Lollipop Chainsaw: Suda 51 on inspirations, music, and creating games on the toilet

We sat down for a brief conversation with Suda 51, before his zombie-killing action game hits shelves worldwide this week.

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There's no shortage of games that feature strong-willed female protagonists, and Lollipop Chainsaw aims to not only deliver that with main character Juliet Starling, but also ooze a B-movie vibe that includes humor at the undead situation. GameSpot recently sat down with project producer Goiichi Suda (whom you probably know better as Suda 51) about his collaboration with movie director James Gunn, the game's soundtrack, and other titbits.

How did the idea for the game come about?

I got the idea out while I was in the toilet one day. I played around with the idea of a zombie outbreak happening in the confines of a typical American high school, but instead of the usual B-grade soundtrack, I decided to imagine the whole vibe of the situation containing nothing but pop songs playing. Thus, a prototype of the game was born.

The visuals were inspired by the art direction of the '80s, also a time when many zombie flicks were made. While the main essence is vivid in colour palettes, we attempted to present the graphics in a matte texture. The finishing touch was the addition of American pop art styles, drawn from Western comics. The work of Japanese illustrator Neko Shogun was another source of inspiration.

Since James Gunn has a movie-directing background, and yours is in developing video games, were you worried that there wouldn't be any synergy between the both of you?

I don't think we are working in different mediums, because I draw up the scenario of the games by myself. I felt privileged for receiving the request from Warner Bros. Interactive Games for the opportunity to work with James Gunn, and I was also very looking forward to the final scenario.

We first created a rough scenario and then made adjustments, according to his method of drama-making and story-boarding. The story became very fun and attractive, thanks to his superb sense of language and rewriting. I also felt that his distinctive lines were translated well in the Japanese version of the game, which is something that would be hard to do in most games.

All of the previous main characters in No More Heroes and Shadow of the Damned were male leads. Why choose a female lead character this time around?

I just wanted to create a new heroine that would succeed Lara Croft.

Concerning the game's soundtrack, what will it be like, compared to past Grasshopper Manufacture projects?

We will be using instruments, rhythms, atmosphere, and music played and used in the '80s; this was the original idea, back when I was shaping Lollipop Chainsaw's world. Once you listen to them, you will have the feeling that you have travelled back in time. The soundtrack also includes existing songs, such as:

The Chordettes - Lollipop
Buckner & Garcia - Pac Man Fever
Skrillex - Rock 'N' Roll (Will Take You to the Mountain)
Five Finger Death Punch - The Way of the Fist
Destroy Rebuild Until God Comes - Stop Reading, Start Doing Pushups
Sleigh Bells - Riot Rhythm
Toy Dolls - Turtle Crazy
MSTRKRFT- 1,000 Cigarettes
Dragonforce - Heroes of Our Time
Arch Enemy - Nemesis
Children of Bodom - Needled 24/7
Toni Basil - Mickey
Dead or Alive - You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)
The Human League - Empire State Human
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts - Cherry Bomb
Atari Teenage Riot - Speed

The similarities with zombie-killing series Onechanbara are inevitable. How do you feel about the comparison, and what would make Lollipop Chainsaw stand out among the many zombie-themed action titles out there, like Dead Rising and Dead Island?

I don't care about Lollipop Chainsaw being compared with other titles. Honestly speaking, there aren't any fun zombie games out there in the market. The only zombie game that has hearts and rainbows is Lollipop Chainsaw; I suggest enjoying it while eating popcorn!

What are Grasshopper Manufacture's thoughts on the current Japanese game development scene? Do you personally see more Western influences creeping in as of late, with titles like Monster Hunter, Binary Domain, and Dark Souls existing in this age?

All I will say is this: I don't deny the influences, and also I don't think being influenced is a bad thing.

What can we expect from the future of Lollipop Chainsaw in terms of DLC?

All I can reveal at this point in time is that it does not have any extension of current campaigns. However, we do have score attack, time attack, and medal attack.

Discussion

104 comments
LtReviews
LtReviews

Suda 51 got the inspiration for Lollipop Chainsaw when sitting on a toilet?

 

I thought Suda sits on the toilet when he wants to save game in No More Heroes?..

ghost688
ghost688

thisi s a crap pathetic game really fool. this idiot thing are going to my death grandmother laugh

Panda-Pat
Panda-Pat

Did anyone else click this because of the .... ahem ... picture ... (u know wat i mean ... heh heh heh)

ChaosUndivided
ChaosUndivided

Definitely thought up while in the toilet for a suspiciously long time.

BloodScarlet
BloodScarlet

If this game succeeds, I can only imagine what it's fandom would be like.

AirBizkit89
AirBizkit89

alot of  ppl here are like i cant wait to see the art n hear music yeahh im sure thats what their looking forward to .. they can't wait to see some camel toe

jack_is_cool
jack_is_cool

Couldn't be arsed asking about the inevitable question of sexism in relation to the portrayal of Juliet in the game, nah? Bit too taxing? Or how about if the game is a commentary on female stereotypes in gaming, or, you know, if there is any meaning behind it- or how about his influences? 

 

Can we have some more serious journalism, please? Gamespot journalists seem to be brave enough to slam Suda 51 in commentary pieces on the site, so why not ask him the more difficult questions in person? Boring read, learned almost nothing about the game or Suda 51 from this piece.

pqwoei
pqwoei

Anybody know what the difference between Lollipop Chainsaw and Lollipop Chainsaw (Premium Edition) ?

89stealth
89stealth

I think this has to be the best zombie hack and slash games i've played in a while all other zombie games have either been too serious or just punishingly difficult come on people what game makes you cut a zombie down with lollipop lollipop as stage music and rainbows spewing out of zombies nutbag. This was my first suda game ive played regardless the short story i say funk that we always wanted a game where a sexy cheerleader is the heroine and a talking head as a sidekick i say this game is win. This reminds me fo the ball busting game of god hand but with sexy cheerleaders and zombies and chainsaws. Go back to playing spongebobs underwater funhouse if you cant handle this zombie parody rock on suda rock on!!!!!!!!

PandaTrueno86
PandaTrueno86

In my opinion, Lollipop Chainsaw is a short but sweet ride. I enjoyed the game simply because I can't recall I had mindless fun in a video game.

ash162
ash162

Waiting for the review GS. I might just pick this up

hashirama-senju
hashirama-senju

his gameplay ideas are good and fun

but the story and rock music just dont add up

pqwoei
pqwoei

Anybody finished the game yet? Does it have a new game+?

OreoPoptart
OreoPoptart

people should know this by now Suda 51's work are nothing without Shinji Mikami.

QrGmNcShip016
QrGmNcShip016

A Sexy lookin Girl suckin on a lollipop while slashin' zombies with a chainsaw without any pretensions what so ever...? What More could you ask for :P

WeskerTeam
WeskerTeam

Aren't any fun zombie games on the market?! This guy never played Left 4 Dead?

inkyspot
inkyspot

I can only imagine the Sh+t he comes up with.

magicalpantsu
magicalpantsu

I'm so hyped for this game, I'm a big fan of Suda51's work so naturally I preordered this at the soonest moment. It arrives tomorrow, I can't wait! I love Suda's humour and scenarios, James Gunn seems to be a great writer, the soundtrack sounds amazing with the combination of Akira Yamaoka's music and 80's pop, and the combat looks awesome! So for me there is no reason not to look forward to it, and no doubt I'll be putting many hours into it!

FinalDuo1886
FinalDuo1886

The music/humor is where this game shines at the most.  It was a good rental. If you love replaying the same thing over, and OVER  again to get trophies/achievements, and extra items, I say buy it! I wouldn't buy it right it now though. It's WAY too short to justified paying $60 for.  Hopefully a price drop will happen soon. Great game nonetheless.

lewishim666
lewishim666

So Much Fun! This is the only game that started again right after beating it besides borderlands.

Lotus-Edge
Lotus-Edge

"I got the idea out while I was in the toilet one day." 

 

I bet a lot of games were conceived there....

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

To people complaining about not wanting to pay $60. It is $45 on Amazon. The game is great is you like hack and slash games with ridiculous humor.

tachsniper
tachsniper

the soundtrack is really the best part of the game. The rest has its moments but its not destined to be a super mega blockbuster smash it.

 

but it is fun and at the end of the day thats all that matters.

 

slonekb05
slonekb05

i just read the headline. but if they made this game on the toilet i belive them, casue take a wild guess what this game is.....

Arsyad00
Arsyad00

great idea always come unexpected

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

i feel like going to the toilet and taking a ......

DarthLod
DarthLod

Enjoying the game, it's not flawless, but it is FUN, and that's what games are supposed to be. FUN! Not a propaganda piece for Political and Social agendas.

Rod90
Rod90

Reaper's got your name Suda!

We really need a Wii U version of this.

Granpire
Granpire

To be honest, this game totally disgusts me.

ghost688
ghost688

 @Panda-Pat i am not here for the picture! i am visiting everything including pathetic things

don_saulari
don_saulari

 @Panda-Pat ABSOLUTELY NOT !!!!, for some reason I find my self  fond of zombies trying to eat girls !!! :P

thereal-15-cent
thereal-15-cent

 @pqwoei

 The premium edition comes with extra outfits, different cover art, the ability to turn blood off, and lets you switch between japanese and english voiceovers, I think.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @pqwoei I did. You can continue playing the story mode from any chapter. Higher difficulties have more collectibles. There is rank mode. Plus Juliet has a lot of stuff to get. Moves, Costumes, music, and upgrades. The game is short, but there a lot of stuff to unlock. I will be replaying it again soon.

Skate218
Skate218

 @OreoPoptart You have obviously never heard of No More Heroes or No More Heroes 2...

fathertime000
fathertime000

 @WeskerTeam I think he meant fun as in sunshine, rainbows and puppy dogs. He's not saying other zombie games aren't fun to play, just that Lollipop Chainsaw is the only zombie game with a fun atmosphere like bright sparkly colors and upbeat music.

don_saulari
don_saulari

 @Lotus-Edge I agree, they pick it u the ideas right after the finish their business, water conservatives these people, no flushing whats so ever, god bless them.

CRAPCOM1926
CRAPCOM1926

 @branskamage But butr but...bayonetta was a HITit was Awesome  with almost 9/10 and a metacritic of 90-85.  Even better than DMC 4 ( which thats not to hard to do) I love bayonetta.

KnightRobby
KnightRobby

 @branskamage Interesting you should mention Bayonetta.  I really enjoyed Bayonetta and I think that Lollipop might be too silly for my taste (it isn't anything else).  Though if it has rewarding combat, etc that is great.  Bayonetta had some of the best combat (as we all know) and I actually found Bayonetta's relationship with the little girl interesting.  And also, Bayonetta was a likeable character, which was great to see (even when compared to many Triple-A titles "badasses").  You'll have to let me know about this Lollipop chick in that regard - lol :D

RexSolid20
RexSolid20

 @branskamage It's like people don't know that it's possible to make quality out of a sex object. They're too blinded by 98 percent of those who done it like it was a afterthought.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @branskamage Yeah everyone thinks they are holier than tho now and days. People forgot what is most important. Is the game fun? ( Before people call me Holier than thou I want people to try it . If you still think is dumb and sexist or not a good game that's fine.)

QrGmNcShip016
QrGmNcShip016

 @Granpire Its just a game and it wont hurt anybody lad, what could be more fun then slashing Zombies all Day long? And not to be sexist btw, they chose this Kind of character for a reason and its just for sh**s and giggles thatsall

don_saulari
don_saulari

 @Skate218 I did, and I am surprised that you used these 2 games to support your argument Oo!!.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @Rudorlf I love PC now, (use to be on console only) Sadly Suda doesn't know how to make PC games. He would only screw it up if he did. A bad PC port would get a lot people piss at Suda. Believe me I wouldn't mind if it did come to PC.