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Interviews

Suda 51

On working with EA, Sine Mora and drinking

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Actually Grasshopper is always working with different hardware and consoles. We haven't necessarily picked one but depending how talks went with publishers we went with different hardware. I think it is a blessing to have technology and a new hardware platform, it does give challenges - especially for the technical people - but even for them it is a chance to create new gameplay and is blessing.

So you're never afraid to take a risk on something new like this?

No, I've never been afraid.

What do you think needs to be done to revive the Japanese games industry?

Of course, we are based in Japan but I'm already done with the idea that you have to be Japanese market specific. We're still based here but we work with Japanese publishers as well as publishers like EA in the states, Digital Reality is Hungary.

In Japan we want to be able to keep on working with publishers around the world and go up against all the great developers in the world and be stimulated and excited by great games from around the world. I think continuing to create great games and be influenced by others is how to improve the industry.

Do you think your EA game is going to help you do that, to compete and take on the big developers around the world?

I think it is going to be a great start. Even in EA there are a lot of people from Activison or Take 2 with a lot of great knowledge on game development. By working with EA we can also learn new things and ideas for development. It helps us to be able to help with other big publishers. So yes it does, you definitely need more experience.

So you think that project will improve you as a designer?

Yes of course.

You've built a reputation of having a big group of friends in the Japanese design community. When was the last time you went partying with them?

I can't remember... maybe E3. The memory of E3 is gone - there was no party from Nintendo or Sony, Microsoft...

Perhaps that reputation is a bit exaggerated then?

Really? I guess the last time might have been the secret party that creators organised for Kojima-san when he was awarded the lifetime achievement award at GDC. Enterbrain - the publisher of Famitsu - organised the party for Kojima-san.

Who's the biggest drinker in the Japanese design community?

Nagoshi-san from Sega, the designer of Super-Monkey ball and Yakuza. He drinks wine a lot - it's impressive.

And the worst?

Mr Sakurai [designer of Smash Bros., Kid Icarus 3DS], he doesn't drink at all, just Coca Cola.

What would you say is the highest point and biggest regret of your career so far?

Any time a title is released is really exciting for me, but at the same time during my twelve years in the business a few games have been cancelled and I really regret those. If I ever have the chance I'd really like to revive these projects somehow.

If Grasshopper becomes more famous, gets more fans, I think there might be a chance, that is more of the reason why we want to go and become a strong company.

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