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Grasshopper's Suda 51

"Maybe Europeans just like blood."

On the way to my interview with Suda 51, I go over what I know about him in my head. Firstly, he's the head of Grasshopper Studios, and the creator of Killer 7 and the No More Heroes series. He's in town to promote No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, which scored 8/10 in Eurogamer's review of the US import.

Secondly, he's a very nice man. That's according to Eurogamer's Oli Welsh, who interviewed him at the Tokyo Game Show in 2008. He found Suda to be friendly, open and a bit of a laugh. Highlights of the chat included Suda recalling the time he watched booth babes throwing pants to the crowd at E3. "When I saw that I was like, wow!" he said. "One day, I want to be able to throw pants to the public. That's one of my main goals." Can't wait to meet him.

On arriving at the PR agency, I remember a third thing I know about Suda 51: he's a rock star developer, the kind only Japan seems capable of breeding. It's hard to imagine Peter Molyneux in a red leather biker jacket, or Jeff Minter wearing a pair of trainers so fierce they'd frighten Tyra. But Suda's sporting both today, along with a giant smile.

We start with some small talk. He tells me he's been in the UK for two days, and I show off about having just been to Japan to see Vanquish and interview Shinji Mikami.

"Ah!" says Suda. "Don't you think Mikami looks like Eminem?"

"Um..." I picture Mikami, with his cropped hair and bomber jacket. "Maybe... A Japanese Eminem?"

"Yes, yes! A Japanese Eminem!"

I think about telling Suda he looks a bit like a Japanese Paul McCartney, especially with the bowl haircut. But I worry he'll think I mean tired old divorced Paul and not bright young happy Paul, so I get down to business instead.

With NMH2 already out in the US there's no point in discussing how development's coming along, so I begin by asking Suda about one element which didn't make it into the finished game. He was quoted as saying he was interested in featuring Wii MotionPlus functionality in the game, but it didn't make the final cut - why not?

"People really enjoyed playing the first No More Heroes like this," says Suda, swishing his arms about all over the place. "For the sequel, I didn't think it was necessary to have MotionPlus functionality to enhance the player's enjoyment, so I avoided including it.

"Would I include it in a future title? Depends on the game. If I think it's necessary to have the functionality I'll incorporate it, but if not, I won't."

Plenty of people did enjoy No More Heroes, most of them residing in the West. In fact, although the sequel being released in both the US and Europe, there are no current plans to publish it in Japan. Why does Suda think the series is more popular over here?

"I'm not sure exactly what it is," he says. "But there are a lot of different types of elements inside No More Heroes 2, and perhaps Western audiences are open to many different things compared to the Japanese audience."

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No More Heroes

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No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise

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Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.