E3 2012: Lollipop Chainsaw interview with Suda51
One of the defining moments for me personally at this year's E3 took place at the WB Games booth. I got the opportunity to meet and interview Goichi Suda — known most prominantly as Suda51 — the unique mind that brought us games such as Killer7, No More Heroes, and Shadows of the Damned. Suda51 has become known for his unorthodox ideas, and his studio, Grasshopper Manufacture, constantly delivers satisfying titles that are unlike most of what's out there in the games industry
David Sanchez: First off, it's a pleasure to meet you. The main character in Lollipop Chainsaw is Juliet Starling. She's a perky, blonde high school cheerleader. Where did the idea for this protagonist come from? What inspired you to create such a protagonist for one of your games? She's very different from Travis Touchdown and Garcia Hotspur.
Goichi Suda: I've always wanted to make a zombie game, but there have not been many "pop zombie" games, so that's what I wanted to do, and I also wanted to make sort of a comedy zombie game. When it comes to horror, I was always thinking about a female main character, so that's how I came about it [with influences such as] Friday the 13th and Scream. When I thought about a main character, for some reason a cheerleader and a chainsaw just came about, and then a zombie element came into the picture, and there you have it.
DS: Was it an automatic decision to get James Gunn as the lead writer for the game?
GS: I was introduced to him by Warner Bros. and I was really excited to work with him.
DS: You recently had that big Lollipop Chainsaw event in Akihabara. How did the Japanese fans react to that event, and how did they react to two Juliets instead of just one?
GS: (laughs) So the Japanese Juliet is Mayu Kawamoto, and of course, Jessica [Nigri] from Hollywood; their combined forces attracted a lot of people. Police came to monitor the scene, so I feel that was great marketing to introduce [Lollipop Chainsaw] to a lot of people.
DS: Well, two Juliets are better than one.
GS: And of course everyone would stop by and turn around.
DS: We recently got a sneak peak at some of the game's bosses. Where did the ideas for these bosses come from? A lot of them are based on music genres like heavy metal. One of the bosses is a heavy metal drummer, and he's, like, a huge monster of a beast. Where did the ideas for these music-inspired characters come from?
GS: It was an idea that came from the staff as a creative concept, and they just wanted to implement music into it, and then they thought about also using different genres of music, as well.
DS: Will the levels themselves be rooted in music, as well? For example, the heavy metal boss. Is his level a heavy metal level, too?
GS: That's not exactly the case. Zombies are [included] not by the level, but by the location, and they were summoned by the character Swan [the main antagonist in Lollipop Chainsaw].
DS: What types of gamers, aside from Suda fans, will Lollipop Chainsaw appeal to?
GS: It has to be Juliet. Juliet would attract more fans, rather than just the Suda fans.
Lance Liebl: She's not hard on the eyes. Then you've got Jessica Nigri, and she's the perfect Juliet Starling.
GS: I feel that just her charm is attracting a lot of people to the game.
DS: About how many hours of gameplay will there be in Lollipop Chainsaw, and can you give the fans any information on extra modes and extra difficulty settings?
GS: About 10 hours, but there are a lot of costumes that Juliet can change into, so I want you to change and then go back in there again. And there are other elements where the characters can change or grow, and they can power up.
DS: If you had two superpowers, what would they be?
GS: (looks off into the distance) Wow ...
DS: Any two.
GS: Any superpower? Two?! The ability to play the guitar; to be the best guitarist in the world. I feel that the coolest in the world would be the guitarist. And the ability to make my games the hit.
DS: This next question is for the big Suda fans. Who would win in a fight: Travis Touchdown with his beam katana or Juliet Starling with her chainsaw?
GS: Draw! It might change after the release, and Juliet might win.
LL: I'm most familiar with Garcia Hotspur and Johnson, and Shadows of the Damned was the first Suda game I played. Is Juliet's boyfriend's head going to be the comical equivalent of Johnson in Shadows of the Damned?
GS: It's close, but there's love between them.
LL: Out of all the new tech — the Wii U and the Kinect, which you made [Diabolical Pitch] for — what's the most exciting piece of tech that you're looking forward to trying to utilize to make a game in the future?
GS: The new platforms that are coming out are all exciting, but Grasshopper Manufacture is developing social games right now, so we're also getting into the mobile platforms.
DS: Thanks a lot for your time! I appreciate it greatly.
GS: Thank you!
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