While sales of Suda51's games aren't always where publishers would like them to be, if there's one thing to be said, it's that those who do play the designer's titles sure are passionate about them. Speaking to GamesIndustry International, Suda says that GungHo Online Entertainment's acquisition of Grasshopper Manufacture should help boost sales going forward.
"Grasshopper does have a very strong base; it's just that because we were so indie, publishers were always [treating us] differently," he said. "Each publisher operates a different way, has different strategic ideas, so in terms of sales, what they did, was they kept creating what they thought was good. But in terms of publishing, it was a different company's strategic choice. So we believe that back then, when we were completely indie without a group company to be together with, we weren't able to translate our creative directly into sales because that was the part where there was always a wall between creative and sales transition wise."
Continuing, Suda looks ahead: "So now that we're one big group together [at GungHo] and we'll be publishing our own titles as Grasshopper, we believe that the creative side and the sales side will have a better connection. So we definitely believe that it will transfer to good sales because we will be able to choose our own strategy."
Those organizational walls can be a real detriment, but is it ever that simple? I'm not entirely convinced. Either way, the responsibility is now, by default, Grasshopper and GungHo's. He did share something I can get behind, which is to concentrate on the art first and foremost. "We don't really focus on sales figures," Suda explained. "We always focus more on gameplay, and just the creative aspect of whether it's a good game or not. It's not that big of an issue, in terms of sales numbers. As long as we think it's a good game then we'll be satisfied internally."
Suda51: We ran into a "wall" at publishers [GamesIndustry International]