No More Heroes launched late last year in Japan to critical acclaim, but the sales figures didn't seem to match.
Having spent some time with the game and read every detail in NGamer's fine review, we sat down with developer Suda 51 and caught up on his thoughts (we last spoke with him in April 2007).
The main audience for the Wii is very different to any other console. What is your reaction to this?
Suda 51: Actually I was very surprised about the reality of Wii, because before I was making this game, I wasn't expecting that Wii would be a console targeted only at non-gamers. I expected more games for hardcore gamers. The reality is different to Advertisement:
what I expected.Advertisement:
Does that worry you?
Suda 51: No, because I make games for hardcore gamers. The people who play the casual games will also tire of playing the casual games, and people will start moving towards playing real games. I thought that by the time No More Heroes came around, they would want to move up to other games.
The Wii is cheaper to develop for than Xbox 360 or PS3. Was this a factor when deciding what to develop No More Heroes for?
Suda 51: No More Heroes is targeting gamers all over the world and not just Japan, so we actually had the money to produce the games for the PS3 or 360. The budget is not as high as some games on PS3 and 360, but compared to other Wii titles, the budget is higher.
No More Heroes was critically acclaimed in Japan, but it unfortunately didn't sell as well as you might have hoped. Is that a reflection on what's going on in Japan at the moment?
Suda 51: Whilst the sales weren't as high as I hoped, other titles for Wii aren't selling so well either. Only Nintendo titles are doing well. This isn't just because of the current situation in Japan, as this is happening outside Japan.
The feedback from gamers we've had has also been very good. I expect that other gamers will hear about it four or five months later, and they will go and buy it. So that's what I expect, that gamers will talk about it and people will play it later.
No More Heroes is subtle in its use of the unique features of the Wii. How tempted were you to use the motion control sensors for everything, in the way that some games have tried to do?
Suda 51: Actually, when I was developing this game, I never really touched other titles for Wii because I didn't want to be influenced by other game designs. I was expecting at the beginning of Wii that all the companies developing for it would use the controls all the time, slashing and slashing and stuff like that.
I knew people would get tired of the controls. I think that the most important thing is to keep it simple and only use the controls for something special.
Why do you think there are so few violent battle-based games on the Wii?
Suda 51: I don't know. I think that Nintendo is happy with my games, even going back to Killer 7 on the GameCube, and are respectful of the way I design something with violence in.
There is a version of Killer 7 for PS2, but actually there's a restriction on the violent scenes in the game, so the quality for the GameCube and PS2 versions are different.
That's why I'm happy to make games for Nintendo, because they're respectful of the kind of games I like to make.
There's two versions of No More Heroes, one for the US and one for UK/Japan, with the main difference being bloody content included in the US version. What was the cause of this and which one do you see as more in line with your vision?
Suda 51: Even when production began, we were making two versions, one for Japan and one for America. So there are no restrictions, actually. It's not like they have to change the Japanese version, because that idea started from the beginning.
This game is action, so speed and timing are very important. When I played the Japanese version, I found the timing better when you shoot enemies and the coins come out. It's faster and the timing works better. So I prefer that version.
Do you find that the level of violence in the US is a necessary part of the game?
Suda 51: I don't think it's really necessary to have the violence. When I was doing the final balancing on the game, I used the Japanese version to do that, and found it better because it's about speed and timing and action. It plays better.
Suda 51, thank you for your time.