Designing avant garde games on the toilet

GamesRadar: You said a while back that the highest form of art is the existence of videogames. Could you clarify what you mean by that and tell us how artistically strong you think games are as a medium?

Suda51: I think there are two types of director in the games industry. One is the more commercial type, one is the more artistic. And you have to have both, because if someone's just directing as a business with no element of the artistic, there's no good game in there. Gamers are expecting the new ideas, and they get those from the more artistic directors. I think that I'm 50/50, but I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

GamesRadar: There's been some debate in the west this year over whether games are an art form or just an entertainment medium. Why do you think there's so much resistance to the concept in certain areas?

SUDA51: There are still a lot of games out there that are similar and that look very similar. Gamers expect something new, and new artistic elements, so these games fail them and they get disappointed. And the medium of videogames is failed. Gaming needs new ideas and new concepts. It needs to be always improving. That's what I think is very important.

I'm playing different types of games all the time, but I always forget which games I've actually played, because they look the same and the content is always the same. For expanding the industry it's important that gamers keep buying games, and there's a lot of marketing behind these games so they think the demand is always high. That's why they make them. That sort of thing's important for keeping the industry expanding, but there are other types of creators who need to be creating other types of games.

GamesRadar: Travis is a really refreshing videogame protagonist in that he is in no way a traditional hero, but at the same time he's definitely not the clichéd scowling videogame anti-hero either. What sort of thought process went into creating him?

SUDA51: [Laughs] The idea just came up when I was having a shit in the bathroom. I was really into Jackass and I got thinking about Johnny Knoxville. He acts really crazy and dirty but he also seems cool at the same time. And I also got thinking about Japanese otaku-type characters, and about how it would be cool to combine one of them with a Johnny Knoxville-type personality.

GamesRadar: And that's why you save your game with Travis on the toilet.

SUDA51: [Laughs] That's why! And also in a lot of action games the weapons are always guns. I wanted to change that and do something different, and I thought the katana was a really cool alternative.