No More Heroes III came to new platforms earlier this month with the release of PlayStation 5, Xbox Series, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC (Steam) versions, so Gematsu sat down with No More Heroes series creator and Grasshopper Manufacture founder Goichi “Suda 51” Suda to discuss the game’s new elements, creating the series’ finale, if it’s really the series’ finale, PlayStation and Xbox versions of the first two games, and more.
Get the full interview below.
Gematsu Interviews Goichi “Suda 51” Suda
Gematsu: What’s new in the PlayStation, Xbox, and PC versions of No More Heroes III?
Goichi Suda, Producer and Director: “First, there’s the fact that these are different platforms, so I believe you’ll be able to play with improved graphics and a stable 60 frames per second frame rate.
“Also, the biggest new feature is the addition of the Japanese voices. We’ve got an amazing Japanese voice actor cast in this game. A lot of people out there watch Japanese anime, so I think you’re likely to hear some familiar voices in this installment. Some fans have said it feels like a Gintama-style lineup, but a lot of the Gintama family actually took part in the game, so that’s one of the main cool things I’d like everyone to check out.
“After playing through it in English, you could try playing with the Japanese voices next… A second playthrough in Japanese. I feel like that’d be a great way to enjoy the game.”
With No More Heroes III coming to PlayStation and Xbox, is there any chance we could see No More Heroes 1 and 2 come to those platforms?
Suda: “No More Heroes 1 and 2 are currently only playable on Steam and on the Switch, and I do feel that it would be best to make them available to play on a wider variety of platforms, so that’s something I’d like to collaborate on with Marvelous and make happen eventually. I can’t make any promises right now, but that’s where we are at the moment.”
No More Heroes III arrived 11 years after the last numbered entry. What was it like to finally create the sequel fans have been demanding for years?
Suda: “Yeah, 11 years is a long time; like longer than the usual lifespan of a platform itself. The game we had developed on the Wii ended up jumping generations and landing on the Switch, and it was, hm, how do I put it… It actually felt like we were able to come back to the world of No More Heroes pretty smoothly. But even within our studio, first, we needed to ensure that people knew about No More Heroes 1 and 2. What sort of games they are, and how much the fans loved them… I feel like that was our actual starting point.
“So obviously, we had our own image of what kind of III we wanted to create, but there’s also the III that the fans wanted to see; the III they were imagining. So in development we tried to make sure that those visions of III overlapped as much as possible.”
Was there anything that you wanted to do in No More Heroes III, but couldn’t due to budget-related or technical limitations?
Suda: “Well, I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t. That’s a tough one. Of course there were lots of things we wanted to do, and I’ve spoken about this in lots of interviews before, but we initially envisioned having 100 bosses, and having more playable characters apart from just Travis; those were some ideas we considered. Also, it was going to take place in not only Santa Destroy, but a place called Utopiland as well. We wanted to create an entire freely traversable map. I had really hoped to accomplish all of those things, but due to factors like the sheer volume of the game, scheduling, budget, etc., we ended up having to scale a lot of stuff back.
“But we really wanted to focus on Travis’ story, you know? So by having other characters also be playable, I felt like that would sort of dilute Travis’ own final battle. Since what we have now is due to scaling all that stuff back, in the end I think it turned out to be a good decision.”
Are you satisfied with how it turned out? Is there anything you would change?
Suda: “Yeah, I’m satisfied with the game, but since release, a lot of fans of 1 and 2 have mentioned… (laughs)…
“So in 1 and 2, you were able to swap out the Beam Katana, right? You could upgrade it, and you could get new weapons, and the selectable weapons were one of No More Heroes‘ main features. But we got rid of that for III, and focused on the Blood Berry instead.
“To be honest… I wish we’d added more weapons. I wanted to have three types of weapons, and that’s honestly one of my regrets. So in the future, if we do a remake or remaster or something, like maybe 10 years or so from now, I want to be sure to put stuff like that into the game, if it happens. But again, I can’t make any promises at the moment.”
You said No More Heroes III would be the end of the line for Travis and No More Heroes. But is this really the end? Is there definitely no No More Heroes to come?
“As for it being the final game, and Travis’ final battle, I think of it as Travis’ retirement, or an honorable discharge.
“But, yeah… Like with all the pro wrestlers out there, a lot of times they’ll retire, and then make a comeback. For example, some of my favorites, like Terry Funk, or Atsushi Onita, who’s legendary in Japan for his deathmatches. They’ve retired so many times. Each time they retire, they make a comeback. I’ve seen Terry Funk retire like three times. And every time, he returns to the ring.
“So, when it comes to Travis, well… He does love pro wrestling, and his ‘retirement’ could possibly just be a little break. I don’t know. I’d prefer to leave it up to him, and see how he feels about it.”
If you could make a spin-off game in the No More Heroes series in any genre, what would it be?
Suda: “Hm… for any genre? Right now, it’d be with FU, the character who really blew up in III. He became such a breakout character, and I feel like we were able to create the perfect opponent for Travis’ final enemy, but FU… did he really, actually die in the end? Is he still alive? Even I don’t know.
“If FU were still alive… I feel that his story would still have a ways to go, so I’d like to do FU’s story. FU goes to Hell, and comes back from Hell once again… I wonder if we could make a hack ‘n’ slash game out of that story? That’s probably what it’d be.”
Travis Touchdown vs. Mondo Zappa vs. Juliet Starling vs. Garcia Hotspur. Who wins?
Suda: “Wow, that’s hard. I don’t think I’ve been asked that before.
“Hm, who’s strongest? You know, I’d really like to see that fight. You know, in 2028… Grasshopper is gonna have its 30th anniversary. It’d be cool to make a Grasshopper All-Stars game, battle royale-style, where all the characters would compete with each other. We’re actually discussing that at Grasshopper right now. If it ends up happening, then we may know the answer then. Who’s the strongest…?”
Will you please share a final message for the fans before you sign off?
Suda: “To everyone who’s played No More Heroes, thank you for playing—and for buying—the game.
“The character of Travis Touchdown has been beloved, watched over, and supported by gamers, and made it all the way to III. After that… lots of people want another sequel, and we just discussed having a possible spin-off, but I would love to have the world of No More Heroes continue on; to see it connect to something. We’ve received many similar comments, but… Travis really just kinda does what he feels like, and not even I have any idea what he’s gonna do next. But someday, if Travis says he wants to get crazy again, to fight again, then I’ll speak with Marvelous and in maybe 10 years from now… maybe even further out… It might end up being a long wait, or Travis may end up just staying retired. He may just live out the rest of his life in peace, in paradise.
“But still, I want to thank everyone so much for supporting No More Heroes! We still have no idea what’ll happen to Travis Touchdown, but I hope you’ll keep supporting us! Thank you very much!”