Killer Is Dead Wants You To Have A Personal Journey
Suda51 is infamous for his world-class degree of quirk. The man has made games that has even confused and shocked me, an emotionally dead misanthrope, to a degree. With games ranging from the ludicrous Shadows Of The Damned to the insanely demented quirk-fest Lollipop Chainsaw, Suda51 has a knack for creating things that other people would steer miles away from. With Grasshopper Manufacture’s latest game, Killer Is Dead, can Suda51 withhold his reputation as gaming’s jester or will he make something a little more “grounded”?
Name: Killer Is Dead
Genre: Hack ‘n Slash Action
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360
Developers: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publishers: Deep Silver, Xseed Games
Release Date: 27 August 2013
Price: R599 (PS3, Xbox 360)
Killer Is Dead is heralded as the spiritual processor to Killer7 and No More Heroes, some of Suda’s finest works. While I have not played the games myself, I have it under good authority that they are of very good quality and have very unique assets attributed to them. One of Suda’s trademarks is his use of very demented comedy with light shadows of dramatic tragedy thrown into the mix. This formula has worked well for him over the years and is something that is cherished by a multitude of gamers. But judging from the synopsis and gameplay trailers I have seen, it seems that Suda51 is departing somewhat from his established formula with Killer Is Dead.
Do I think that the humour will be left out? Probably not. Once you have a tendency to use black comedy in most of your works, it’s hard to detach from this altogether. The game will probably still have numerous instances of events that will make you scratch your head in bewilderment, stretch your face funnily and then laugh your ass off. The reason why I’m mentioning that there might be a possibility that Suda’s trademark humour might be taking a backseat is because of the overall description of the game.
You play in a futuristic setting where cybernetics are in fashion and lunar tourism exists (I could have sworn I’ve seen this in Catherine. Oh, right, Japan.). You play as Mondo Zappa, an assassin with a cybernetic arm and a sword. He is employed by an organization called the Bryan Execution Firm and is tasked by his superior, Bryan Roses (that name already made me laugh), to kill a number of criminals and fellow assassins. The game takes an Inspector Gadget approach to Mondo’s cybernetic arm, where it can be turned into numerous tools and gadgets that can help him on his journey.
Suda51 came out saying that the game is more about having a personal journey with Mondo than just being sent around the world, killing a bunch of dudes. He also stated that game will deal with more, I guess, “grown up” subject matters such as love and the extent in which you can protect someone. It sounds like a more mature story judging from these statements and is certainly a departure from the “rescue hot babe” mentality of Shadows Of The Damned. Suda also mentions that it will be almost the opposite of his latest work, Lollipop Chainsaw. With regards to what is unclear. Perhaps he means that it won’t be so lovably cheerful and has a more gritty mindset.
The gameplay is reminiscent of Lollipop Chainsaw judging from the gameplay trailers shown. It features hack ‘n slash traditions such as sword fighting and also the use of a projectile weapon in combat. There might be many combat variations thanks to the variety potential of Mondo’s cybernetic arm, but this remains to be seen. It’s certainly a potential that I hope they have tapped into. The visual style has a more rustic cel-shaded look to it and can be commonly associated with Suda’s previous game, Killer7, but with a more evolved focus on the visual fidelity.
Suspected Selling Points
- Suda51 has an extremely good reputation.
- The visual flair might be interesting.
- The increased focus on having a more “personal” journey might make for some stellar storytelling.
- There will probably be some legendary humour present.
- The concept is enticing.
- Suda51’s change in focus might not work out for the best.
- It’s Japanese, which means it might be incredibly niche.
- Grasshopper’s games aren’t really known for good gameplay.
- The humour might fall completely flat.
As a Suda51 fan, I’m hoping this game is a success. While I’m a big fan of Suda’s dark humour, it would be nice to have a little change of pace and have a more narrative focused game that stemmed from his twisted mind. It has the potential and it has the pedigree, let’s see if it can live up to the reputation.