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Suda 51 returns to the surreal world of ‘Killer 7’ and ‘No More Heroes’ with ‘Killer is Dead’

It’s been quite awhile since we got a proper Suda 51 game. Grasshopper Manufacture has seen its star rise over the past five years, working with more and more well-funded publishers. The scrappy studio that had to scrape together games like Michigan: Report from Hell ten years ago, now gets its backing from the likes of Warner Bros. Entertainment for games like the James Gunn-penned Lollipop Chainsaw. As its profile has inflated, though, its signature creator has stepped back from actually directing games. This week Goichi Suda offered up the very first details of Killer is Dead, an Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 game that brings the game maker back to the games that garnered him critical recognition a decade ago.

Speaking with Famitsu Magazine (as translated by Polygon), Suda said that Killer is Dead is an entry in his Assassin series that began with the Capcom-published Killer 7 back in 2005, and continued in No More Heroes on Wii.

“Development has already been ongoing for an extended period of time,” said Suda, “It’s the first game in the ‘assassin’ series that Grasshopper Manufacture has worked on in a while, a title that picks up where Killer 7 and No More Heroes left off.”

“It’s not trying to regress into the past. We’re trying to make a game that we’d only be able to make right now, at this point in time. The result is seen in our unique high-contrast shading seen in the graphics, as well as the high speed wrestling-like action.”

Killer is Dead follows 35-year-old assassin Mondo Zappa after he’s hired by a clandestine organization that sends him around a future world where cyborgs are commonplace and the moon has been colonized. The smooth James Bond-like character wields a sword and has a Mega Man-style gun arm. “It’s the story of a man who doesn’t show himself much in the public world, but still worms his way into society and mercilessly eliminates the evil dispersed in it. It’s a personal story, not one that’s conscious of the chaos going on in the real world at the moment, but you might get more than a taste of that in the end anyway.”

It’s encouraging to hear that Suda 51 is returning to the style of his most inspired work. The Massimo Guarini-directed Shadows of the Damned, Tomo Ikeda-directed Lollipop Chainsaw, and Tohsihiro Fujikawa-directed No More Heroes 2 all bore Suda’s characteristic surreality, but they all lacked the creative spark and confrontational difficulty of Killer 7 and No More Heroes.

Killer is Dead will be out in Japan this summer.

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