Goichi "Suda51" Suda is one of Japan's most famous game designers, with titles like No More Heroes, Lollipop Chainsaw, The Silver Case and Killer7 under his belt. His company, Grasshopper Manufacture, is close to celebrating 20 years in the industry, and he's been speaking to VG247 about his work, the games market in general and - of course - his hopes for the Nintendo Switch:
I want one. Nintendo always makes really cool, interesting hardware that gives us new things to do. On the Wii, not to brag, but I feel that I made a game [No More Heroes] that used that Wii technology in one of the best ways. I want to find a cool new way to play using what Switch offers.
Suda51 also talks about the games market in Japan, its love of mobile devices and what that means for home consoles:
I feel that in a way the Japanese market has desired this focus on handhelds. Japan as a society is one where most people travel on trains to go to work and things like that – so this item that fits perfectly in the palm of your hand is perfect for that; it's what people wanted. But I also feel that the Japanese domestic market has become more insular, looking in towards itself and only wanting domestic products.
If you look at the people riding on the trains in Japan you start to get a really good idea of what's going on with the culture, what's fashionable and what's happening. 20 years ago when you got on the train you would've seen everybody reading Shonen Jump, the manga magazine, but nowadays it's not like that. 10 years ago it would've been the DS, and now it's their smartphones. There's probably nobody at this point reading Shonen Jump on the trains – or playing DS. Practically everybody is on their smartphones, and so that's now the Japanese people's lifestyle, their custom.
With that said, I still think Japanese people value games very much. They're still very important to them. However, it's probably safe to say that the era of the console being the biggest hit around and things like that… it might be over. That small percentage who fell into it and really got into games – hopefully they'll play my games and hop into the console market or something like that.
As one of Japanese gaming's most recognisable faces, having Suda51 give his approval to the Switch is a big deal for Nintendo - hopefully his feelings are shared by many other developers around the world. His comments about mobile gaming are interesting, too - perhaps by making the Switch a hybrid, Nintendo can buck the trend in its homeland which is seeing domestic systems fall out of favour for portable ones.