Our very good friends at Wii Italia recently got chance to speak to the director of No More Heroes, Goichi Suda (better known as Suda 51) and they've kindly allowed us to reproduce the interview in English.
Wii Italia: Did you say that this game was going to be more violent than Manhunt 2?
Suda 51: Yeah, but I was joking! It was just a provocation.
WI: Nevertheless, the US version of No More Heroes is very violent. Why do the Japanese and European versions contain no blood?
S51: Well, there are 2 versions of the game: the Japanese version and the American version. The two versions are different because of the blood. For the European market we decided to publish the Japanese version, in which the blood is actually ash. In the first concept Travis would have used a Katana sword, than we chose to give him a laser sword that literally “burns” the enemies. So, just as it happens in the famous duel between Obi Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader in Star Wars (we took inspiration from that idea), the one who is killed becomes ashes.
WI: Did Manhunt 2’s censorship influence the decision not to include blood into the European version?
S51: No, the blood was going to give No More Heroes a PEGI 18+ rating. It’s a commercial matter. If you have PEGI 18, you will find it difficult to distribute the game in supermarkets and in other non-specialized retailers, which are very important. Having a PEGI 16+ means more people will get to play the game. In fact, I think this is a game for everyone.
WI: Why is the game cell-shaded?
S51: Cell Shading is a main aspect of the Grasshopper style.
WI: Did you take any inspiration from 70’s-80’s culture, movies or videogames when it came to designing No More Heroes?
S51: No movie in particular influenced No More Heroes…maybe “El Topo” by Alejandro Jodorowsky. For the background, I took inspiration from the 70’s-80’s southern California. And, finally, yes: there are a lot of games I took inspiration from. When I was young I used to play many arcade games in my local laundry. Those games were classics like “Space Invaders”, and are cited in the No More Heroes’ ranking system at the end of the levels. I have a deep respect for my roots.
WI: Recently you’ve been quite negative when talking about the Wii, saying that it’s a console for causal gamers only. Do you think that No More Heroes may bring more hardcore gamers on the system?
S51: For the first 3 years Wii needs more core-games but - I’ll say it again – No More Heroes, even if isn’t a casual game, is a game for everyone. Anyone can pick up the Wii Remote and start playing, even if he or she is not a hardcore player. Anyway, I must say that mine was not a complaint; it was just a statement regarding the massive presence of casual games for Wii. I do not think that Wii is a console for casual gamers only.
WI: We’ve heard about poor sales in Japan. Do you think that the game will perform better in Europe and the United States?
S51: The game was a gamble and actually I’m satisfied. I received a lot of feedback from the players and I think the game will sell more. Unfortunately, today it’s not important “how you sell”, it’s more like “how fast you sell”.
WI: How did Killer 7 influence No More Heroes’ development?
S51: Without Killer 7 No More Heroes would not exist, even if they are so different. The first one was more complex than No More Heroes, anyway.
WI: Do you think you will produce games for other consoles?
S51: I don’t exclude it.
Some interesting thoughts there. Suda's comment about it not being how many units you sell, but how fast is very true. Hopefully No More Heroes will perform better in the US and Europe because it's certainly one of the more unique Wii titles currently available.
No More Heroes is released tomorrow (22nd) in the US and on February 29th in Europe.