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Grasshopper's Suda 51

On the Wii, No More Heroes - and bowel movements.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

As an interviewer, you live for these magic moments. 30 minutes after walking into the Wii Flat, Nintendo's slightly stilted attempt to recreate a hip, trendy young socialite's disturbingly Wii-focused living room, things have taken a peculiar turn.

Suda 51, the founder of Grasshopper Manufacture and creative mind behind Killer 7 and the forthcoming No More Heroes (step through the magic words of blue to enter a world of preview), is sitting on the sofa with a massive grin on his face, looking astonishingly pleased with himself. Beside him, the game's sound director Takuda Masafumi is holding his face in his hands and shaking his head. The translator, Grasshopper's bubbly Japanese PR girl, has gone bright red and covered her mouth with her hand.

Pidgin Japanese and some rather graphic hand gestures inform us that Suda 51 has just described the creative process behind No More Heroes as being like sitting on a toilet and, er, pinching off a loaf. Dropping the kids off at the pool. Laying a cable. Translation difficulties allowing, we're pretty sure that it's the first time a game developer has actually told us in an interview that his game is a turd.

"I don't know if I should translate this!", squeals the flustered translator. "It's really nasty!" She shakes her head. "You're dirty," she tells Suda, who grins even more widely. The sound director still has his head in his hands. It's all going rather well, we reckon.

Holding Out For A Hero

Rewind a few minutes, and you'd have seen Suda 51 (the name isn't as pretentious as it seems; his real name, "Goichi", reads as five (Go) - one (ichi) in Japanese, so it's an obvious nickname) casually playing through the first level of No More Heroes with practised nonchalance. As his fingertips play over the controller and his wrist flicks the Wiimote around, the game's unlikely assassin hero cuts, thrusts and decapitates through waves of enemies, cutting a stylish swathe of death through a grand mansion in search of his ultimate prey.

Suda makes it look easy. We doubt it actually is - but even if you can't quite pull off his skill, the game's style is still infectious. It's got sweary, stilted dialogue straight out of an eighties movie, menus and an interface that ape arcade machines of the Atari era, and stark, high contrast graphics which bring to mind Killer 7, without actually being quite the same. No More Heroes is more colourful, more silly and more over the top than its predecessor. It's also, by the looks of it, a lot more fun.

After the heavy, serious story of Killer 7, Suda is all about fun this time out. He's no stranger to the transition - this is, after all, a man who was working as an undertaker until he got bored of the dead and got a job with a videogames company, working on the wrestling games whose influence still shines through to this day.

Okay, so never mind that - you want to know why he told us his game was like taking a shit. We understand. Without further ado, we'll hand the floor over to Suda51...

EurogamerWhen you finished Killer 7 and started working on this, what were the things that you wanted to accomplish? What was the objective you had in mind, which led to creating No More Heroes?
Suda 51

When I created Killer 7, that was more of a straight, complicated story - it was quite strict, quite stoic kind of stuff. I've always made games a bit like that, so the next thing I wanted to do was something totally different and totally new. That's where the idea actually came from - that with this game, I wanted to make something more refreshing, something indecent and crazy.

I also wanted to show that Grasshopper could make a different type of game. That was a big reason for making this game.

EurogamerIt shares a certain style with Killer 7 - lots of silhouettes and very black shadows. What kind of things have influenced that style, in terms of the media you enjoy yourself and the things you look at for art reference?
Suda 51

I'm in to a lot of different media - not only games and anime, but movies, TV drama, and many other kinds of entertainment. I watch Japanese movies, American movies, European movies - all sorts of things. I listen to lots of different kinds of music, too.

So, I get inspired by a lot of different things. A lot of people only listen to one kind of music, or they prefer one kind of movie or game - but I like to try everything. I think my inspiration is to mix together many kinds of different things, and to bring parts of all the things I like into my games. You could definitely see that in Killer 7, and it's there in No More Heroes as well - it's a real mixture.

You know, you can see on the screen, in No More Heroes you sit on the toilet to save the game - I guess making a game for me is a bit like that. When you take a shit, everything you've consumed is all mixed together, there are all sorts of things in that - and that's the same kind of idea, I think.