Interview: Lollipop Chainsaw’s Goichi Suda

Suda 51 keeps mum on Killer is Dead.

Goichi “Suda 51” Suda, the man behind such works as Killer 7 and No More Heroes, was at PAX East this weekend promoting his latest game, Lollipop Chainsaw. We sat down with the Grasshopper Manufacture boss for a quick chat, where he told us of a great debate surrounding protagonist Juliet’s breast size.

Gematsu: Consumers and press usually address your games as ‘insane’ or ‘nuts.’ Fact is, you seem to be flowing with creativity. How do you keep coming up with these crazy ideas?

Suda: I try to create new stuff every day.

Just joking [he laughed].

I try to keep my brain going, rolling all the time, and thinking about all sorts of different things, and trying to come up with fun things all the time.

Where did the idea for Lollipop Chainsaw come about, specifically? And how did Kadokawa Games and Warner Brothers become partners in its development?

I always liked the panic and comedy games that take place at school. And also I love zombie games. On the other hand, I have Juliet’s image – you know, the cheerleader fighting with the chainsaw – they kind of came together and became one package: Lollipop Chainsaw.

In regards to Kadokawa and Warner, we worked very closely together. The producer of Kadokawa came to my office and worked together with my staff. And at the same time, from the start, the producer at Warner came all the way to Tokyo, and then actually worked with us. And also, Warner introduced us to James Gunn and the [English] voice actors. So it was a very close collaboration.

Zombies and rock-and-roll seem to go hand-and-hand. Being an idea man yourself, I’m curious as to whether you considered tying another music genre to the undead. Such as hip-hop.

[Philosopher’s pose] I think it’s a good fit!

Music plays a very important role. For this game, most of the characters are based upon the different music types or music genre. You know, we’ve got B-funk. Of course rock-and-roll is the basis of it, but there are different styles of music that are reflected in each character.

Who designed the character of Juliet? How important was sex appeal in the creation process?

Our staff came up with the original image of Juliet. And then the final illustration was done by Nekoshogun – she’s a freelance illustrator living in Osaka. She also illustrated the chainsaw. She has a website. You should visit.

We actually focused on Juliet’s sex appeal a lot, because Juliet is the face of this game, and she’s the one who attracts fans. So it was very important.

We had a very heated discussion about Juliet’s breast size. That was a very heated debate between Warner, Kadokawa, and us. Many people were involved in that. Some people said it should be bigger, some people said it should be smaller. We had a very serious discussion about that.

So who decided on the final size? What is it?

I think it was Warner – Warner had the final say. She’s a D-cup [he laughed]. Maybe bigger. I’m not exactly sure!

I want to talk a bit about Killer is Dead, which was announced in this week’s Famitsu. I read the preview and saw the concept art. No doubt this is from Suda, I said. What can you tell us about story and gameplay?

I can’t say anything about the gameplay, unfortunately, but for story, all I can say is that I want to make a new type of story. I’m thinking about the storytelling, which is easy to understand, but at the same time, it’s complicated. It’s contradicting, in a way, but that’s what I want.

What type of atmosphere are you trying to create in Killer is Dead? From the concept art, it looked to have a very futuristic, corporate-takeover-esque mood.

[That’s a] secret [he shushed].

Kadokawa confirmed Killer is Dead for a worldwide release, but neglected to mention a publisher. Will you be partnering with Warner Brothers yet again?

There is no information available on that, sorry.

How have you found your experience with Kinect? You recently put out Diabolical Pitch for Xbox LIVE Arcade.

A new device is always fun. It’s not just a new physical device, but you use your body, your whole body, it’s fun. It was a new experience, because we have to have a different mindset.

With Kinect already under your belt, have you considered developing for PlayStation Move?

I do not have anything planned.

Outside of playing and creating games, what’s your getaway hobby?

Watching TV! I’m recording many programs – Japanese TV sitcoms and drama. And when I want to relax, I go to the hot springs – the hot springs far away from Tokyo.

We don’t have those here.

The Japanese Onsen is the best.

I’ll be sure to check one out! Thank you for your time, Suda-san!

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