I nearly interviewed Suda51 - aka Goichi Suda, CEO of No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacture – in a toilet. It's a very nice toilet. It sits on the 12th floor of Hotel Pullman in Cologne with green-tiled urinals overlooking the city.
Suda, an eccentric creator to say the least, has a thing for toilets (if you've played No More Heroes
you know that your save point is the lav). It's not to be. People need the gents for the things people need the gents for.
The reason we're here is that Grasshopper and Digital Reality have just announced that they are co-developing a PSN/XBLA game called Sine Mora
. Details are very thin on the ground. We basically know that it's a 3D side-scrolling shooter with time manipulation mechanics. There's not even a sniff of a screenshot – just the art on the poster I managed to snap. But it's Suda51, so there's still plenty to be said.
For starters - what's the most important thing about Sine Mora
? What do we really need to know? Suda replied, "I think as far as Sine Mora
is concerned Theodore (Reiker), the director, has a very solid idea about the animations and how the world should be and also the game design. So, he wants to create the game with a Diesel Punk style."
Diesel Punk, eh? Wait... what? "Actually, the term is used by Theodore, so you probably should ask him. However, my understanding is really of an updated version of Steam Punk." Suda tells me, "I think the world he's thinking of is of Katsuhiro Otomo, the world of Akira
... So, yeah, those are the images he wants to recreate. He has a lot of respect for Japanese art. I think that's the style as far as Diesel Punk is concerned."
Yeah, OK. That makes more sense.
So, why a side-scrolling shooter? “There aren't too many shooting games nowadays, even in Japan," I am told. Presumably he means 'of the sidescrolling variety.
"The shooting game is really the original... the first of everything about the game industry. So, in Japan there are a lot of shooting games that were successful, and were really really good. And when I heard [about] Theo in Hungary, who wanted to actually create a shooting game, and we heard how passionate he was about creating this game, and this is not just the classic shooting game, but it's actually more than that.
"Theo wants to add passions from the history that Hungary actually experienced. So, there is deep messaging behind this game and that's why, when we heard that we were like, 'we really want to help this person create a great game'."
So, how does GHM fit into this alongside Digital Reality? “Grasshopper, if we really want to, we can create any of the craziest things. But for this title, Theo has a very solid idea of the world he would like to have, so we really wanted to help him to increase the effect of atmosphere and not destroy the world that he wants to create. But, at the same time of course we want to add the GHM style, the flavour to the world."
At this point, however, it becomes difficult to resist straying to Suda's other projects, both past and present. The idea that No More Heroes HD
would be coming to Europe courtesy of Konami had been under my skin all day. Suda won't, of course, be drawn too far on the subject.
"Wow! Really? ...Really!?" he exclaims in English with a massive smile on his face.
"I don't know," he added before continuing his response in Japanese. "So, it's actually between Marvelous and Konami, a deal. So, it's not really directly... we didn't directly communicate about that deal with Konami. We don't really have anything to do with the project."
Suda is asked which, from the long list of his games credits we were shown earlier, is his favourite. “No More Heroes
," he responds topically.
Why? "Maybe because it sold the most... It's really important for the publishers and as a developer you have to make a game that sells!"