Let It Die Hands-On Preview and Interview – A Wild, Brutal, and Fun Suda51 Trip

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Suda51’s latest opus, Let It Die, came from the ashes of what originally was known as Lily Bergamo. The game has been changed quite a bit visually, however, I got the first hands-on time with the game at this year’s PAX East, with Suda51 himself on deck, answering my burning questions.

In the game you always start out as a completely randomized dude in a pair of underwear. That’s it – you’re thrown into a weird and somewhat creepy world, Suda-style, and are forced to survive and make use of any weapons and equipment you find.

I quickly found a pipe to make use of when killing one of the lesser baddies, upon which Death himself (your tour guide) popped up, sporting his ridiculous 3D glasses, congratulating me on my kill. As you explore this carnival-themed tower, you’ll encounter more creepy mutants, and even bosses.

One of the biggest questions most people (including myself) have regarding the game is what exactly happened with its progenitor, Lily Bergamo, and why they scrapped it for what became Let It Die. Suda answered:

“One of the biggest reasons why we switched was to expand the gameplay beyond what was seen with Lily Bergamo,” Suda said. “Lily Bergamo was a game where you played as a set protagonist, but when we made the switch, we wanted to put the player into the game and invest the player in the character. This meant we had to move away from a specific player character, instead letting the player create their character.”

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Lily Bergamo is more story-driven, while Let It Die is more action-driven,” Suda continued.

“The game itself, the mechanics haven’t changed from the initial concept, so we took it from that and made it into some more action focused, on building a character, building a fighter in this harsh world. The concept went from being more story driven to more action driven, having players focus on the action, the combat part of the game.”

When I pressed Suda for whether or not Grasshopper Manufacture would consider a Kickstarter for Lily Bergamo as a “traditional,” story-focused and a paid release, even as a spinoff, I was kindly told they couldn’t comment on the possibility.

The world in Let It Die is procedurally generated, meaning no two playthroughs will be the same. Despite the levels being procedural, they still felt organic and very much so in what you’d expect from a Suda game. There are key points where you’ll encounter the same thing, like boss fights, however the majority of the game is procedural, from what I was told.

You can dual wield most one handed weapons, as I quickly found after equipping a handgun and a crossbow. Each weapon felt really different. I eventually got a pair of running pants, and sometime afterwards, a jacket. Later I found a ridiculous looking traditional samurai helmet, complete with a big fluffy plume and everything.

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Eventually I found weird oddities that make total sense when remembering this is a Suda51 game, like toadstools that act as grenades when thrown, frogs that you can eat to recover health (you have to chase them down), and more. When I ran away to heal myself with frogs, Suda and I instantly began laughing together – a testament to how silly and fun the game inherently is.

I found some insane weapons, like a massive Dirty Harry-style magnum, chainsaws, nailguns, and my favorite, a traditional katana blade. You can equip up to six (hot-swappable with the d-pad) weapons, with three slots for each hand.

Melee combat feels somewhat reminiscent of From Software’s Souls franchise, albeit with a bit more of a float-y feeling. You have your parry, dodging, quick attacks, heavy attacks, as well as powered up versions of your moves should you hold down the triangle button (it works off a meter). It feels like a more forgiving, yet still calculating type of combat. You also have a stamina meter that is displayed by your heart becoming more visible, as it works harder.

When I asked Suda about the similarity to the Souls franchise, he responded:

“It wasn’t specifically on purpose, but the way you defeat enemies and collect rewards from them, as well as the animation system, it wasn’t intentional, but it can be said that it’s similar. It’s definitely not on purpose,” Suda said after having a silly pause to think.

Let It Die is a free-to-play game, a first of its kind from Suda51 and quite a bold leap from his traditionally story-driven pulp that fans are used to and enjoy. There’s still massive amounts of pulp and violence here, however, rest easy when I tell you the game is not the freemium nonsense you were afraid of it being.

“Monetization will only allow players to shorten the grind of the game,” Suda said when asked how microtransactions work. “We want to make sure it’s not a pay to win style of game.” This also works for continues, should you run out of your free three continues.

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After getting more confident in my samurai-plumed helmet and katana, I quickly progressed to what is reminiscent of what running into an invading player within Dark Souls feels like. These are recreations of other players who have died, right down to the gear they were sporting when they died. When asked how this mechanic works, Suda coyly said they’re not ready to talk about it yet.

“We wanted to use the death data in an interesting way, we thought about it and when using the weapons and equipment in that way, we felt it was an interesting play style,” Suda teased when I asked once more how “the cloud” works in the game.

Coming from this, when I first ran into a player character in my game I died. When you die in the game, you’re introduced to the roguelike element of Let It Die (despite Suda avoiding using the term). Upon dying, you meet the “Insurance Girl,” a cute girl in a pink PVC-leather outfit, who offers to resurrect you at your current location. The multiplayer, if you can call it that, works asynchronously.

You only have three continues, after which, you lose all of your progress and gear, starting back in the base of the tower in your underwear. Once I accepted the offer to revive on the spot, I quickly got my bearings and defeated the player apparition. Then I progressed to the end of the level, where a massive, mutated pile of a boss waited.

As I dodged both his area attacks and his projectiles made up of human bodies, I healed myself with more frogs and stowed up enough energy to unleash some powerful melee attacks with my katana. Three of these were enough to do the trick, slaying the mutated pile of bodies, to which they began to dissolve into the ground.

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I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Let It Die. It doesn’t quite feel like an “online” game so much as its a game that has asynchronous online elements, sort of the same way the Souls games function as well.

I’m still not entirely sure how everything fits together, but I can only feel excited because I know Suda is at the helm, and he’s still got lots of new things up his sleeves.

Let It Die will launch sometime later this year exclusively on PlayStation 4, worldwide.

Brandon Orselli

About

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Niche Gamer. Italian, but I love Asian culture. I also write about music, comedy, noodles and beer.

  • Dewey Defeats Truman

    “‘Lily Bergamo is more story-driven, while Let It Die is more action-driven,’ Suda said.”

    Is?

  • KissDisqus

    Besides ghosts of players what else is there to the online component? Just sharing stats of how often you died?

    “You only have three continues, after which, you lose all of your
    progress and gear, starting back in the base of the tower in your
    underwear.”
    Did he say if they give rewards for future playthroughs if they beat the tower? Unlocking higher difficulties and such with some goodies equipped?

  • Most likely as an idea.

  • Dewey Defeats Truman

    let me believe

  • Wait, wat. I’m tired, what am I missing?

  • OH. You mean that it just exists

  • So, a more cartoonish Dark Souls with lots of gore and a lot more modern…?

  • Mr0303

    “Monetization will only allow players to shorten the grind of the game,” – depends how much grind is there in the first place, doesn’t it?

  • I ran out of time unfortunately. I tried to focus on certain things, and Lily Bergamo. I have a separate interview coming too.

  • scemar

    Well thanks for the good preview, I can safely say I am interested now, and wish it’d come to PC too.

    But still, not entirely sure if I’m on board with it either.

    I do welcome Suda trying something new for him, focusing more on action and gameplay over a story for once, and the weird premise of the game is something fresh while incorporating different mechanics from other games so it looks at least interesting.

    Still not entirely sure how fun the game would be on the long run tho.
    The multiplayer aspect doesn’t seem deep enough to support it on its own, and the single player seems somewhat lacking in depth or a proper pacing due to its F2P approach.

    And I for one do hope perhaps they do end launching lily bergamo, somehow.

  • ftidus12

    Lily Bergamo “WAS” not “IS”. Lily was cancelled, wasn’t it?

    I think that was the problem.

  • ScarredBushido

    i really enjoy Suda’s weird games, i might give this one a try.

  • sort of. I think?

  • Yes but, can I start with a randomized cute girl?

  • Dammage

    Actually does sound like a fun game, can’t wait to get more info on it. Do you know of what the player’s ultimate goal is in this game?

  • MusouTensei

    Do I need PS+ to play this?

  • MGNoxa

    Can you only play as Underwear Dude? Because I really want to play as Underwear Lady.

  • catazxy

    after I finished Killer is Dead I felt it was a bit rushed…too many plot points were unresolved and the combat too simple….I hope Let it Die is better then I expect…

  • Actually, thinking about it, my comment is stupid.

    I’d have to know the combat style to be able to tell, and I don’t know it.

  • JellyfishMonarch

    How “hard” was the game in terms of how much damage your health takes from a hit? Also when hit is it possible to get stunlocked to death? (just 2 things from dark souls i’m not a fan of.)

  • IrisuTamarind

    So this plays something like infamous ?

  • DariusQ

    Gameplay over story: I’m liking it already.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    “‘Lily Bergamo is more story-driven, while Let It Die is more action-driven,’ Suda said.”

    JUST

  • Dark Link

    Reminds me of MadWorld, but colored.

  • A male character in his underwear. Wonder where the SJW feminist outrage is?

    Just like how you can get the male characters in speedos in DOA5LR. Didn’t hear a peep from the feminists about that.

    Or that visual novel game with the handsome male prostitutes. Feminists nowhere to be seen.

    The double standards and hypocrisy are truly astonishing.

  • Playing as Underwear Lady would be sexist, misogynistic and promotes rape culture.

  • Etherblaze

    “you meet the “Insurance Girl,” a cute girl in a pink PVC-leather outfit, who offers to resurrect you”

    PICS

  • Eugenio Gil de la Madrid

    Wow I just realized I think this is my favorite video game news site. All the other sites that interviewed Suda51 on Let it Die made me dislike the game more or asked stupid questions. This sites interview was great though!

    First you guys asked about Lily Bergamo, one of my and I am sure many fans main concern. Then you continued analyzing the game through its gameplay. Plus confirmed that the game won’t be P2W. Over all from a game that I was hoping would die off, now I am genuinely excited and want to give it a try.

    Great interview and great job!

  • Galbador

    So story sucks and action rocks? I don’t know, I’m a story guy, if a game has no story, it is useless for me. I need some lore and a storyline. But I guess, this is not given in this game. Well, I guess I will keep an eye on it, but I doubt that I will buy it if it has no story at all.

  • Galbador

    At least, it is not on Wii U. The horror…

  • Galbador

    Dumb?
    Stupid?
    Ridiculous?

  • Galbador

    I wonder how many players would be actually women or lesbians if this would be the case.

  • Galbador

    If it goes online, you bet. The only exeptance was FF15, because you have to pay monthly for this game.

  • They actually had a girl standing in their booth dressed up as her, in pink PVC leather too. I should’ve gotten a pic with her lol

  • Wow thank you!! Yeah I’ve seen some of the other interviews and hands on previews out there…. it’s all over the place. My goal was to talk shop with Suda and get a real grasp on the game and how it plays, and if it’s pay to win.

  • From what I remember it would take several, like half a dozen or more hits, to die. It depended on the enemy too. Frogs healed for a lot, and I was able to basically clear the entire first level plus the boss with only one death. That death was before I realized how much frogs healed, plus I was getting a bit cocky.

    I don’t think you can get stunlocked.. the attacks are somewhat of a more float-y version of what you’d see in Dark Souls, IMO. Plus you can use guns too if you want, but the aiming seemed a bit off, so I kept resorting to melee attacks.

  • Hey FWIW that’s what the translator/Suda said. Maybe it was a slip of the tongue but I transcribed directly from my recording, and he said “Lily Bergamo is”

  • That’s what Suda won’t talk about yet heh :p

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    Eh? I’m not concerned about the “is.” – I couldn’t give 2 fucks about Lily Bergamo. It was more of the fact that Let it Die is still confirmed to just be an F2P moba.

  • JellyfishMonarch

    Thanks for the info! i’ll keep an eye on it to decide if i get a ps4 this year or next.

  • PixelBuff

    Hm, still undecided on this one. I really don’t like random/procedurally generated stuff. Also depends on if it’s online-only, I won’t pay for Playstation Plus.
    Like the visuals though, and it gameplay is really solid I’ll check it out.

  • SiliconNooB

    This sounds OK. It’s time to let Lily go…