Not so long ago, Goichi Suda, lovingly known by many as Suda51, announced the newest installment in his action series No More Heroes, currently in development for the Nintendo Switch.
While attending PAX West, DualShockers got a chance to sit down with the popular writer, director, and producer to ask him a few questions about the new title Travis Strikes Again.
Jordan: You have announced that Travis Strikes Again will aim to collaborate with other developers, can you talk about any of the developers that you’ll be working with?
Goichi Suda: If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ll probably notice that Travis is playing Hotline Miami. Travis is a big fan of Hotline Miami and he’s so into it that if you pay close attention to the trailer, he’s about to clear the game.
At this point we have Dennaton Games, and also another developer that we announced at Nintendo’s Nindies Night, Yacht Club Games. As far as the collaboration goes, we are calling it the T-shirt collaboration, where Travis will be wearing T-shirts of different indie games that he’s a fan of to show support for them.
J: Is the collaboration limited to just the T-shirts or will the game’s world’s be included into the collaboration?
GS: The worlds inside the game are not going to be reflecting the indie games which will be part of the collaboration. As far as the in-game worlds, to give you some backstory, there is a game console called the Death Drive Mark II which is created by Dr. Juvenile, a game creator who works for a company called Hazure.
The console itself has six games for it, and each of those games has its own little game world. Travis will be sucked into this console and into each of the respective games. He must then fight his way through these different worlds. The games themselves aren’t indie games, but they do reflect old school-type games. As of right now, the collaboration is just with the T-shirts and the games in Travis Strikes Again are unrelated to that.
J: How have you decided which indie developers you would be working with in this collaboration?
GS: Basically I thought about which kind of games Travis would be into and there were a handful of titles that I already decided on for possible collaborations. So I came to PAX and went around the floor to see which kind of games and creators were out there. I found games that I knew Travis would like, which is also a reflection of the things that I like myself.
I went up to them and just asked if we could collaborate, and at this point there are about fifteen titles that we’ve decided on so far.
J: Is it safe to assume that each of the six worlds in the game are going to play completely differently from each other?
GS: No More Heroes has always been an action game and that’s going to stay the same. As far as the six games within the game, they are technically different genres, but the fundamental action gameplay is going to be the same. The only difference will be the “flavor,” which gives a different vibe to each game, and will vary between worlds.
J: Since the release of the original No More Heroes, do you feel the action genre has changed at all?
GS: When the series began, it’s safe to say there really wasn’t an indie scene on the scale that we see now. Big action games releasing on consoles required many different button presses and technical stuff for the player to do, but the indie scene sort of adopted the classic action game system of using only two or three buttons to perform moves.
I see this as a positive regression to the way games used to be back in the day. So now that we have these popular action games that are based off that old-school gameplay. I do feel there has been a return to classic action instead of the more technical action you see in AAA games.
J: Is that the sort of gameplay we will see in Travis Strikes Again?
GS: Yes, there will be that influence in Travis Strikes Again. I spent a lot of time developing console games, so I have a tendency to try and use complicated controls and stuff like that.
For this, I’m trying to stay calm, keep hings simple, and making sure that you can do as much as you’d like to do with as few buttons as possible.
J: You like to bounce between genres, sometimes working on darker games and other times working on games that are more humorous. How do you think this method compliments the games that you work on?
GS: I do have a tendency to do that, and a lot of it is a conscious decision. However, I feel that sometimes it’s a natural subconscious decision, like when I spent so much time developing a dark game, I wonder “What do I want to make next?” and I tend to switch to something brighter. Once it starts going back and forth between those two extremes another thing that happens is that I find myself shifting completely and making something surreal.
So most recently the past two titles I’ve worked on have been pretty dark, those being Let it Die and the remaster of The Silver Case. So even though Travis Strikes Again isn’t a happy funtime game, it definitely has some humor and that’s partly a result of the games I worked on directly before.
Another thing I’m trying is to bring in different tones because I’ve used the other two extremes too often and I want to try something new. You’ll see that in Travis Strikes Again.
J: You recently announced that you will release The 25th Ward HD Remaster as a follow up to The Silver Case HD Remaster, are you working on Travis Strikes Again and The 25th Ward concurrently?
GS: Yes, I’ve been working on both of them simultaneously. As far as Travis Strikes Again goes, I’ve been acting as director and leading everything. For The 25th Ward, that’s something that Grasshopper Manufacture and AGM Playism have been working on together.
For The 25th Ward Nobutaka Ichiki has been acting as director while I focus on Travis Strikes Again.
J: So how is the development of The 25th Ward going?
GS: The only thing that is holding it up is the scenario part that I’m supposed to be writing right now.
J: I imagine that at this point Travis Strikes Again is taking precedence?
GS: I’ve been really busy with Travis Strikes Again. Usually I’ll write scenarios late at night and recently I haven’t had time to sit down and do that.
J: Is this because one game excites you more than the other?
GS: As far as The 25th Ward goes, I’m acting as Producer. The thing about the The 25th Ward is that I’ve got a really good development team together that I have full confidence in.
I participate in meetings on how to promote the game and writing the new scenarios, but I have a lot more to oversee when it comes to Travis Strikes Again.
J: Have you enjoyed developing Travis Strikes Again on Nintendo Switch?
GS: More than the Switch itself, developing games for Nintendo is always something that I love doing. Every time they put out a new console, it always has new stuff. For instance, that happened with the motion controls and nunchuk for the Wii and the Gamecube’s big buttons.
I feel that Nintendo as a console maker is the most ‘punk’ because they are always trying new stuff that other people haven’t tried or even thought of.
Each time they release new hardware, I feel as creator they’re saying, ‘We have all this new stuff now, what are you going to do for it?’ and, ‘We gave you all these new challenges, what new challenges are you going to give us?’ The Switch is probably the most punk console they’ve released yet, and I’ve had a great time developing for it.
J: With that said, is Travis Strikes Again going to remain a Nintendo Switch exclusive?
GS: [In English] Yes. Yes. Of course… Maybe.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is currently being developed by Grasshopper Manufacture for Nintendo Switch, utilizing Unreal Engine 4.
The game was officially announced during the Nindies Summer Showcase 2017, and is expected to release sometime in 2018. If you’re interested in learning more about the game, you can find a full batch of artwork from the game, as well as the game’s reveal trailer right here on DualShockers.