GDC 07: Suda 51 praises 'punk' games

The Killer7 director thinks the market has become a little stagnant; developers need a punk-style spirit to make something fresh.

SAN FRANCISCO--The '70s might be over, but Goichi Suda (otherwise known as SUDA-51) refuses to believe that the punk spirit is dead. That kind of "arrogance" is essential to pushing forward with creativity in the fledging video game industry, he said, as part of his "Punk Is Not Dead" session at GDC.

Suda meets with fans after his presentation.

Speaking through a translator, the founder and president of Tokyo-based Grasshopper Manufacture, who has worked on games including the stylishly creepy Killer7 and the real-time role-playing game Contact, also talked about the current "gamer drift" phenomenon in Japan--where the market is moving away from and losing interest in games. He commented, "Lately it is difficult to produce new games [in Japan]--the Japanese market is getting smaller. Therefore, we would like to create new games to target the global market [instead] because there is a much bigger demand than in Japan."

As part of his session, Suda talked the audience through his creative process: "I really hate doing things that other people do," he explained, and this is his driving force--to create games that no one else "would even think of." He doesn't think much of a lot of the other titles out there at the moment. "There are so many games and there are so many big titles, but I think most of them are copycats." He added that, however, there were some notable exceptions; for example, he thought Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto was "a god."

He also recalled the feeling he had the first time he ever played an arcade game and how he hoped the industry would not lose that magical feeling. He reminisced, "There were movies, and books, and music...and then there was a small, tiny box, and when I played [the game] I felt something really different, and I don't want to forget that feeling."

Making the kinds of games that he makes, he gets asked one particular question time and time again, he told the audience. He laughed, "People always say to me, 'You're probably on drugs when you do these games, right?' No, I'm not. I don't do drugs. I don't smoke... I like alcohol but I can't drink a lot."

Suda then showed a trailer of his current project No More Heroes for the Wii, a title which definitely looks much more in the vein of the violent Killer7 than the cutesy Contact. The brief clip showed character Travis Touchdown decked out in shades, jeans, a T-shirt, and a red jacket, battling it out against a barrage of foes. Touchdown took his enemies out with a variety of lethal sword moves, including decapitation and slicing them in half.

The company's first-ever title, The Silver Case, will also be ported to the DS in Japan, along with the sequel, The Silver Case Ward 25, which was previously available for mobile phones. However, as to these adventures seeing the shelves overseas, he just doesn't know. He said, "They are both text adventures, so, obviously there is a lot of text, and I'm not sure that they would be well received in the US market... but I definitely would like to make a US and European version."

Suda also said that No More Heroes is one of three titles Grasshopper is currently working on for the Wii console, but it was the only one he could currently mention by name.

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98 comments
rob_dAmAgE
rob_dAmAgE

my favorite game creater by far........

hog63
hog63

I love the artistic style Suda brings to the table.

Diduseeasign
Diduseeasign

I do believe that for the Wii to continue succeeding for the rest of this generation, developers need to back away from the whole realism idea, because, lets face it, thats not the Wii's strength. Games like call of duty 3, Toni Hawks e.t.c. are what is bringing the console down. I like the idea of the quirky games but people are eventually going to get bored of that style. I have just watched the No More Heroes trailers, and damn, i was blown away. It looks like a beautiful game, not realistic at all but hellova beautiful. Unique, fresh style, over the top action, unrealism; this is the direction developers need to head towards to compete. This, along with GTA IV, has to be my most anticipated game so far.

edhc44
edhc44

I think SUDA-51 is great. I don't see him as a "next Kojima", even less a Miyamoto, but I loved Killer7 (I seriously thought he must have been on drugs when doing that) and I'm anticipating No More Heroes since the first time I heard of it. Haven't bought a Wii yet, but that might just be the game to force me to spend some bucks on the console.

blue_tape
blue_tape

I'd prefer arrogant creativity try and succeed once out of 100 times rather than see insipid mediocrity continue to rule the game charts. Killer7 remains a way out there game, but in such a great way. It's presentation was fresh and chances were taken, some worked out and some didn't. It had its fair share of intensely memorable moments, too. When all is said and done, I've never experienced a game like it and nor do I expect to ever again. But I'm 24 and a dinosaur already. I don't know what kind meaningful communication takes place in a capture the flag match or a deathmatch, but I do know some really great stories are told in single-player games, Killer7 no exception.

DFTricks
DFTricks

I just loved the weird creapenest of Killer 7 even if i didnt get the main story completly. Still cool!

JustWiicredible
JustWiicredible

Er, hhh44_2000 wrong website dude, you should be in the Kerrang forum. I liked killer 7, kinda weird but had some excellent boss battles, it made you think thats for sure.

Reetesh
Reetesh

This guy creates the weirdest games Cant wait to see whats in store nexT!

BadMunky
BadMunky

however, Sony has jacksiht in the originality department

MrGrime
MrGrime

RaiKageRyu, you speak the truth.

BadMunky
BadMunky

nothing in this world is truly original

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

way to go Suda 51 , when he could really just scorn them

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

His games really aren't that great...

hhh44_2000
hhh44_2000

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

-Squirrel-
-Squirrel-

Grasshopper and Nintendo I think are a pretty good combination. Both are two innovative creative companies, yet have very different styles. Good to see some (good) third-party Nintendo exclusives too. And as a side note, I personally think so many of the western games are tedious, derivative, and unoriginal. So many generic fps's and gta rips.

spelledarn
spelledarn

I am all for new, original games that push the envelope. Updated graphics are not enough. We need updated gameplay and ideas.

cancer_777
cancer_777

ShadoweaverCode Dont worry about this Killer7 is a reallly violent game with references to sex and foul language and was aproved by Nintendo for the gamecube. No more heroes looks very similar to Killer7 (style wise) so expect another violent game that no one will dare call it kiddie.

ShadoweaverCode
ShadoweaverCode

IF Nintendo wanted to get serious about taking over the whole console gaming market, they would listen to Suda 51. I know they have a few different key teams at nintendo, one that works for delivering the main hitters, and others that work at delivering the 'touched' series of ds games that reaches for the elderly and women gamers. Why not create a division, solely based for making offstyle 'punk' games from nintendo. Like a Nintendo rpg ninja stealth game like Tenchu but better. They want to focus on the offline style of gaming, and penetrate the western gaming market, that's how they should do it. Although it would probably be too much of shift for nintendo and it might come off as kiddy punk. And that's definitely not good.

ShadoweaverCode
ShadoweaverCode

A Wii game that involves decapitation and slicing enemies in half?? Thank you Grasshopper!! I hope it's a great game, if it is, Grasshopper could see enourmous sales from monopolizing on the mature Wii gamers out there, and thus spawning a wave of mature 'punk' titles from all the developers to land exclusively on Wii. :)

VolcanicPenguin
VolcanicPenguin

So was Suda 51 involved with Contact? I have a very hard time grasping how the same studio could've made that and Killer7, he says to be original yet Contact is the most standard conservative rpg I've played in a long time and because of that it got so dull and boring I stopped playing it.

Robio_basic
Robio_basic

I wasn't a huge fan of Killer 7. Not a bad game, by any stretch but not my thing. Likewise, I liked the ideas behind Contact, but I didn't like the game. Despite that I like Suda and I like his idealogy. I like that he pushes for new ideas instead of playing it safe by taking established ideas and recyling them. That being said, I'd like him even more if I enjoyed his games from start to finish. Still I'll always try what he has to offer.

genocide123
genocide123

Suda, You're The Man! Nintendo are lucky to have you and Grasshopper's support.

eggsiboss
eggsiboss

Wow, inspirational to read, I d love to work with this guy, he has a good attitude:)

sigma8
sigma8

rob3nelson: "Let's face it, the Japanese aren't famous for being creative but for being productive. Whenever they try being creative, they just embarass themselves. They should just stick to what they do best and let the Americans innovate." Holy crap what an ignoramus. Have you ever visited Japan? Maybe you should before you write them of as uninnovative and uncreative. And in videogames especially, 95% of all the videogame creativity has come from Japan. The other 4% from the UK, and 1% from the US. Also, that 1% was all from Warren Spector or his buddies. As much as I worship Carmack, his technically excellent creations were very derivative.

sigma8
sigma8

My advice to Japan in regards to "gamer drift": HAVE CHILDREN! However, I do think the pink shirt is helping. I feel more punk just having seen the picture.

Krist_Rea
Krist_Rea

Suda 51 managed to achieve instant "legend" status with Killer 7. You can keep your Hideo Kojimas, Goichi Suda is the most creative person in the industry today. I will be buying a wii purely for "No More Heroes", simple as that. I just wish that Killer 7 had achieved more commercial success.

Lord_Daemon
Lord_Daemon

After my experience with Killer 7 it appears clearer and clearer everyday to myself that Suda 51 is making me buy a Wii just for his games.

rob3nelson
rob3nelson

The US went through what Japan is undergoing now about 20 yearrs ago. As a kid, I remember spending Saturday mornings at the video game arcade down the street. Now, hanging out at video game arcades is uncool. I think the Japanese just need to hunker down and start producing again. There's just too few video games period out there, partly because of people like this trying to be creative instead producing anything. Let's face it, the Japanese aren't famous for being creative but for being productive. Whenever they try being creative, they just embarass themselves. They should just stick to what they do best and let the Americans innovate.

GC4ever
GC4ever

totally agree with this man all the way!!!!!!!

theKSMM
theKSMM

I certainly appreciate that someone is thinking of making creative, original games, but it takes a lot of courage to acknowledge that the current course is not succeeding and that something different is in order. The Japanese need a spark to making gaming cool again. Could that spark be the Nintendo Wii? Could it be a radical new PlayStation game? Only time will tell...

aldrenar47
aldrenar47

im so punk that i refuse to become a punk under all the pressure from these punks punkety punk punk

pencilpusher69
pencilpusher69

"FearNinja A guy named Travis Touchdown cutting off a guys head with a sword. O yeah he is really original. What a crack pot." You clearly have never played, or experienced any of his games to make such an assanine statement. Obviously not only is his "punk" arguement over your head, but his games likely are too. Go enjoy your GTA clones. "Rediculous... Capcom put out Killer 7. Yeah, Suda... making product for a multi-billion dollar company is sooo punk. Ass." Yes, because the Sex Pistols would have NEVER had their music PUBLISHED by a multi-million dollar corporation. Who puts out your work is irrelevant, it's what you PUT INTO YOUR WORK that counts. Ass.

digitalheadbutt
digitalheadbutt

I like his attitude. For all you folks who post crap like: "lol punks" come from beneath your rock and understand what he means. He is tired of the regurgitated crap that is coming out. If all you can do is make zero weight comments about how punk is dead I hope you die in a fire or grow up which ever happens first. I am betting on the fire thing since you have only partially function brains. Even if you have never played his games, dudes like him make the game industry move forward. The games that have been coming out for the last like 10 years are regurguated masturbatory filth and I get in line for it too but it would be nice to see something actually new come out. As opposed to Doom for teh 100th time but this time you can hide behind concrete barriers or spin plates while chain sawing your foes in half.

lithus
lithus

Trust me...like Disco...Punk too is dead.

Mikeh_515
Mikeh_515

Good on ya Suda, hopefully you can come up with even more great ideas like Killer 7 but blow it all out of proportion and make Killer 77. :P

RoninZaiber
RoninZaiber

Simply. Suda > You Anyone that complains about Suda doesn't know jack,and yes your opinion doesn't matter.

takashirose
takashirose

It's kind of interesting how last August I got this game for the Turbo Duo called "The Lords of Thunder" and was totally blown away by it. It is a 2-D shooter, which everyone knows what that is. The thing that makes me keep playing it and being blown away by it is its neo-classical heavy metal soundtrack. The game was made in 1993. The music was everything. They don't make these kind of risks with music like that. WHy don't they make more games like that. Maybe update the graphics. I felt that the guys who made the game and music back then felt like rock stars. SOmething that is lacking today. And the game never went mainstream in AMerica, so in a way it's punk.

ElSatanno
ElSatanno

For whatever you may think of the actual gameplay, Killer 7 was a lot deeper than expected, but way over most people's heads. Hell, a lot of it went clear over mine, too. But if No More Heroes promises the same thematic complexity, I say it's all the more welcome. You can count the intellectually challenging games released throughout history on one hand, and I think it's well past time we saw more.

FearNinja
FearNinja

A guy named Travis Touchdown cutting off a guys head with a sword. O yeah he is really original. What a crack pot.

olberto
olberto

He thinks outside the box, and he is totally right, most game developers don't. Oh yeah, No more heroes looks awesome too, this dude is the master of gaming style.

razu_gamer
razu_gamer

wow, three titles in development...

Foolio1
Foolio1

Wow, I'm surprised to see everyone jumping to Suda's throat just because the article mentions "punk" in it. He's talking about a philosophy more than image. He wants to create games that are new and interesting rather than the same rehashes I'm sure most of you have complained about at one time or another. I think his work is great and I can't wait to find out what the other two games are that he has in-store for the Wii.

ketsuatama
ketsuatama

Ho-hum; everything old is new again. Easy to fool some people some of the time with pretentious garbage!