The biggest question surrounding Grasshopper Manufacture is how they keep getting contracts to make games. Their titles, after all, have sadly never set sales charts on fire; the only one that came close to that was No More Heroes on Wii. Please don’t interpret the previous sentences as knocking their record, because sometimes we need off-the-wall Japanese games to break up the monotony -- especially in this day and age. Though Shadows of the Damned was restrained in its zaniness compared to their previous titles, it’s still crazy by modern day video game standards. Anyone worried that game was going to mark a departure for them can rest easy with Lollipop Chainsaw on the way in mid-June.
Speaking of that, Grasshopper announced another game in this week’s Famitsu magazine: Killer is Dead. Despite its name, it’s not a sequel to Killer7 (the game that made many Grasshopper fans), nor is it related. (And given the way it sold, there is no chance of Capcom green lighting a true sequel.) However, the game’s style will be keeping close with it, something that can be seen in the concept art posted on Famitsu’s website. This is the second game in Kadokawa Games and Grasshopper’s partnership in Japan, despite the first, the aforementioned Lollipop Chainsaw, still due for release. That’s pretty risky, though it’s one many of us are happy they’re taking.
Grasshopper also mentioned that the game is planned for a worldwide release, though didn’t name the publisher. It could very well be Warner Bros. again.
The main character of Killer is Dead is an “Executioner” whose goal is to work his magic on S-level criminals located in a variety of places around the world. The game’s world is an extension of our reality, similar to Killer7, though the concept art gives off a serious sci-fi, cyberpunk-esque vibe. Though that game is this one’s inspiration in terms of its aesthetics, it won’t share its on-rails shooter gameplay style. Instead, it will play more like NMH with swordplay. It won’t play exactly like it, though they didn’t elaborate on how. Your player character has someone he wants to protect, and the game aims to explore that theme. Hopefully that’s subtly implying that its storyline will be as intricate as Killer7’s, too, which was by far the game’s biggest charm.
Despite some early reports saying Grasshopper CEO Goichi Suda (aka Suda51) was directing, he’s only serving as the game’s Executive Director, the same role he had on No More Heroes 2. He’s also handling the game’s scenario. Kadokawa Games’ CEO Yoshimi Yasuda is serving as Executive Producer. None of the other staff is known, but cross your fingers that Akira Yamaoka is handling the soundtrack. This might be what he’s working on, since he’s merely serving as “Sound Director” on Lollipop Chainsaw.
The fact that these details are vague, along with the lack of any in-game screens, is proof that it’s currently pretty early. Planning for the game began at the end of 2009, but it didn’t start development until last spring. Development of the prototype is nearing completion, and the scenario’s first draft is finished. The game is due for release until sometime in 2013 for PS3 and 360.
P.S. Grasshopper Manufacture was also involved with a recently released with a shoot ‘em up co-developed with Hungarian developer Digital Reality called Sine Mora. It’s available on Xbox Live Arcade, and received good reviews all around. The second game in their collaboration will be a platformer called Black Knight Sword. Suda51 will also be involved with Kaihou Shoujo, one of four games included on Level 5’s upcoming collection, Guild01, for 3DS.