Hidetaka "Swery" Suehiro is a stranger in a strange land. Back home, he's the designer and co-writer of a string of quietly successful if anonymous PSP titles at Access Games, a mid-tier developer based in Osaka. Here, though, he's something else - a cult hero, and one of the few singular voices working in the industry. In a tour that's taken him from the sprawl of Los Angeles to Hitchin, the small English market town where we meet on a Saturday afternoon muted by snowfall, he's adored and revered. And it's all thanks to one very odd game.
The word 'cult' is used to describe many games, but rarely has it seemed so appropriate as when applied to Deadly Premonition. The term's etymological root is as a pejorative, used to describe groups whose ideas were considered strange, yet these days it often has more positive connotations; a cult hit isn't a flop, but a pleasantly surprising success, beloved of a small but dedicated and passionate audience. Deadly Premonition's unlikely trajectory from internet laughing stock to much-admired curio all but mirrors the evolution of the word.