Goichi Suda has produced an amazingly eclectic body of work in his time. It includes a survival horror / erotic photography mashup, three games about lightsaber-wielding serial killers and an adventure title about a guy with a suitcase named Catherine. And yet he's still perhaps most famous for conducting interviews while on the bog.
He seems to have grown tired of that stunt, though. When we meet today he's sitting on a boring old chair in a poorly-lit back room. Much more conventional.
The game he's showing, however, is anything but. Shadows of the Damned is reminiscent of Devil May Cry with regard to the unashamedly ludicrous badassery of it characters. There are elements of Resident Evil 4 to its combat and Deadly Premonition with regard to its glorious failure to make any sense whatsoever.
The game also features glowing disembodied deer heads, demons who increase their power by ripping out and eating their own hearts, and the most entertainingly vulgar character banter since Bulletstorm.
"It's a punk-rock horror from Hell. And also a road trip movie," says Suda. Another way to describe it might be as an insane eighties B-movie horror viewed through a uniquely Japanese cultural filter – to superb effect.
This is new territory for Grasshopper in a number of ways. It's the first title from the studio to be presented in HD, and the first which is multiplatform. Up until now, Grasshopper restricted itself to the Wii of all this generation's consoles (the PS3 port of No More Heroes was handled by a different developer, as was the rather botched PS2 port of Killer7).
In addition, Shadows of the Damned is a shooter. The studio has never tried making one of these before. According to Suda, it took a while to figure out gunplay after all that time spent perfecting motion-based swordfighting.
This is his second collaboration with Resident Evil and Vanquish creator Shinji Mikami (who, he claims, looks like a Japanese Eminem). The pair co-wrote Killer7 back in 2003.
Suda has teamed up with other developers before, too. Yasuhiro Wada had a significant role to play in the production of No More Heroes, for instance. You could hardly imagine a more unlikely partnership for the man who usually spends his time on the relentlessly cuddly Harvest Moon series.
Despite all that, Shadows of the Damned does share a certain f-you ethos with the rest of Grasshopper's work.
"It's a very different type of game to everything we've done before in terms of mechanics and look," Suda says. "But in terms of the punk-rock attitude, that's definitely the same."
It seems that he and Mikami play very nicely together. "We've known each other since Killer7, so I guess five or six years now already. Of course we get on really well, he's really funny. He's a joke machine," Suda says with a big grin.
With two big personalities at the helm you'd imagine there'd be clashes – especially as high-profile Japanese development sometimes relies heavily on a single creative voice filtering down though the ranks and into the finished product. (See Deadly Premonition, any of Suda's previous work and the entire Metal Gear Solid series for evidence.)
Shadows of the Damned bears unmistakeable hallmarks of both developers, but apparently there's been less creative tension than you might imagine.
"Mikami listens to all my ideas and he'll never be afraid to tell me what he thinks won't work, as well as what will," Suda explains.
"He has contributed a lot to the core action gameplay, which is his speciality. He plays a big part, but then so do I, and our inputs into the game design are different. We play a different role in designing and it works out perfectly."
On the subject of Japanese game auteurism, though, Suda seems conflicted. He agrees that having one author often makes a game more distinctive – "It's kind of like a movie, where the director has a huge influence" – but within his own studio, he's keen to spread that influence around a little more.
Nowadays, Grasshopper operates closer to what Suda considers the Western way. "It's true that in the West it's the studio that's important, not that one figurehead," he says. "I mean maybe you've got Cliffy B. But it's the studio brand power that is stronger in the West.
"But I think it's changing, and it will change, for Japanese studios as well. Of course I'm there at Grasshopper, but we have many other creators in our company. In order to create a big game nowadays, there's not just one person who's important in the project. So I think that our company will shift towards how it is in Western studios."
Shadows of the Damned is the first indication of a change in direction for Grasshopper, as a multi-platform game published by a large non-Japanese company in Electronic Arts.
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A small, but noticeable performance improvement on Xbox 360.
"Definitely we want to start creating all our games for multiple platforms and not just one," says Suda. "That means different types of game for different platforms, including social games and mobiles.
"So we're very interested in looking into creating smaller games, like for iOS. We definitely want to challenge our young creators to achieve different things with those."
With this in mind, Grasshopper's newer hires are allowed to to test out ideas in a short, sharp format. The studio released its very first iPhone game just over a month ago, Frog Minutes, which is also its first game to feature actual grasshoppers.
This, it seems, is how Suda sees Grasshopper Manufacture shifting – away from single-platform and towards a wider, more international audience via more varied outlets. "Multiplayer is where the future is, and not just in the traditional sense of what 'multiplayer' means," he muses.
"I mean across console, mobile and PC social gaming. I think those will be connected in the future, so one IP can be played on all three platforms, even beyond. I think that would be an interesting advancement for our industry."
Suda seems happier about the future than most of the other Japanese development personalities I've interviewed in the past few years, many of whom lament the state of their home industry and the loss of what they perceive to be distinctive and unique voices in favour of internationalism.
For Suda, though, that's an achievement in itself. Asked about the Japanese games industry's increasingly global mindset he replies, "Oh yes, of course I'm happy about it. That's always been my goal - to be global!"