Suda 51 Interviews

Killer Is Dead delivering ‘experiences that people can’t even begin to think about’


Killer Is Dead delivering 'experiences that people can't even begin to think about'Killer Is Dead isn’t like your average videogame.

There’s a lot more going on and from a cursory glance it might seem like it’s all entirely random, but Suda51 (Goichi Suda of Grasshopper Manufacture) assures us there is a method to the madness.

We caught up with the enigmatic developer to talk about his latest game and what on earth is going on in it…

A lot of games on show at E3 this year focused on super-realism through visuals, but your games don’t tend to require a lot of additional power, so what, for you, does next-gen mean?

I really feel every time a console comes out, there’s going to be a race towards realism. Everyone’s going to try and take what they see in their surroundings and incorporate that.

If that’s what I would call a vertical evolution, I would like to say there’s also going to be a horizontal evolution in addition to that. Exploring the horizontal possibilities, not just the vertical increase in levels of realism, is going to really open up a slew of new ways to filter and abstract what we perceive and regurgitate. There’s going to be completely new ways to do that.

Xbox never really did well in Japan and Xbox One will probably be the same because most of the games are Western focused. Do you know what Xbox’s plans are for Japan in terms of trying to harness the Japanese audience?

I honestly don’t know what Microsoft’s plans or vision for Xbox One in Japan is going to be. We really haven’t received immense support for Xbox One in Japan, so I don’t know what their plans are. Whatever everyone else knows right now is what we know. That being said, Windows and a lot of other Microsoft products have a track record of being successful in Japan, so I think it’s matter of time or some kind of hook that will let the Xbox explode or shine in Japan. But what or when that is, is still kind of up in the air.

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Western games tend to use a lot of QTEs, but Japanese combat games focus on player control and making it look stylish. What’s your take on these two opposing methods?

I won’t deny or say that QTEs are mistaken or wrong in any way, but one thing I do emphasise within the team and with everyone I work with, is if you’re going to use a QTE, don’t simply lift it out of another game and pop it into yours. Make sure there’s meaning behind the QTE.

A lot of developers put limitations on what ideas they can make fit into a game, but you seem to embrace the opposite of that with moments such as the tiger chase scene through Kyoto.

Killer Is Dead delivering 'experiences that people can't even begin to think about'I really feel that everything in games is an experience and everything that people experience has to be fresh.

I want to continue to deliver experiences that people can’t even begin to think about.

So in thinking about the best way to integrate that into the context of a game as I write the scenario, for example the tiger chase, I was thinking Yakuza has a tiger, what would be a good thing for that? Naturally I arrived at Kyoto.

To me, that’s a message from the videogame goddess telling me to leave certain milestones in the history of videogame making.