If Suda51's Mystery Game Isn't No More Heroes 3, Then What Is It?

Chatting with Suda51 about his next game raised more questions than it answered.

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Three days after I met Goichi Suda to preview Killer is Dead, we met for a second time. This time around, the man better known to the gaming community as Suda51 was here to talk about another, more mysterious game. It's a project we know precious little about other than the fact that it's developed in collaboration with the president of GungHo Online Entertainment, Kazuki Morishita.

It had debuted on Famitsu's website days before, but with only three pieces of concept art to go by, many questions were left unanswered. I arrived at the meeting with the intention of clarifying some of the rumors surrounding the game: primarily, is the white-haired character Shinobu Jacobs from Suda's No More Heroes series?

"Oh yeah, I do see the resemblance. It's drawn by the same graphic artist, but this doesn't have anything to do with No More Heroes. It's a new IP."

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Despite the character in the image above looking near identical to Shinobu (pictured below), Suda didn't mince words: his new game is in no way related to the comical tale of Travis Touchdown and the United Assassins Association. What is it, then?

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Here's what he would confirm: the untitled game is set somewhere in Asia in the near future, and, surprise, surprise, it's an action game. Of course, there was much more to talk about, such as the relationship between the two characters in the first image. Right about here is where Suda's answers took a turn for the weird.

"We can only say that there aren't two protagonists. It's not two separate people. It has a lot to do with the game system, too. They are not adversaries."

Well, that's confusing. Forgetting the Shinobu look-alike for a moment, let's take a better look at the other character in the first image. (Click to enlarge.)

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When I asked for clarification on the combat system and the importance of the character's wrappings, he made it clear that the image above contains numerous hints, specifically within the top left corner. Apparently, the entire image is easier to decipher with an in-depth understanding of Japanese history and traditions.

Assuming that her aggressive stance and facial expression suggest a certain attitude, I asked about her personality. To this, Suda said:

"When the Japanese announcement went out in Famitsu, there was a tagline with that image, but it was a little difficult to localize. Literally translated, the tagline is: 'What the hell are you looking at, pampi?' She's talking to, not necessarily commoners, but average people. The specific term for this type of person is 'pampi' in Japanese."

He also clarified that the character above tends to exhibit a studious demeanor, but she occasionally shifts into the confident and aggressive form depicted in the concept art. This, too, he explained, is linked to the game's mechanics.

Is there a connection between her shifting attitude and the two characters who, based on his previous comments, seem to represent a single person? That seems to be the implication, but Suda was unwilling to comment any further.

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As you can see, there's very little concrete information on the game, and many questions without answers. We know for certain that it's not No More Heroes 3, but could it be a spin-off starring Shinobu? Perhaps, but how does that fit with the protagonist's potential duality? With these questions in mind, I'll leave you with the final piece of concept art. There's still much to learn, but if you think you see the hints Suda was talking about, take it to the comments and enlighten the rest of us!

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