I had the wonderful opportunity to interview Goichi ‘Suda51’ Suda once again for his latest opus, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes.
You can find our interview below:
Niche Gamer: I’m here with Goichi Suda again, it’s an extreme pleasure sir. We’re here to talk about Travis Strikes Again. How did the game come about?
Goichi Suda: The one condition I set on myself in order to greenlight myself to go forward with this project was that I wanted to do a completely new challenge for myself. No More Heroes has set its own style and the elements of it had been pretty much set in stone up until now.
Was this style something that you wanted to do or was it something you had to do in a different way in terms of getting the game greenlit?
I wanted to break those traditions, make a completely new style. Travis isn’t going up against assassins anymore, he’s going up against new enemies. He’s not intent on destroying anymore, so, really in a way it’s going to be its own new IP. That’s the condition I set for myself.
That’s awesome. A big thing with Travis Strikes Again is that you’re collaborating with indies. Was there any kind of bar that had to be met by certain indies to be collaborated with and were there certain indies you were like, ‘Well, I like that but it wouldn’t quite fit with this game?’
There’s games that Travis would like himself and try to focus on, also games that suit a person he likes. There’s also games that are just doing something new, trying to do new things. That’s automatically something that Travis would like.
Has it been a really good relationship working with these indie developers on the game?
The relationships are very straightforward and direct, you just contact them through email and we just chat about it.
Seeing you working with indies gets me really excited. Would you ever consider going full indie, making something completely crazy that no publisher would ever touch? If you did what kind of project would that be?
That’s a hard question [laughs].
Like a Kickstarter or crowdfunding?
I think I would like to pitch in different places. Also, I would really like to make a side scrolling game.
Really? Like what kind of title?
There’s this Namco arcade game called Genpei Tōma Den, not sure if it has an English title (Editor’s Note: It was finally released in the west as The Genji and the Heike Clans).
I’ve heard about it, yes.
You can look it up later but I love that style and want to make a game in that style some day. A side scrolling game.
Obviously, because you’re collaborating with indies with Travis Strikes Again, would you like to see Travis in other things, like the new Super Smash Brothers?
Yes of course, I’m happy to have all these indie games in TSA. I’m totally happy to have Travis in other games as long as it sounds like an interesting idea, I’m totally ready to do it.
In terms of TSA and the collaborations, were there certain, you could say like other gameplay types that you thought about for your title but said ‘it’s too crazy,’? Maybe to throw players for a loop?
With TSA the thing is that each different gameplay variation that will pop in the game, fits into the logic of the world that Travis jumps into, so it’s a different situation.
Okay, that makes sense. When you first started the development on TSA, did you have a set number on how many levels and how many developers you were willing to work with?
Basically, there’s going to be seven games, different games in TSA that’s all you can see. The thing is that the amount of actual stages in the game will differ by the virtual game.
So each world has its own set themes and mechanics?
Yes, but there’s a little bit of the variation there.
I’ve known you’re a big pro wrestling fan, and now we’re seeing Fire Pro Wrestling World seemingly doing well. Would you ever consider collaborating with Spike Chunsoft on that game? Or would you want to make your own wrestling game somehow [laughs]?
The thing about Travis is that he always uses weapons and it feels that wouldn’t be fair to put him in a wrestling match with the weapon.
Another thing is Travis is a fan of pro wrestling, so, he’d probably have his own hesitation about entering the ring himself [laughs].
That makes sense. Were you concerned at all going with a totally different approach with the TSA in terms of the story and the collaboration versus an orthodox No More Heroes game?
We were definitely aware that since it’s not a number entry in the series, a lot of people want “Three,” so there’s probably going to be some distance there. We try not to focus around that too much and just focus on what we wanted to make because for us our number one mission was to make a completely new style of game with a small team.
We wanted to make a style of game that can only be made by an indie team and it’s like challenging ourselves to see what we can make there. But I feel very confident that once you play the game, you’ll understand it and you’ll enjoy it.
To go back a bit, do you prefer a smaller more focused team now versus a big AAA / big budget team? If a publisher said ‘Hey, here’s a big bunch of cash, just make something,’ would you prefer a smaller project or a big AAA title?
Yes, so, it’s not like I’m only going to work in smaller teams, nothing extreme, it’s just I feel that the creative core of the staff regardless of the size, they need to really have a mutual understanding with each other, that’s super important.
If someone did come along with this big money and asked us to make a game, as long as it’s something that we want to make and we have that creative core there, I’m fine with it.
The game is a Switch title, but is this like a Nintendo thing? We have a huge PC fanbase in our community, lots of them are asking for TSA on PC.
What do you mean by a Nintendo thing? The publishing duties?
It’s not quite clear if it’s partially funded by Nintendo or if it’s being published by them. Lots of the one year exclusive time deals tend to be not public and then suddenly it’s coming to PS4, PC, whatever.
For now the game is Switch only, that’s what I can say about it.
Cool, I think that’s all I’ve got, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us!
In case you missed it, you can find my thorough and direct-feed video preview for Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes here.
Niche Gamer regularly interviews developers on a variety of subjects—if you’re a developer and want to chat with us, please contact us!