At PAX East 2018 in Boston this past weekend, we sat down with Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes director Goichi “Suda 51” Suda to talk more about the upcoming Switch game. Most of our questions come from Twitter users.
Get the full interview below.
Thanks for sitting down with us, Suda-san. To start us off, why did you decide to make Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes rather than a traditional No More Heroes 3?
Goichi Suda: “There are several reasons. The first is that this is a brand new adventure for Travis. He is no longer an assassin going out to kill other assassins. He is going into video games, fighting in games within the game, so it’s a completely new concept. No More Heroes 1 and 2 kind of set the formula for the series, and with this one I wanted to take it out of the numbered installments and do something completely different.”
Can you talk more about what role indie games and studios will have in Travis Strikes Again?
Suda: “Basically, the t-shirts that Travis wears in the game are going to come from a different indie game from a different company. I’m trying to do collaborations with either 51 or 64 different indie studios.”
OK, so 51 studios for Suda 51. What’s the significance of 64?
Suda: “Nintendo 64.”
Ah, OK. I was under the impression that the different game worlds Travis goes into are inspired by indie games.
Suda: “He will be going into the worlds of different games in the game’s universe. The first one he’ll be going into, which is what has been unveiled in the demo, is ‘Electronic Thunder Tiger II,’ which is a sequel to an arcade game in that universe. The second game ‘Killer Marathon,’ which is a pinball game. The third game is ‘Life is Destroyed,’ which is a simulation puzzle game. The fourth game is ‘Coffee and Donuts,’ which is an action adventure game. The fifth game is ‘Golden Dragon GP,’ which is a racing game. The sixth game is ‘Serious Moonlight,’ which is a huge, triple-A RPG. And the last one is a secret.”
Is the desert stage inspired by Hokuto no Ken?
Suda: “Ah, no. (Laughs.) I get it, Hokuto no Ken is all desert, so the assumption makes sense. The ‘Coffee and Donuts’ world is the desert stage.”
I guess every desert game can’t be inspired by Hokuto no Ken or Mad Max, etc.
Suda: “All of the desert-setting titles are actually inspired by Violence Jack. That came way before Hokuto no Ken, so that’s the real origin of everything. It’s a great Japanese comic.”
I’ll check it out.
Suda: “Violllence Jackkkk.”
(Laughs.) So obviously there’s all of this ‘in-game’ game stuff. Will there be anything outside of the game worlds for players to do?
Suda: “There’s the Adventure Mode. It’s like an old-school PC adventure game.”
No running around Travis’ world?
Suda: “You can only run around the trailer.”
Can you sit on the toilet?
Suda: “Of course.”
Do you see Travis as a flexible character that can adapt to any new setting?
Suda: “Yeah, I see him like that. He can even survive in the world of Star Wars.”
Will Robin Atkin Downes return to voice Travis in the English version?
Suda: “There won’t be any voice acting in Travis Strikes Again.”
How long is Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes compared to No More Heroes 1 and 2?
Suda: “It’s probably the same amount.”
Is this going to be a physical release?
Can you get more into the specifics of that? Are you working to find a publisher?
Suda: “Ah, no no no. Grasshopper Manufacture is the publisher.”
I meant more of a physical distributor.
Suda: “We’re still trying to figure out if we can do that ourselves.”
Kamui from The Silver Case appeared in the most recent Travis Strikes Again trailer. Will this game tie into The Silver Case?
Suda: “Yes, they are connected. If you play The 25th Ward, you’ll understand the connection.”
Are there any plans to port No More Heroes 1 and 2 to Switch? Or is it something you at least want to do?
Suda: “Oh, 1-2-Switch. No More Heroes 1-2-Switch, yeah… It would be awesome if we could do it, but I still have to figure it out. Marvelous and Grasshopper Manufacture share the IP, so I would have to get their permission.”
They seem pretty chill, I think they’ll do it.
Suda: “Yeah, maybe.”
Are you planning anything for the future of the Kill The Past series?
Suda: “Not immediately, but I really want to treasure the IP and do something more with it in the future, probably when no one expects it.”
You recently mentioned that you’re doing a Killer7 remaster. Can you speak more about when we can expect to see that?
Suda: “I promised the fans that in the next 20 years I will figure out a way to remaster Killer7. So now that I’ve promised the fans that, I will am definitely going to do it.”
Can you give us a more specific time frame?
Suda: “I have no idea.”
OK, so what announced games are you working on?
Suda: “Right now I’m totally focused on Travis Strikes Again.”
Do you still think Wario64 is a bot?
Suda: “Is it you!? I didn’t think it was a bot.”
I’m pretty sure there’s a video of you where you say you think he’s a bot.
Yeah, I’ll find it and send it to you… Anyway, what are your thoughts on Travis Touchdown appearing in Super Smash Bros.?
Suda: “I can’t do anything about it on my end, but I really want everyone to push Nintendo to get it going. That’s the only way to do it.”
What are your thoughts on virtual reality? Is that something you’d want to develop for?
Suda: “I wanted to at one point, but lately I’ve sort of lost interest in that.”
Suda: “Uhhhhh, that’s hard to say, but I think that maybe it’s something people should wait a bit longer before they start developing stuff for. There are so many possibilities that it’s probably better to wait and see what sort of new form virtual reality takes on in the future.”
Alright, getting into some more personal kind of stuff, what’s your favorite book?
Suda: “Book? The Castle by [Franz] Kafka.”
What kind of music are you listening to right now?
Suda: “Only Sakanaction. They’re a famous Japanese band—the number-one Japanese band!”
What games have you been playing recently that you enjoy?
Suda: “Hmm… (Suda looks through his phone for a while.) I’m trying to find it, but I can’t remember the name.”
It’s a smartphone game?
Suda: “There’s a Steam version too. It’s a game where you create highways… (Suda looks through his phone some more.) It was ‘something-way.'”
(I take out my phone and help the search, eventually finding it.) Is it Freeways?
Suda: “Yeah, that’s it! It’s really fun.”
Nice. Is there a game that most people consider bad that you enjoy despite the universal perception?
Suda: “That’s hard to say because I’m not really sure what games are considered universally bad. I have a friend though that only plays the worst games, so I’ll ask him. He knows a lot.”
Will we ever see Juliet Starling again?
Suda: “That’s hard—we don’t own the IP. Warner Bros. does.”
Would you ever make a normal game?
Suda: “Of course. I make normal games every time.”
OK, we’re just about done. Can you tell us something you haven’t told anyone else?
Suda: “Something I haven’t said anywhere else… that’s difficult… I may be going to EGX Rezzed in London next week (Edior’s Note: April 13 to 15). So everyone in London, please come see me at the event.”
So you’re definitely going then?
Suda: “Maybe. I’m trying to figure out a way to go.”
Well alright, Suda-san. Thanks for talking with us! Enjoy the rest of PAX East!