In the last two weeks, Goichi Suda (aka “Suda51”) formally revealed the next project that he and his team at Grasshopper Manufacture are working on, and as hinted at earlier in the year, it is of course the next title in the No More Heroes franchise. The Switch-exclusive game, which is called Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, once again features the return of the franchise’s main protagonist Travis Touchdown, who already seems like his usual wacky self in the game’s reveal trailer.
However, what is different about Travis Strikes Again compared to past games in the No More Heroes series is that Suda51 is this time collaborating with a variety of indie developers on the project. In the reveal trailer itself, we caught a quick glimpse of Travis Touchdown playing Hotline Miami, the popular top-down shooter from developer Dennaton Games and published by Devolver Digital. Two days after Travis Strikes Again was revealed, Suda51 talked more about the game during the Nindies@Night livestream and said that he would be working with Yacht Club Games on his new title by revealing himself to be wearing a shirt featuring Shovel Knight, the titular character from Yacht Club’s popular platformer.
Suda 51 went on to later clarify that the gameplay in Travis Strikes Again won’t necessarily feature gameplay similar to that of Shovel Knight or Hotline Miami, but will instead be similar to that of the original No More Heroes games on the Wii with both traditional button and motion controls. However, he has also stated that the six games that Travis Touchdown will be traversing his way through while trapped inside the Death Drive Mk. 2 — the game console that sucks in and traps Travis — will each be games of varying genres. To me, this means that Suda51 could leave the door open to work alongside indie developers who might have experience in each of these different genres, even if Travis Strikes Again still inherently remains an action game.
With this in mind, my head began swirling with ideas for possible crossovers that I would love to see in Travis Strikes Again. As a lover of both indie games and the No More Heroes series, there’s a handful of developers that I would love to see Suda51 work with on Travis Strikes Again, and these are just a few.
Let’s start with what would be perhaps the strangest collaboration of all that I have on this list: Jonathan Blow. Yes, I think it’d be insanely cool to see Blow, whose work includes Braid and The Witness, work alongside Suda51 in some capacity on Travis Strikes Again. What would perhaps be most unique about this crossover is that I cannot think of two developers who are more polar opposites of one another than Blow and Suda.
If Travis Touchdown were to find himself somehow trapped in a puzzle game within the Death Drive Mk. 2, then I would love to see Jonathan Blow somehow contribute to the puzzles within that section. At the same time, I’d love to see Travis get frustrated with the puzzles and instead just opt to beat them with his laser-katana. Seeing the beauty and often times complicated nature of Blow’s games somehow crossing over with the zaniness and self-awareness that is seen in the No More Heroes games would make for a fun dynamic.
I’ll be honest: I love Spelunky and I think it’s one of the most well-designed games of the last decade, but I’m not really sure what the game’s designer, Derek Yu, could specifically contribute to Travis Strikes Again. Essentially, I would just love to see Yu involved because I adore his work.
While I doubt there will be any roguelike elements to any of the varying genres of the games within Travis Strikes Again, I think it’d be a really cool one for Suda51 to experiment with. If that were the case, I think Derek Yu could help bring a certain amount of charm and expertise to the genre, considering that Spelunky is quite possibly one of the best roguelike games of all time.
Maybe I’ve just been watching way too much of the Double Fine Adventure documentary lately, but I would love to see Tim Schafer somehow work with Suda51 on Travis Strikes Again. Personally, Schafer and Suda happen to be two of my favorite developers in the entire industry, and because of such, I’d love to see them work together purely for that reason. However, I also think there’s a lot of similarities between the two that many wouldn’t think of at first.
Like Suda51, Schafer’s games are often crazy and irreverent, which leads me to think that the two men working together could actually be a match made in heaven. Even if Schafer weren’t to contribute to one specific area of Travis Strikes Again but instead gave some feedback on how the game could be made even more outlandish than it already is, then I’d be all for it. Plus, maybe we’d even see an Eddie Riggs cameo, because Lord knows how desperate I am for Brütal Legend 2.
I’m new to the Undertale fandom — thanks to the PS4/Vita — but I would give just about anything to see the game’s developer Toby Fox inject his spirit and charm into some other titles. Why not Travis Strikes Again?
Above all else, the one thing I credit Toby for with Undertale is the game’s writing. While I’m unsure if anyone other than Suda51 himself would like to write the dialogue for Travis Strikes Again, I think it’d be funny to squeeze a pun or two into the game written by Toby himself. If that doesn’t work, then maybe we could at the very least get an original song from Toby to somehow be included in Travis Strikes Again. And for the record, yes, I am listening to the Undertale soundtrack for like the thousandth time this week as I write this.
As said before, it seems like Travis Strikes Again‘s contributions from indie developers is still a bit hazy in regards to what exactly they’ll be doing, but I want to continue to hope that they’ll somehow have a greater effect on the game besides the t-shirts that Travis will wear. There’s a lot left to be learned about Travis Strikes Again before it releases next year, but I cannot wait to see who Suda51 recruits to aid him with the game over that time.