We meet one of the most enigmatic and fun game developers out of japan, Suda Gōichi AKA SUDA51 to talk about his newest release with the third game in the franchise: No More Heroes Travis Strikes Again. Travis Touchdown’s adventures continue as an old man stuck in a video game, returning to his home on Nintendo with the Switch console, now including punchy co-op. We also discuss the upcoming anniversary of his company, Grasshopper Manufacture, and the success of 4 Million downloads for Let It Die on the PlayStation 4. We also get a hint that, if we push hard enough, we may see Travis in the next Super Smash Bros. title?
Evan Griffin, Gaming Editor: What was it like coming back to the No More Heroes series after 8 years?
SUDA51: Just being able to do it at the Nintendo booth is huge for me. Having the series revived on the Switch is huge. I’m so happy to see everyone here playing it.
Evan: As far as design goes, how was it building on a portable console like the Nintendo Switch, and how did it influence the design of the gameplay?
SUDA51: So up until now the No More Heroes series has been one player only, but because of the Switch and the way it works we wanted to make it so you could play with two players with the Joy-Con, which was a big change we put in just for the Switch.
(view our gameplay demo below to see what you think)
Evan: So, what has Travis Touchdown been doing in this 7 year gap and how has he changed as a character?
SUDA51: Well he’s an old man now, so he’s stinkier! But, now all of a sudden he’s living in a trailer and as you play through the game you’ll find out what happened to him and why he’s there.
Evan: Congratulations on Grasshopper’s 25th anniversary, by the way! You’ve also had a recent success with Let It Die with 4 million downloads on the PlayStation platform. The Death Drive Mark II is in this game too, do they share a universe? Or is it just and Easter egg?
SUDA51: The Death Drive in Let It Die is a modern game console, while the Death Drive in No More Heroes is actually from the 90’s. It’s something more like the Sega CD or the Neo Geo or one of those others that came out right before the PlayStation.
Evan: Is there a potential for a cameo from Uncle Death anyway just because we like him?
SUDA51: I’m not sure about Uncle Death, but you can be excited about other Grasshopper characters possibly appearing in this game.
Evan: Who’s taking care of Jeane the cat?
SUDA51: Oh, Jeane! Jeane is on the top of the trailer with Travis! If you check the first trailer closely you’ll see Jeane in it. But Jeane is very heavy now, like 10 kg.
Evan: Like a Garfield size… Do we have any chance, now that you’re working on the Switch, of seeing a potential integration or sequels or remasters like Lollipop Chainsaw, Shadow of the Damned, Killer7?
SUDA51: I definitely want to do it if I can! It all depends on the IP because some IP’s are owned by different people.
Evan: How about The Silver Case? Possibly on the Switch in the future?
SUDA51: Yes, I’d love to do it!
Evan: I know it’s a big license thing, but do you want to see Travis in Super Smash Bros?
SUDA51: Of course, I would love for that to happen. But, it’s out of my power. It’s up to the media people to really push Nintendo to do it. You guys have to band together and make it happen!
Evan: Do you have any special and favorite memories in game development?
SUDA51: It’s been 20 years, that’s a lot of memories! …When a ghost appeared in the company studio. So, back when we were working on a sequel to the Fatal Frame franchise, Zero, which is a game where ghosts appear, and you have to take pictures of them. Several of my staff saw a girl in red running through the hallway. I didn’t see it myself, but I heard about it.
Evan: No More Heroes: Travis Strikes Again on the Nintendo Switch, launches when?
SUDA51: This year!