NetEase, Suda51, No More Heroes Devs Grasshopper Explained

Everything you should know about NetEase and Suda51.

October 22, 2021

NetEase Games announced on October 22, 2021, the acquisition of Grasshopper Manufacture, the Japanese studio of Suda51, developers of No More Heroes. Here’s what you need to know.

Who is Suda51 and what’s Grasshopper? Explained

Grasshopper was founded 23 years ago on March 30, 1998 by Goichi Suda, known by the pseudonym Suda51 (which in Japanese, is pronounced exactly the same as his real name). Before that, he was working on wrestling games (Fire Pro Wrestling) and horror ADV games (Twilight Syndrome) at Human Entertainment.

Even before that, Suda51 was working in the business of funeral rites in Japan, while wanting to get a break ino the game industry. He contacted Human after one of its recruitment drives, but didn’t receive any answers. At some point, when developing its next wrestling game, Human Entertainment lost its wrestling specialist and core staff member. As Suda51 explained in his application that he is a huge pro wrestling fan, he was suddenly contacted and hired, working as a scenarist and joining the game’s development midway.

However, Suda51 quickly realized he would never have full creative freedom at Human, always being asked to work or direct projects which started without him. He thus left the studio and made Grasshopper Manufacture. His studio is famous for several games, including its first work, The Silver Case, an ADV murder mystery first released in 1999 on PS1.

Suda51 is known for the various amounts of craziness featured in his games. Just like Hideo Kojima, one of his good friends. He is also friends with Swery. Suda51 and Swery have an ongoing project together, Hotel Barcelona. Be sure to check out our translation of the project’s talk show with both developers.

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What will happen to Suda51 and Grasshopper after NetEase buys the studio?

NetEase is a Chinese company and the biggest gaming company from the country after Tencent, also specialized in mobile. It now plans to expand into consoles by most notably getting Japanese studios.

On paper, NetEase will be funding Grasshopper, while the studio will have creativity and production freedom to keep the flavor and quality it’s known for. Furthermore, Grasshopper will also be supported by NetEase with thousands of artists and technical experts in terms of game art and quality assurance.

Lastly, Grasshopper Manufacture announced it will release “three even higher qualiy games for all gamers in the next ten years.”

Several weeks ago, Bloomberg reported that NetEase hired Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi. A few days ago, Sega confirmed Toshihiro Nagoshi left the company, but we don’t know yet officially what are his next plans. Be sure to check our explanation of Nagoshi’s role at Sega and what will happen to the Yakuza series.

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Iyane Agossah

Living near Paris, Iyane (He/Him) is the head of Japanese content at DualShockers. He speaks Japanese, has been watching anime for over 25 years, and plays Genshin Impact mainly for its story. You can reach him on Twitter at @A_iyane07.

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