Akira Yamaoka, legendary composer and ex-producer of the Silent Hill series, raised many an eyebrow last February, when it was announced that both he and Kazutoshi Iida (responsible for Doshin the Giant) had taken up positions at Grasshopper Manufacture – the studio responsible for No More Heroes and Killer 7. Now, it appears as though Suda 51 has hit the jackpot once again, with the news that Yasuhiro Wada (Harvest Moon) and Yoshiro Kimura (Little King’s Story) will also be joining his quirky Japanese outfit.
In a recent interview with Famitsu, Wada revealed that he will serve as Grasshopper’s chief operating officer, aiding the studio with various development decisions, and helping to maintain an achievable release framework. Kimura, on the other hand, will take up the position of chief creative officer.
“This move will help us produce games in a more stable manner,” Suda told Famitsu. “We haven’t released a single [original] title in the past year, which is something that caused a lot of regret in my mind. Having these two people join Grasshopper will make us a more sturdily-organized company, and it’ll improve our development, technical, and release skills.”
This, of course, isn’t the first time that established Japanese creators have left their home companies, and taking into consideration the poor sales of Little King’s Story, the move was likely triggered by the streamlining of Marvelous’ output, which placed more emphasis on milking (no pun intended…) established brands such as Harvest Moon.
“Grasshopper’s games are enjoyed by people around the world, but they aren’t necessarily geared toward the overseas market,” Wada commented. “They just happen to resonate with overseas audiences as well. I think that’s because this company plays home to a great deal of different cultures that all come together to discover types of fun that everyone can share. It’s not a matter of marketing toward individual countries; it’s about finding the inner antenna that tells you what’s fun and what isn’t.”
Grasshopper founder, Suda 51, has yet to reveal which titles the duo will be working on, but believes the couple will help take his studio to new heights. “We’ve been known for specializing in action games,” Suda commented, “but I’m positive this will help drive us to explore other genres as well. One of my goals is to make a game for all ages, and I think we’ve got the foundation for that now.”
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