Suda51 Interview -- Returning to The Silver Case and Reviving Goichi Suda
Suda51 talks about his return to The Silver Case world and how he felt writing additional continent for the PS4 release.
Many gamers know of Goichi “Suda51” Suda for his unapologetic and imaginative games such as Lollipop Chainsaw and Killer 7. His style cannot be pinned down and the eccentric developer seems to constantly be going outside of his comfort zone to create new and unique video games.
The Silver Case was released to Japan in 1999 for the original PlayStation, and came west 17 years later remastered for the PC. Now, the game is coming back to PlayStation hardware with two additional chapters for a new generation of console gamers.
DualShockers had the opportunity to sit down with Suda-san to discus what it was like returning to his younger self and what he will focus on in the future of his career. NIS America assisted with translation.
DualShockers: With The Silver Case being released 17 years ago on the original PlayStation, how does it feel to jump two generations of PlayStation hardware and have a Remastered version on the PlayStation 4?
Goichi Suda: It’s a mysterious feeling. After the game was released last year on the PC, NISA gave me a call to get the game on PS4. Because it skipped two generations of PlayStation hardware, I feel as though the game gives off a retro feeling.
DS: There was a documentary where you stated that you took inspiration from a Godard film for The Silver Case. Was there any other media that you might have taken inspiration from?
GS: At the time I was developing The Silver Case there was a variety show that aired in Japan, but what was striking about this was how they used screen space. What they would do is put the video in a box in the top right corner of the screen and fill the rest of the screen with text. At the time, it was extremely cutting edge and I had never seen anybody use screen space like that.
Returning to the inspiration of Godard, it was film titled Nouvella Vague (New Wave). There is a ton of information being conveyed to the viewer using text and this was just incredibly fascinating to me. I feel like this was the foundation or at lease the start to me creating The Silver Case.
DS: Do you think, now that you’ve returned to one of your first works, that you’d like to return to other games you’ve created? Or would you just like to move on and create something new?
GS: The one the thing I’d like to do is remaster the sequel, 25 Ward. Beyond that I would like to continue to work on this world. I’m not sure if I’d like to do a direct sequel, but I want to continue the series. I feel capable to do this because in the process of remastering the game, I rediscovered the ability to write a visual novel.
DS: With new hardware on the horizon like the Nintendo Switch, do you feel that you will utilize these new tools during development of future games?
GS: With the Nintendo Switch, I feel that it is really appealing. There’s so many cool things that are unique about it. I’d like to use the Switch hardware to create something unique.
DS: Speaking of the Switch, during your time on stage at the presentation a translator had trouble doing his job. Do you believe that it is difficult to be your translator?
GS: There was a prompter, but I stuck to about 80% of the script.
Grasshopper Manufacture developer Kazuyuki Kumagai interrupts: no no no, it wasn’t even close to 80%.
GS: Okay, I added a little.
I would like to apologize to the translator. I’d also like to go to Seattle and take the guy out to dinner. We could even take a picture together so I could put it on Twitter and show everyone that I apologized. I really hope people don’t give that guy grief.
On the other hand, Nintendo praised me and said it was a great presentation. Foreign people over here probably didn’t understand much of what was going on.
DS: It seems that you embody a persona for each game that you develop. Is this something you do purposely or does it just happen?
GS: In a way, I do this consciously. Every game that I work one has it’s own feeling or emotion and when I go out I have to talk as the representative of the entire team and get that feeling across.
DS: Do you feel that the years have been good to the visuals and mechanics of The Silver Case and do you think they will work with this new generation of gamers?
GS: Even today, I feel that the visual style and the way the game is is unparalleled and very unique unto itself. I feel that gamers today can accept this as a new game.
The art in particular was made by an artist name Takashi Miyamoto who used to work at Grasshopper. His art is very hardboiled and serious, I feel this look doesn’t exist anywhere else. I think people will appreciate this when they play the game.
DS: How did it feel to return to The Silver Case after all these years and create two additional chapters?
The game has two parts to it, Transmitter and Placebo, I wrote the Transmitter part and Masahi Ooka wrote the Placebo part. So I called Ooka-san and said that Chapter 6 of Transmitter kind of just ends, but there was never a corresponding chapter within Placebo. I asked him to fix this and return to the game and add this part in, but I felt that I couldn’t ask something of him and not add anything myself. That’s when I ended up creating a new scenario to ultimately create a new question for players.
It was a rehabilitating experience getting back into this world. At first I thought, “Maybe I can’t do this.” But the more I spent time with it, I realized that I could do it. To be honest, I never told the staff that I was going to do this. So at the very last minute…
Kumagai-san interrupts: very last minute.
We had to pretty much make time for this in the schedule. Within writing this, I was able to approach the game as I did when I first created it.
DS: Did returning to something you created 17 years ago motivate you to continue to work as a game director?
While working on this game again, I felt like I was meeting myself from 17 years ago. In some ways I felt like that person was a separate person from me. I remember making the game and who I was at the time, but it still felt like it was made by a different person. I discovered things about this person that I have lost over the years, youth, anger, a drive to do all types of things. This created a desire to not lose to my younger self, I’m gonna still push on and make great things.
After this, I felt that Goichi Suda had been revived.