Interview With: Suda51, CEO Of Grasshopper Manufacture
On way our over to the Warner Bros. booth to check out superhero brawler Injustice: Gods Among Us and the zombie-blitzing Lollipop Chainsaw, we got a last minute phone call: Grasshopper Manufacture’s Goichi “Suda51″ Suda had arrived at E3, would we like to interview him? Seeing as this was the creative director behind such PlayStation classics as Killer7 and Shadows of the Damned, not to mention the forthcoming Lollipop Chainsaw itself, it was too good a chance to miss!
Here’s what Suda51 had to say about the game, working with the creator of the Resident Evil series and his creative processes.
Where do you get the inspiration from for your off-the-wall characters?
Suda51: Well, first of all I think about gameplay and a story. I could be taking a bus somewhere and spot an interesting old man walking down the street. Maybe I start imagining his story. From there I go to think about more characters. There are so many ideas it’s just a case of picking some and going with them. In this case it just happened to be cheerleaders with chainsaws.
And how do you fit the ideas of your team around your vision?
Suda51: This really was a collaborative effort. A lot of ideas come from the guys, and many of us think on the same wavelength – when I suggest a project they go away and think about how they can add to it. We have a big bank of ideas to draw from.
Why did you decide to focus on melee combat in Lollipop Chainsaw rather than guns?
Suda51: Because that’s what we’re good at! The close combat action I think would be ruined by having a handgun or a shotgun. Using your fists and a chainsaw, like Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead movies, is much messier.
How do you decide the PlayStation trophies list? It must be a lot of fun coming up with that.
Suda51: I’d say it’s one of the most enjoyable parts of building the game. As we incorporate a certain feature, we’ll think, “This would make a great trophy to reward people with”. Again, ideas for trophies come from the whole team. We design them so that they make you feel good.
Did you consider integrating PlayStation Move functionality with the game?
Suda51: Of course, it was something we thought about, but for the moment we decided to concentrate more on the game. So, not right now but we aren’t ruling it out.
What did you learn from working with Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, on Shadows of the Damned?
Suda51: It was great. We got on really well together both as creators and people – in fact I would call him a mentor. It was interesting seeing how he got his ideas across and the kinds of details he picks up on.
And do you think he learned anything from you?
Suda51: I wish! I can’t wait to see his new game, Zwei.
Is there anybody else, either in or outside of the video games industry, that you’d like to work with?
Suda51: Working with [movie director and Lollipop Chainsaw co-writer] James Gunn was great. I found that whole area really melded together well with what we were trying to do. To move further in that direction would be fantastic.