Goichi Suda is nothing if not a visionary. The creator behind the surreal and visceral Killer7 hosted a session at the 2007 Game Developers Conference entitled "Punk's Not Dead." At the end of his presentation, Suda introduced a new trailer for his next gaming experiment on a Nintendo console: No More Heroes for the Wii. The roughly minute-and-a-half-long trailer showcased more of the same striking art style and individualistic character design featured in Killer 7, while throwing in some new gameplay twists into the mix.
The trailer opens up with brief glimpses of three characters from the game: the hero (at least we think he's the hero), dashing in his yellow shooting glasses, spiky brown hair, and red leather jacket; a crazy-looking chick with a huge white afro and wielding a big sword; and an even crazier nutjob wearing a spandex superhero suit and blasting energy beams out of his crotch. Yeah, this is a Suda 51 game, alright.
While it isn't clear from the trailer if No More Heroes will use the same rail-movement system as was in Killer7, the trailer features several shots of hero running directly toward the camera, which may mean that, as in Killer7, you'll only be moving in one set direction in the game.
Our leather-adorned hero is equipped with a mean-looking energy sword which we saw him use in the trailer many times, taking down crowbar-wielding thugs, dicing it up with faceless assassins, and even slicing enemies down the middle vertically (accompanied by huge splatters of blood). Obviously with any sword-fighting game on the Wii, the first question is: How do the controls fit in? Though we don't have strict answers yet, some visual cues in the trailer hint at both Wii Remote and Nunchuk usage in the game, especially for special attacks and minigames. At one point during a fight on the beach, both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk icons appear onscreen, just before the hero executes a flawless suplex on an enemy.
A couple of onscreen gauges provide further hints into No More Heroes' gameplay. A heart icon in the upper left pumps, presumably pumping harder as the player moves and fights. A meter on the right-hand side of the screen features two sections, one for electricity (perhaps tied to the strength of your energy sword), and another that...well, we're not sure what it does, but at one point in the trailer, the hero is vigorously shaking his sword to fill the meter up. Your guess is as good as ours.
Other clues gleaned from the trailer include a badass-looking motorcycle--one part Vespa, one part Batmobile from Batman Begins--which you'll use to get around on; some nasty-looking one-on-one sword-fighting encounters with the frosty-haired chick; and a showdown with the crotch-firing superhero in what looks like a massive film lot, where the walls are completely covered in green screen. The combat also seems to use some timing-based mechanics, and even a slot machine minigame that looks to keep the sword-swinging and body chopping interesting.
From the trailer alone, No More Heroes looks to be following the tradition of Killer7's bloody action, stylistic presentation, and trippy visuals (which is a bit ironic, considering Suda made a point during his GDC session to say he's never experimented with drugs). If there's a slightly lighter tone to the action in the trailer, it's all within the context of Suda's compelling and slightly warped vision of what the future of video games will be. We'll be following the development of No More Heroes with great interest in the coming months, so stay tuned.