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.

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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.
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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