighting cannot be avoided. Of course, I create action games, but I always question why each character wants to fight or why each character should be killed.

As far as sexuality is concerned…I’m not that interested. I’m aware that I use a lot of it, but I actually want to create something different, and as long as it has some core meaning to whatever is expressed, that’s fine. Even for sexuality, there has to be a reason why a man and a woman love each other. If you don’t have a lot of reasons for it, it’s not really necessary. I’m not talking about the industry in general, of course, but it’s just my opinion in general.

How does making modern action games compare to making text-heavy adventure games like The Silver Case or Flower, Sun, and Rain? Do you feel that you have more or less freedom?

At the beginning, we had very limited staff. When you create action games, you really need know-how and experience. It’s not just about having time or money. At the beginning, Grasshopper didn’t have those. What we could create was rather limited, so we came up with The Silver Case first. But after that, when we worked on Flower, Sun, and Rain, we did more of an action-slash-adventure. And after that we did Killer7. So the staff grew, and the studio grew, and we shifted to action games. I always wanted to create action games, so the shift toward action games was natural.

Given your desire to make “new” games, do you dislike sequels? Or is it more of a desire to have each game stand on its own?

I don’t really have anything against sequels, especially for Travis. No More Heroes is very much loved. And it was ported before, but it wasn’t really done by us. A small studio under Marvelous did that. That studio is not there anymore, but Konami was the publisher.

Do you prefer that people play the Wii version, then?

The Wii version, definitely. One hundred percent.

Grasshopper made but never released a Silver Case port for the DS, and later the 3DS. How is it different from the PlayStation version? Did you add anything to the plot? Did Masahi Ooka work on the DS version?

Well, the interface had to change a bit for the DS touchscreen. At the same time, in order to release it, the game needed to be more complete. Because it was our debut title, I really wanted it to be better before shipping, so I figured we needed more time. There was no extra storyline. Ooka created a version of Silver Case, 25 Ward for cell phones, so there wasn’t a need to add anything to the original.