The more I learn about "Killer Is Dead", the more I think Suda 51 is making his "Mission Impossible 2". In other words, I'm not yet convinced it will present anything new that I haven't seen in his other games, not that's automatically a bad thing. Like John Woo's 2000 film, "Killer Is Dead" feels like a greatest hits collection of themes, characterizations, and visual stylings of Suda 51's previous works. It calls to mind the assassins of "No More Heroes" and "Killer 7" and the love story of "Shadows of the Damned". More than anything, it feel like the darker sibling of "Lollipop Chainsaw", both in tone and gameplay. This is something I can go for, though I hope the emphasis on thoughtful swordplay implies that "Killer Is Dead" is an improvement over the unremarkable combat of "Lollipop Chainsaw".
By Joseph Leray
Details about "Killer is Dead," a new action game from the developers of "No More Heroes," are spilling out of the most recent issue of Famitsu Weekly. “It’s the first game in the ‘assassin’ series that Grasshopper Manufacture has worked on in a while,” wrote lead designer and industry gadabout Goichi Suda (translated by Polygon), noting that Killer is Dead “picks up where 'Killer7' and 'No More Heroes' left off.”
That’s perhaps most evident in "Killer is Dead’s" cel-shaded, futuristic art direction. “It’s not trying to regress into the past. We’re trying to make a game that we’d only be able to make right now, at this point in time,” Suda writes. “The result is seen in our unique high-contrast shading seen in the graphics, as well as the high speed wrestling-like action."
At the start of the Q&A session during the "Evolving Game Design" panel, Suda51 had questions for his fellow panelist, Fumito Ueda, the lead designer of revered titles "Ico" and "Shadow of the Colossus."
"I think I'll represent everyone here by asking Mr. Ueda: When is your new game going to happen?" Suda said. After some laughter and applause, Ueda replied, "The Japan studio bosses are here so I can't say anything specific, but it might be something similar to what's been done. ... The essence of the game is rather clsoe to 'Ico.'" As Suda asked more questions, Ueda then pleaded, "I can't talk about this anymore! Don't ask anymore questions please! As soon as I stop talking they're going to shoot me!"
Yes, you read that headline right. Even Suda51, whose work includes the quirky, ultra-violent titles "Killer7" and "No More Heroes," was surprised by some of the characters in "Fallout 3." When talking about storytelling in games during the "Evolving Game Design" panel, Suda said via a translator, "Even ['Fallout 3''s] minor characters are shockingly crazy and it makes me wonder what is going on in [lead designer Emil Pagliarulo's] head; Emil, I would like to open up your brain and look at it." Back at you, Suda.
In a panel called "Evolving Game Design: Today and Tomorrrow, Eastern and Western Game Design" with designers Emil Pagliarulo ("Fallout 3"), Fumito Ueda ("Ico," "Shadow of the Colossus") and Goichi Suda ("Killer7," "No More Heroes"), each person was asked to describe their general design philosophy. Suda (a.k.a. Suda51) told us his inspirations via a translator, saying, "I take a look at TV, film and games and then try to get good ideas." He added, "Being alone is very important. I go to the bathroom, I try to poop and then I will come up with an idea. This is a true story!"