Designing avant garde games on the toilet

No More Heroes director SUDA51 talks punk, violence and Wii games.

16th Jan, 2008

Given his involvement in games like Killer7 and No More Heroes, peopleoften assumedirector SUDA51to be a very strange man indeed. They expect a dark and twisted Lynchian gore-fiend. They expect an overly-serious, high-brow arty type. They expect an bizarre, unholy,avant garde weird-monger with torrents of quirk pouring out of his ears. What they do not expect is a good-humoured Japanese man happily pottering around a videogame shop picking up a few PS2 games, but that's exactly what we found when we met him.

A grin, a hearty handshake, and it was time totalk tohim and sound director Takada Masafumiabout the ballsiest Wii game of the year.

GamesRadar: Aside from just making a new action game for the Wii, what was your personal aim with No More Heroes?

SUDA51: The game has been released in Japan and I've been getting a lot of feedback from the gamers who've bought it, and I've got a lot of confidence that the control system works and that people are happy with the gameplay. So I'm very proud of all of that.

GamesRadar: The motion control is really well balanced in the game. There's enough to make the player feel more involved but not so much that it distracts from the actual gameplay. Was that the plan all along, or were you tempted to put more motion control in at any point?

SUDA51: When we started developing the game there were no other titles available for the Wii, so we didn't have any examples of how other people were working with the system's motion controls. But after a year the games were released and I saw a lot of games that were just about shaking the controller. But I'm always looking to do things that other game companies haven't done. And I'd talked to [Marvelous Interactive president] Wada-san, who'd had the same idea as me, which was that if they keep shaking the controller all the time players are going to get tired. So I wanted to keep an element of motion control, but have another way of using it and combine it with traditional controls.

GamesRadar: Were you worried about putting out a quite adult action game on a format where a lot of the software is controller-waggling, family-oriented party material? Or did you see that as an advantage?

SUDA51: I only think of advantages. Game creators have been used to making games with the classic style of controls, but it was such a new experience making something different for the Wii, and I expected a lot of game creators to just use the new element of shaking the controller. And a lot of gamers are used to theclassic controls so I wanted to have both types, because the combination works really well. I think future action games will work really well on the Wii.

Given his involvement in games like Killer7 and No More Heroes, peopleoften assumedirector SUDA51to be a very strange man indeed. They expect a dark and twisted Lynchian gore-fiend. They expect an overly-serious, high-brow arty type. They expect an bizarre, unholy,avant garde weird-monger with torrents of quirk pouring out of his ears. What they do not expect is a good-humoured Japanese man happily pottering around a videogame shop picking up a few PS2 games, but that's exactly what we found when we met him.

A grin, a hearty handshake, and it was time totalk tohim and sound director Takada Masafumiabout the ballsiest Wii game of the year.

GamesRadar: Aside from just making a new action game for the Wii, what was your personal aim with No More Heroes?

SUDA51: The game has been released in Japan and I've been getting a lot of feedback from the gamers who've bought it, and I've got a lot of confidence that the control system works and that people are happy with the gameplay. So I'm very proud of all of that.

GamesRadar: The motion control is really well balanced in the game. There's enough to make the player feel more involved but not so much that it distracts from the actual gameplay. Was that the plan all along, or were you tempted to put more motion control in at any point?

SUDA51: When we started developing the game there were no other titles available for the Wii, so we didn't have any examples of how other people were working with the system's motion controls. But after a year the games were released and I saw a lot of games that were just about shaking the controller. But I'm always looking to do things that other game companies haven't done. And I'd talked to [Marvelous Interactive president] Wada-san, who'd had the same idea as me, which was that if they keep shaking the controller all the time players are going to get tired. So I wanted to keep an element of motion control, but have another way of using it and combine it with traditional controls.

GamesRadar: Were you worried about putting out a quite adult action game on a format where a lot of the software is controller-waggling, family-oriented party material? Or did you see that as an advantage?

SUDA51: I only think of advantages. Game creators have been used to making games with the classic style of controls, but it was such a new experience making something different for the Wii, and I expected a lot of game creators to just use the new element of shaking the controller. And a lot of gamers are used to theclassic controls so I wanted to have both types, because the combination works really well. I think future action games will work really well on the Wii.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Long-time GR+ writer Dave has been gaming with immense dedication ever since he failed dismally at some '80s arcade racer on a childhood day at the seaside (due to being too small to reach the controls without help). These days he's an enigmatic blend of beard-stroking narrative discussion and hard-hitting Psycho Crushers.
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