Interviews

Suda 51: 'Crazy is a compliment'

The industry legend talks about Damned, Mikami and Burnout...

Suda 51 is a big character in the games industry, in fact, the brains behind much-loved series' like No More Heroes is something of an industry legend.

When Suda 51 teams up with someone like Shinji Mikami, then, it makes sense that the whole industry and its massive fan-base sits up and listens with more than mild anticipation.

We got some time with one of video games most eccentric developers to talk about one of his quirkiest titles yet, Shadows of the Damned.

But we had so many more questions fluttering around our head as well, so we did our best to cram as much discussion into our all too brief time with the gaming royal as possible, probing him about the Japanese industry, Mikami-san himself and the kind of titles he'd like to give the Suda stamp in an ideal world:

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It's a crazy game. This must be one of the craziest games you've made to date...

Wow! Thank-you very much! That's a compliment, that's a great compliment. I really wanted you to think that, so that's great.

It's something you were striving for then? Did you want people to be shocked by it almost?

Yeah definitely. I'm definitely glad you said that because I was a little bit afraid that I made this game too ordinary. I was afraid that it wasn't crazy enough.

It's quite a gory game as well. Have you had to cut any of that out?

Yes. A lot actually. Yeah definitely. And, I don't know if I'm supposed to say this, but originally Paula [protagonist Garcia Hotspur's girlfriend] was naked, of course.

So will there be a Director's Cut maybe?

I'm not sure if that's possible. I mean, UK, I don't think it would be allowed here.

Would it be allowed in Japan?!

Oh no no no no!

How are you finding working for a western publisher?

It's been around three years working with EA now and we've experienced a lot of new things throughout the development and I think it was really good that we could learn a western style of development I suppose.

I think the mix of having the Japanese customisation and technology and the western pipe-line I think our development process will become even better now.

You said some time ago now that this game would help close the gap between the Japanese industry and the western industry, how do you think it's going to do that and do you think there is a gap still?

You're not just talking about the process of game development but the games industry in general?

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In terms of its success...

Most difficult... I think this game will help close the gap even more because, I don't know, I think some people will buy this game not really knowing that this game is made in Japan but through the media like yourself I guess people can be educated that a Japanese developer can create something that is up to par with western games.

Do you think Japanese developers need to be doing anything to try and catch up to the west or are they fine as they are?

That's so difficult. It really depends on the studio too. I'm sure each developer or each studio has its own philosophy. I mean for us I don't think the development is too different from western studios. It really depends on the studio.

What's Mikami-san like to work with? Is he strict?

It's really fun, he's very gentle but when it comes to the core mechanic of the game or how it feels to do the combat then he just turns to be a really strict guy. He really wants to make sure it feels right or it feels good to play, so that's something I've learned working with him on this project.

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