Interview: Suda51

The eccentric games developer and Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi ‘Suda51’ Suda has found fame for his last two big-name games - No More Heroes and Killer 7 - but as a producer, he’s got a list of innovative hits as long as an elephant’s nasal spray. These include Michigan: Report from Hell, which takes place entirely behind a film crew’s camera, and soon-to-be-DSed adventure game The Silver Case. He’s been nicknamed ‘Suda51’ because his first name, Goichi, comprises the Japanese words ‘go’ (which means five) and ichi’ (which means one), but you’ve probably been told that about eight million times now, so we’ll shush. Here’s what he had to say...

What is it that drew you to developing No More Heroes as a Wii exclusive?

I was one of the privileged few who was shown the Wii controller before its official announcement [at TGS 2005]. I immediately set out to create a full action game that could take advantage of this unique controller, and No More Heroes was born. My publishers wanted to make an Xbox 360 game, and actually wanted No More Heroes to go onto that platform, so I had a hell of a time trying to convince them to let me make it on Wii without spilling the controller’s secrets (laughs).

From what we’ve played so far, No More Heroes seems to be more comprehensible than your previous games. In light of Nintendo trying to reach new audiences, is this an intentional move on your behalf?

No, not really. You know, I had experience of working for them with the GameCube, and they’re very responsive to developers who are making games that are different. They’re very flexible. There was no pressure to make it more accessible, certainly.

You make lots of creative use of the Wii remote - mobile phone calls, repowering the blade, etc - any interesting ideas that didn’t make it?

The idea at first was to make it a game that used only the remote - you might recall that was how the Wii’s controller was originally going to work. We tried, and we wanted to make it as simple as possible, but it just didn’t feel right. After that, we wanted to steer the bike using the controller, maybe even both using the Nunchuk and remote, one in each hand so you can do this (twists the ‘remote hand’ as if starting up a motorbike). But yes. Didn’t work.