The Wii's incredible commercial success and unique control system ensured that the console received more than its fair share of third-party exclusives, with No More Heroes being one of the most notable early releases. Developed by Goichi "Suda51" Suda and his team at Grasshopper Manufacture, this insane 3D action title combined pop-culture, Otaku references, over-the-top violence and plenty of Wii Remote waggling.
Speaking to EDGE magazine, Suda51 has explained how the title came to be, and has also revealed that it nearly appeared as an exclusive on a totally different console — the Xbox 360. Suda51's mind was changed when he saw Nintendo's unique controller at the Tokyo Game Show in 2005, noting that it would be perfect for the game's katana-based combat, which was actually conceived before the Wii was announced.
Getting the Wii Remote to feel right was quite a challenge, and Suda51 says his team went through many different control arrangements before the final one was decided:
We found that attacking with only motion control was exhausting, so that's when we added the use of the A button. We made about four or five iterations before we nailed the combat.
One of the most notable elements of the game was the need for lead character Travis Touchdown to shake his sword in order to recharge it, a repeated jerking motion which many have mistaken for something else entirely. Suda51 explains that this wasn't the sole intention, although he admits that it suits the character:
I owned a flashlight that you could shake to recharge the battery. I thought a motion like that would suit the Wii Remote, and it also looks like, uh... [mimes waggling the controller near his crotch, laughing] That kind of motion is very Travis.
Despite its mature content, violence, bad language and sexual innuendo, Nintendo was highly supportive of No More Heroes. In North America, the title bucked the trend by giving gamers a more mature version than elsewhere:
They were very supportive, especially Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe. In Japan and also in Europe, we released a lighter version, where the heads don't fly like they do in the American version. The mature content was only in the American version.
Finally, Suda51 reveals a bit of information which might not please Nintendo followers — Travis Touchdown isn't a fan of the company's consoles, despite the fact that he began life on the Wii:
He has a Mega Drive and a Mega CD. Travis is a hardcore gamer, so he'd be into Sega hardware rather than Nintendo [laughs]
Suda51 is clearly fond of the franchise and its lead character, who he admits is based on himself to a certain degree. He's keen to bring Touchdown back at some point in the future:
No More Heroes was a smash hit as far as we were concerned, and I wanted to return to it and to make it a series over which we would take great care. I often get asked to make a third game. Right now we're busy with Let It Die, but Travis is a character we could even return to in ten years' time. When the timing is right, I'd like to do so.
Do you have fond memories of No More Heroes and its sequel, Desperate Struggle? Do you hope to see more titles in the series? Let us know by posting a comment below.