Monday, October 10, 2011

Grasshopper Manufacture: It May Not Make Sense, But You'll Love It

You've played their games, but probably never knew who they were right away. They have a history of pumping out quality products without a huge deal of mainstream fanfare, and lets not forget that the games they released in the US were some of the better titles released here over the last 5 years. The developer I speak of is Grasshopper Manufacture, and while the development house started by Goichi Suda, who is best known by the moniker Suda51, has built a reputation for creating cutting edge, attitude laden content for multiple consoles, they have also continued to keep a low profile in this current climate of big budget video games. Suda51 has been called the Quentin Tarantino of video games, because of the chances he's willing to take and the amount of sheer bad assery infused in the games.

I first discovered Grasshopper Manufacture when I stumbled upon their Wii masterpiece No More Heroes. I knew of Killer 7, but hadn't touched that amazingly quirky title yet, and NMH called out to me as I searched for a quality Beat Em Up on the Wii. As I started this game I understood why Grasshopper Manufacture and their head, Suda51, were so influential among other developers. Then I started doing research and I learned that Suda51 has had his hands in a number of projects for multiple consoles over the last decade. He started out working as a writer for Human Entertainment, which had him put his hands on the Fire Pro Wrestling series, and continued to make waves in the Japanese gaming market until well after he left Human in 1998 and started Grasshopper Manufacture.

Other than No More Heroes and Killer 7, Grasshopper Manufacture has developed Fatal Frame IV, Shadows of the Damned, Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked, and Michigan: Report From Hell among other titles released either worldwide or only in Japan. They are slated to release two games for XBLA and PSN in the coming months through a partnership with Hungarian publisher Digital Reality. Those titles, Sine Mora and Black Knight Sword, are a side scrolling SHMUP and a side scrolling action platformer, respectively. GHM also has a very bloody zombie killing beat em up on the horizon with Lollipop Chainsaw, which is slated for a 2012 release.

Between working on the Subspace Emissary mode of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, work with Hideo Kojima, and collaborating with Shinji Mikami(best known as the mind behind Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Onimusha), Suda51 has proven to be a busy man in the gaming business as well as one of it's greatest creative minds.

Grasshopper Manufacture has existed since the late 90s, and only entered the American gaming lexicon in 2005, but rest assured that Suda51's declaration of independence will continue to carve it's own niche while scoffing at the big budget snooze fests that flood the gaming market now.

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