The Silver Case Interview: Suda51, Miami Vice, and the Potential of VR

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I had the opportunity to interview Goichi ‘Suda51’ Suda prior to the release of The Silver Case Remastered, his debut title as an independent game developer under Grasshopper Manufacture. We covered the game’s origins, as well as Suda51’s opinions on current and future industry topics.

You can find our interview below:


Brandon Orselli: I’m here with Suda51. We’re going to talk about The Silver Case. It’s a really hard game to classify. As best as you can, can you give us the elevator pitch of what fans can expect for the game?

Goichi Suda: What band t-shirt is that? It’s so cool!

Brandon Orselli: It’s my favorite band, the Devin Townsend Project. He’s amazing [laughs].

Goichi Suda: Wow, so cool! [laughs].

Okay, basically, it’s Grasshopper Manufacture’s first game. It was first released on PlayStation. At the time, we were working with a really small team, about 5 people. Back then in Japan, old school text adventure games were still really popular.

We decided to do a remake text-based adventure game as well, but instead of making an old school one, we wanted to pull out of park and make a new style of text-based adventure game. Basically, The Silver Case is what came out of that.

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As far as the gameplay goes and the general feeling of the game, at the very beginning, the player changes the player character name to their own name or whatever they want and becomes a part of the game.

For the foreground story, you become a part of this group of detectives who are investigating this legendary serial killer named Kamui Uehara, who has just gotten reactivated after a long time.

They go into the investigation trying to figure out where this guy is, what he’s up to, what’s his deal. It goes back and forth between that and another storyline. The main part is the player acts together with the detectives to figure out against what exactly this guy’s deal is, and how can they stop him.

On top of that is the group of detectives, who are called the Heinous Crimes Unit. Aside from the group of detectives looking into the serial killer, there’s also a background story, where there’s a journalist named Tokio Morishima. He’s also looking into the same case, the case of the serial killer.

It’s not just about this one case, about this one serial killer, The Silver Case itself is not just one crime, however. Throughout the game, there’s smaller cases, bigger cases, an spectrum of heinous crimes. They all, in one way or another, interlock and come together to form one huge story, The Silver Case.

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The player also plays as the reporter, Tokio Morishima. It goes back and forth between being the detective and the reporter, investigating sometimes the same incidences, the same cases, and sometimes investigating different ones, with sometimes the same, or even different people.

It’s really complicated. It’s surreal and mysterious and everything at the same time. Again, in the end, everything comes together. All this weird stuff put together. These two background of foreground stories all become The Silver Case.

Brandon Orselli: That’s a long elevator pitch. That’s awesome [laughs].

Goichi Suda: I really love the game [laughs].

Brandon Orselli: Online sources claim that originally, Suda didn’t plan on writing so much of the story in the game, is this true? Do you feel like that was big influence on you as a creator, taking on more roles?

Goichi Suda: It seems that that rumor has been going around for a while, but it wasn’t The Silver Case. That probably came from Super Fire Pro Wrestling SpecialIt’s the second game that I ever made when I was still working in a company called Human Entertainment back in the day. That somehow led over to The Silver Case.

As far as The Silver Case goes, I actually meant to write that from the beginning. What I wanted to do is write most of the scenarios and dialogue myself for the foreground story with the detectives and everything.

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For the journalist background story, there’s a guy named Masahi Ouka, who is another game writer that I had write the part of the journalist. Basically, for The Silver Case, Ouka and myself worked together and collaborated.

It was always intended to be like that from the very start. Instead of being forced to write the whole thing, from the beginning, we intended to write it like that. For some reason the rumor about me being made to write the whole thing isn’t true.

Brandon Orselli: I think a lot of Suda’s games tend to have a film noir aspect of them whether it’s the whole game or just a part of it. How much of that love that is a clear, is in his later games like The Silver Case? Also a fan question, what is his favorite noir movie or like a cop or buddy-cop movie?

Goichi Suda: As far as film noir goes, my favorite movie is a Japanese film called Jingi Naki Tatakai, which in English is Battles Without Honor and Humanity.

Brandon Orselli: Isn’t there a song based on that? By Tomoyasu Hotei.

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Goichi Suda: He did the theme song that was in Kill Bill. Yeah, that’s the original movie that that song was based on. That’s my favorite noir movie.

Brandon Orselli: I know the movie, it’s fantastic!

Goichi Suda: I like a lot of those types of movies and shows, but Miami Vice is probably my favorite as far as buddy-cop thrillers go. I love that series!

Brandon Orselli: If you could have the budget that you wanted for the original Silver Case, would you ever consider a full remake like modern Suda style, full third person, lots of blood, gore, theatrics, and things like that?

Goichi Suda: Actually, if I could get the budget that I wanted, as opposed to making it more like a modern-day Suda51 game, I’d rather make a VR version instead.

If you’ve seen the demo, there’s a lot of window always popping up in different areas of the screen. I think VR would be the perfect medium for that. You put on the helmet, look at different windows, and so on. I think VR would be perfect for that, if I had the budget for it.

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Brandon Orselli: How do you feel about VR now versus maybe 10 years ago? Do you think that it’s actually a viable platform for gaming? Or is it just another fad like motion controls?

Goichi Suda: [laughs] I think VR these days is not necessarily the only platform that will exist or anything, but it’s kind of the future of gaming. One reason is VR, it matches best with gaming than anything else, unlike any other sort of media, including the whole player experience and everything.

Right now, there doesn’t seem to be anything in particular that really pushes you over the edge to make it really revolutionized gaming or anything. It’s probably just a matter of time. It really depends on the line of games that are made available.

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If people make some really great games for VR, some really revolutionary games then that could probably help it really stick in as a proper commonly used medium. I definitely don’t think it’s motion controls or just like a passing fad.

I really think as long as people take care to put out of the games and media for it, and people take full advantage of the technology available, then, VR is going to get really big and basically may be the future of gaming.

Brandon Orselli: Are you considering consoles or the dedicated handhelds like PSP, the 3DS for The Silver Case remastered?

Goichi Suda: For now, The Silver Case is only for PC.

In the future, if possible, I would like to bring it out to, at least, generally consoles as well. Yeah, I can’t promise anything yet. Again, there’s no concrete plans, but in the future, I would like to see it happen. I would be happy if that were able to come to fruition.

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Brandon Orselli: Has it been difficult to balance both Let It Die and The Silver Case as two separate projects that are really different in terms of the content, the production, and things like that?

Goichi Suda: If the two projects are really similar, then it would probably be really hard to keep their proper balance. Actually, because they are so different, it makes it all easier to keep a proper balance between them.

For example, Let It Die is much bigger title and a much bigger team. It’s a lot closer to like a AAA title, whereas The Silver Case remaster is a much smaller team. It’s a most closer like an indie game.

They’re two completely different things. Again, specifically, because they’re so different, it makes a lot easier to keep a balance. Actually, I’ve been having a really good time, have a lot of fun working on both these projects at the same time, people like me have to switch back and forth.

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Brandon Orselli: Thank you so much for your time!

Goichi Suda: Thank you!


The Silver Case Remastered is now available on PC via Steam. Expect our review for the game forthcoming.

Niche Gamer regularly interviews developers on a variety of subjects—if you’re a developer and want to chat with us, please contact us!

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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.

  • Chocolate ISISCream

    Going to wait for the PS4 port. I’m sure it’ll happen, and I refuse to switch to PC gaming just for this.

  • 2501

    I’m really enjoying The Silver Case Remaster, the original OST by Masafumi Takada is total bliss to listen to. Playing through the game makes me wish that Suda would go back to making minimal and experimental games like this instead of pumping out awful No More Heroes clones.

    It’s a shame that since NMH, the gaming media will always associate Suda51 with “edgy”, “obscene” and “sexual” content, IMO those misconceptions have hurt his reputation as the guy is simply a genius in pushing the boundaries of mechanical, narrative and thematic experimentation in games.

  • 2501

    You don’t even need a gaming PC to play the game, hell my smartphone could play it if it was optimised.

  • Nagato

    No need to “switch”; it’s no deep commitment to get just the one VN, and it’s not like you’ll be shunned for committing such an unforgivable sin.

  • sanic

    Dang Brandon this is awesome stuff must be getting proper recognized now.

  • TheCynicalReaper

    NICE! SUDA BEST

  • Arale

    It’s not his fault that modern games are like that either. There is a recent article called “What Does Suda51 Do, Anyway?” or something where he explains how he had rather minimal role in all those, and describes some of the publisher interference. We’re in luck, because he says in that article that he wants to make indie-style games on the side; if all goes well, we will indeed be getting new true Suda games.