Developer Profile: Goichi Suda

Who Is The Man Behind The Moniker ‘Suda 51’?

Best Known Works:

Killer 7

No More Heroes

Flower, Sun and Rain

The Silver Case


Better known in the realm of video games as ‘Suda 51’, he has quickly become one of the most important aspects of Japanese game development. With his newest title, No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle only days away from release I thought it would be a fantastic idea to find out a little more about the man behind the game.

There is no doubt that Suda has made a infamous name for himself, through hard work and being able to combines familiar gaming traditions with innovative (often bizarre) design. His first real breakthrough never came until Killer 7, released in 2005 for both the Playstation 2, and Nintendo Gamecube. It was his North American debut, and instantly gained him cult status for it’s over the top political storyline and beautiful yet violent cell shaded anime influenced visuals.

In the game the player took control of Harman Smith, a 60 year old assassin bound to his wheelchair, and happened to have seven unique personalities who manifest themselves into what we believe to be the real world. The game supported interesting gameplay that was tailored for adult gamers, something that very few game developers have attempted before. With a convoluted, yet always twisting narrative that focused on a conflict that exist between the American, and Japanese government. While not a commercial hit, the game would forever put Suda as well as his Grasshopper Manufacturer on the map.

Now with a name for himself, and the interest of the North American gamers behind him he set out to make a new game, which would be called No More Heroes. Almost completely targeted towards more Western gamers, and released exclusively for the Wii, it became the first real mature rated game for the console. Unlike Killer 7, No More Heroes added a sense of humor, referencing and teasing the so called console rivalry. It included much of what Suda has become known for, flamboyant protagonists, hyper sexuality, daunting mature storyline, and an obsession with the “otaku” lifestyle.

No More Heroes sold terribly in the Japanese market, but once again proved that North American gamers were ready for his intellectual style. So much so that he announced a sequel to the cult hit, as well as HD remakes of the original set for release for Xbox 360, and Playstation 3. Although Suda has been working hard in the video game industry for years, it has only been recently that gamers have started taking notice. Unlike many other Japanese developers Suda has found that certain niche that has made him accessible to a worldwide audience.

Like any great artist, Goichi Suda has become infamous for trademarks that manage to make there way into each game he creates. Things such as; Assassin’s as the main protagonists, heavy dialog that offers multiple interpretations. Grand character introductions, usually involving the gameplay to completely stop and the characters name to be shown on screen. An obsession with lucha libre imagery, including masks, as well as other professional wrestler nods. References to not only other video games, but pop culture in general such as; pigeon names in Killer 7 are named after James Bond girls, and numerous references to Star Wars in No More Heroes. Boss fights where the player has absolutely no control of the outcome have become a tradition showing up in nearly every game he has done to date.

With No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle around the corner, as well as a various other currently unknown projects in the coming future, it is quite clear that ‘Suda 51’ will always be a prominent force in the video game world. As more and more gamers take notice of his fresh style, and innovative take on gaming as a whole he is living proof that games can be much more than toys, or even entertainment. I’m positive saying, that years from now when gamers look back on the history of video games, Goichi Suda’s game will stand out as the absolute pinnacle of what a truly great game experience is.


TRIVIA

Has named author Franz Kafka as his favorite.

His favorite all time video game is Out of this World.

A massive fan of professional wrestling, as well as lucha libre and has been noted as wearing a libre mask when promoting Killer 7.

Has been quoted saying, “One day I want to make a character cuter than Mario.”