If there’s one guarantee in the gaming world, it’s that you always know you’re in for something pretty crazy when Goichi Suda is involved. The CEO of stand-out Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture has been a part of a long line of unique, unusual, and downright bizarre gaming projects, from titles like Flower, Sun, and Rain and Killer7 to the cult classic No More Heroes.
Now, Suda is set to present us with a new world of weird wonderment: Lollipop Chainsaw, which tells the tale of bubbly blonde cheerleader Juliet Starling and her adventures in chainsawing the hell out of zombie hordes.
At a special GDC 2012 party celebrating the game, I had the chance to talk—very briefly—with the man behind the madness himself.
EGM: The zombie genre has really blown up in video gaming, and at this point there have been so many different types of games that are based around that mythos to some degree. What is it about Lollipop Chainsaw that you feel will make it stand out from the crowd, and going into the game, what did you want to attempt that those other games haven’t?
Suda51: I think the biggest thing is that I wanted to make a game that was funny and which had a “pop” type of feel to it, instead of trying to be scary. I really wanted to make Lollipop Chainsaw a zombie game that any type of player could play and enjoy.
I definitely noticed that feel to the game, even in the small amount we played tonight. It also makes me think about Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes, who had a somewhat similar pop-culture style to him like Juliet does. In some small way, would you consider Juliet to be sort of the female Travis?
I’d say Travis was more of that otaku kind of character, where as Juliet is more along the lines of the “school idol” type. She’s got this really bright and sunny type of personality, and the idea behind her was as a sort of “new heroine” for the gaming world.
One thing I always find interesting is the way one culture perceives things from another. For example, here in West, we may make a character based around the Japanese schoolgirl archetype, yet we may not totally understand what that type of character really is. For you, basing Juliet off of an American cheerleader, what do you understand about that type of person?
My image of American cheerleaders is definitely that of being the school idol stereotype as I mentioned before. They’re somebody who only dates football players, and they’re one of those groups of people at school who most of us only get to see from afar due to their status. So, I thought it would be interesting to take a character like that, and suddenly put her into situations where she’s having to fight zombies with a chainsaw.