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Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, And Beyond: Catching Up With Suda 51

JGaskill
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Posted September 16, 2010 - By Jake Gaskill


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It’s been a while—too long, by his own admission—since Suda 51, the charming and eccentric head of No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacture, has had a new game to enthusiastically discuss. This unfortunate cycle was broken during this year’s Gamescom 2010 when Suda-san and company announced the downloadable shooter Sine Mora, which Grasshopper is collaborating on with Digital Reality.

When I spoke with Suda-san shortly after the Gamescom reveal, he was unable to share any details about a then unannounced title he was working on with EA. However, this mystery was solved yesterday when the blood soaked, action/horror title Shadows of the Damned was officially unveiled during the Tokyo Game Show. Our own Abbie Heppe sat down with Suda-san himself to find out more about the new project, and to find out why everyone should own a pair of golden sneakers. 

TGS 2010: Shadows of the Damned - Suda 51 Interview »


 
When I spoke with Suda-san last month, Shadows of the Damned was still under wraps, so we instead spent most of our time talking about Sine Mora, what it means to be part of a true collaborative process, why the downloadable space is a perfect fit for his sensibilities, and why 3D might end up making games too overwhelming an experience for their own good.
 
Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, And Beyond: Catching Up With Suda 51

G4: Since we don’t know much about it at this point, tell us a little about Sine Mora.

Suda 51: This is the first title from the collaboration between Digital Reality and Grasshopper Manufacture. Director Theo [Reiker] at Digital Reality created the prototype and now their shifting to the actual production period. We’re going to provide art direction and also sound to help them. The world for the game and the scenario and the game design and technology will be provided by Digital Reality.

G4: How has the collaboration been so far?
 
S51: I think the most important part is the communication with the other director, and I think it’s very important for us to understand what he wants and how he thinks, so we’re going to receive all of what he wants to do, and provide our feedback...It’s not really our first time working with a foreign director but still it is a rare experience. The director has a very great passion for the game, and he also has the solid idea of how this game should be, and so for us, we really want to help them create his vision.

G4: And what is that vision?

S51: [Sine Mora] a side-scrolling shooter. The world is really created by Theo, and he has a very good idea of what the world should be, and he wants to create a world with diesel-punk style, and I think the game will be based in a near future setting.

G4: And of course it’s a downloadable title coming to Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Have you been wanting to make a downloadable game for a while now? Do you think you’ll pursue more original downloadable titles in the future?

Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, And Beyond: Catching Up With Suda 51S51: Last year, there was no title released that was developed by us. There wasn’t a year like that before, so it was kind of a shock, and I thought it was not a good situation at all. We couldn’t really provide anything for the worldwide audience, and that was something I regret strongly, so I thought, “We really need to start creating games on a much faster pace. Digital distribution is definitely the way. We’d definitely love to create original Grasshopper titles as well, like maybe titles from Akira Yamaoka, or even from Kazutoshi Iida, who is also another really genius, famous creator that we have, and some young creators that we have in-house.
 
G4: The downloadable space also seems particular well suited to your sort of mashup style. But rather than combining a bunch of genres and game types into one larger title, you could just release those pieces as standalone downloadable games.

S51: Yeah. Absolutely.

G4: Sine Mora supports 3D too, right?

S51: Yes.

G4: Does it support Move?

S51: I don’t think they’re going to do that.

G4: Move is obviously quite similar to Wii, but Kinect is something completely different. Any interest in exploring that space down the road?

S51: Yeah. Definitely. We have some ideas with Kinect. I think it’s very interesting. And 3DS is amazing. It’s really great. I think that’s a very scary toy.

G4: Scary how?

S51: It’s just too exciting. I think kids can get too excited. Maybe they'll stop going to school. [Laughs] I think it’s just too far out there. I mean even as an adult you get too excited Wow! It’s like, “Oh my god! It just pops out!” Especially [Nintendogs and Cats]. The dogs are right there! It’s just unbelievable. I just wonder what kinds nowadays think. Do they just get excited? What happens to them? It will be the number one important thing for kids worldwide.
 
Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, And Beyond: Catching Up With Suda 51
 
G4: Have any ideas percolating for the 3DS?

S51: Absolutely.

G4: Are there any studios that you’re particularly impressed by in terms of what they’ve brought to the downloadable space? Any games that have caught your eye?

S51: Limbo. Braid. World of Goo. The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai. I like extreme games. I think there are lots of extreme games. I think they are fantastic. I feel lots of passions and energy from those titles.

G4: And that seems to be one of the great benefits of digital platforms, since it lets up and coming developers and artists, as well as established developers, really play and explore in ways they might not be able to otherwise.

S51: Absolutely. You can challenge things. One of the creators I respect so much, Eric Chahi-I’ve just met him, just now—he created the new title From Dust, and it’s really great to see a great creator like that creating something for digital distribution, so I would definitely want to create something on our own for digital distribution as well.
 
Limbo Walkthrough
 
G4: You mentioned Limbo, and From Dust, which is on the horizon. Any other upcoming titles that you’ve seen recently that you’re especially excited about?

S51: Need for Speed Hot Pursuit looks fantastic. Anything Criterion creates is just great. They just cannot make mistakes. I’m also looking forward to LittleBigPlanet 2. Alex [Evans] is a genius.
 
G4: I never would have expected the man behind No More Heroes would have such an eclectic taste in games. Totally shocker. But based on the games you’ve mentioned, it’s hard to pin down a particular thread that connects them all. So when it comes to games like these, what do you respond to? What does a game have to do to grab you?

S51: What I like is to see something that no other person can do. If anyone can do it, if I can say, “OK. If I make some effort, I can create this,” it’s like, “Whatever.” But if it’s like, “OK. This is done only by this person, or only this studio,” that’s when I have a lot of respect. if it’s something I don’t think I can do, that really draws me. It’s not just for games; it’s for music, movies, literature, everything. It has to be something special.
 

Should the need arise, feel free to E-Mail me your tips, suggestions, and/or personal philosophies, or follow me on Twitter.

Shadows of the Damned, Sine Mora, And Beyond: Catching Up With Suda 51
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