"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1
"The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Just like in a Gameboy game... a nice tight little world... and all its inhabitants... made out of little building blocks... Why can't these little pixels be the building blocks for love..? For loss... for understanding"- James Kochalka, Reinventing Everything part 1
"I wonder if James Kolchalka has played Mother 3 yet?" Jonathan Holmes
So, someone I like a lot (who shall remain unnamed for the sake of privacy) recently got to talk with Suda 51. Of course, this led me to feel fly into a jealous rage and threaten to kill said person. Now, this is not the first time someone I'm friends with has gotten to hang out with a big-time game developer. In fact, I think it was just two months ago that Nick Chester was hanging out with Miyamoto in New York. As great as that was, I didn't really feel jealous of Nick. If anything, I just thought it was cool that someone I know got to meet someone who is largely responsible for some of the biggest milestone moments in videogames.
So why the jealousy over meeting Suda51?
Well, for better or worse, Suda 51 is the only game developer out there right now who can truly surprise me. I mean sure, Metal Gear Solid 4 had a few moments I didn't see coming, and the mere fact that games like MadWorld and Little King's Story are allowed to exist is still a bit of a shocker, but once you start playing those three games, you learn what to expect from them pretty quickly.
Right now, only Suda seems able to make a game that, from beginning to end, consistently throws me for a loop. Even now, I can replay Flower Sun and Rain or No More Heroes at any time and still get a "What the fuck..." face out of the experience. For an old bastard like me who survived a weird-ass realty show, four and a half years of art school, and employment at two psychiatric hospitals, that's pretty impressive
So anyway, I begged this unnamed person to ask Suda these twenty questions. I wanted to run them by you, to see if I made a totally ass out of myself or not.
2) A lot of the Dtoid editors are big fans of yours. One of them (me) recently wrote a editorial about how you were the first to use the term "punk" to define a style of videogame. Is that accurate? Do you consider your games to be punk? If so, what does that even mean?
3) In the same article, the editor (me) wrote about how if No More Heroes on the PS3/360 is a success, it could mean good things for "punk" games in general. Do you think he's right about that?
4) No More Heroes on the PS3/360 isn't being developed by Grasshopper. Why not?
5) No More Heroes on the PS3/360 wont have motion controls, and looks a lot more "produced" than the original game. How do you feel about that?
6) Your games are famous for their symbolism. When No More Heroes fans talk about that game's overworld, they often say that it's uneventful and quiet on purpose, because you wanted to show that to a gamer, the real world is not an exciting place; that only the videogame world (as represented by the assassination missions) is exciting. Do you consciously intend to send messages like this, or do they happen by accident? Subconsciously?
7) What was your involvement with Mikami's cult-hit God Hand? It's rumored that you were more involved than the game's credits let on...
8) In the West, the Wii is often frowned upon by "hardcore" gamers. Some even say that No More Heroes is proof that "hardcore" games don't sell on the Wii, because the game didn't sell over a million copies like Assassin's Creed of GTA IV. Do you agree that No More Heroes was a financial failure? If so, why did you make No More Heroes 2 a Wii exclusive?
9) Other games that are often sited in people's online arguments that the hardcore games can't sell on the Wii are MadWorld (sold approx 200,000 copies, unreleased in Japan) and The Conduit (sold approx 400,000 copies). Do you consider them to be financial failures? If so, do you think they would have done better on other consoles?
10) The ESRB states that in No More Heroes 2, enemies will pull their own heads off, and that the player will be able to watch some of Travis's favorite anime, Bizarre Jelly. Are these claims true? If so, what more can you tell us about them?
11) One of our editors (me) really picked apart the last US trailer for No More Heroes 2. He found a bat-a-rang, a little man in a flying car, a decapitated head flying across the screen, and a turnip-faced girl in oversized robot armor. Just what the fuck is going on here?
12) People who liked No More Heroes are obviously going to buy the sequel, but what about those who didn't like the game? What exactly did you change about the original to make No More Heroes 2 more appealing to them?
13) No More Heroes 2 features a lot of "retro" elements. What do you think about retro games, and the way they're designed. Would you ever want to make a game that's "retro" from start to finish?
14) What are the feelings you want to evoke with No More Heroes 2? Is it a new set of feelings, or the same feelings as No More Heroes 1?
15) Rumor has it that Nintendo is going to release a HD console next year. Have you heard anything about that? If so, would you want to develop for it?
16) What can you tell us about the project for EA that you're working on with Mikami?
17) Mikami's creations have been made into movies, and Kojima's Metal Gear Solid is to become a film as well. Would you want to make a No More Heroes movie? If so, who would you want to write/direct/star?
18) In the December issue of Nintendo Power, Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka stated that you are his favorite game developer, because you know how to make a game for the Western market that still feels Japanese. What do you think of this statement?
19) If you could make a videogames using any establish IP (Star Wars, Bat-Man, etC), what would it be?
20) Finally, you're games don't always make a lot of money, yet you get to keep making them. Why do you think that is?
So yeah, those are the questions I came up with. It was short notice, and I was actually pretty nervous about the whole thing, which is weird because I wasn't even going to see him in person.There is a lot more I want to ask the guy, but even for a "serious game journalist" like myself, scoring an interview with a Japanese game developer (who's games generally don't sell) isn't as easy as you may think.
Until then, I just have to hope that he at least got asked the werewolf question.