Grasshopper Manufacture Acquired By GungHo Online Entertainment

By Spencer . January 29, 2013 . 11:14pm

GrasshopperManufacture Grasshopper Manufacture, makers of games like Lollipop Chainsaw and No More Heroes, has been acquired by GungHo Online Entertainment. In a short press release, GungHo says the combination of Grasshopper Manufacture’s planning and development power aggregated with GungHo’s forte in online games and management will allow them to produce high quality content.


Who is GungHo Online Entertainment? They own Ragnarok Online, made Hero’s Saga Laevatein Tactics, and Puzzle & Dragons. GungHo also acquired Grandia developer Game Arts and Akiba’s Trip maker Acquire. GungHo also opened an American division last year, GungHo Online Entertainment America. Their Western branch published Dokuro and will release Ragnarok Odyssey in Europe.

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  • gulabjamal

    WHAT?!! Well this is a surprise

  • T-X

    Does this make a No More Heroes MMO is a possibility? Just curious.

    • T-X

      or maybe it would be interesting to even see integration. Like highscores and community forums on your phone, like Nintendo’s trying to do. Or just game tie-ins; spin-offs that don’t really matter but are fun. Grasshopper do like their minigames…

      • Solomon_Kano

        I see that as a realistic possibility. GungHo’s got some mobile supplements for Ragnarok Online, though that’s it so far. If GHM wants to do something with that, GungHo’s certainly got some experience with that.

        NMH would make for a pretty cool MMO if they keep the core gameplay, but I dunno if Grasshopper holds the IP or whoever they partnered with in making it.

        • T-X

          Yea I get what your saying. Idk how Ubisoft feels about the acquisition. Maybe they would be open to a partnership.

          • Solomon_Kano

            Is Ubisoft the IP holder? I never really knew who owned what in that situation. Even less so, once Konami published the PS3 version of NMH in the west.

          • T-X

            Oh yea I forgot about that port. It’s probably just owned by GHM then. Having multiple publishers like that seems to paint it that way. I hope NMH3 doesn’t get delayed or pushed back on the priority list because of this though.

          • Solomon_Kano

            I don’t think it will. Being that they’ve never said if they’re working on it yet or not, I don’t think anything changes for that title. If it does, we’ll probably never know. If anything, when they do get to it they’ve got more resources at their disposal than they had for the first two, so that should be interesting to see.

    • JustThisOne

      A strictly PvP MMO where it’s all about leaderboards, money, and moe! *rainbow high fives of lightning*

      • T-X

        Haha, with tie in apps where you can earn more cash flipping burgers, cat sitting and of course mowing the lawn.

    • Speaking of MMO’s that would fail.

      • T-X

        Idk, the company knows what they’re doing. Ragnarok is pretty popular with the anime crowd, they even have R2 in beta. Like JustThisOne suggested it would be good to see a PvP arena at least. Reminds me of this one anime themed arena game where you can jump everywhere and have guns and swords, was really addicting.

        EDIT: S4 League! that was the name, really addicting.

        • The brilliance of NMH is the parody of sandbox game tropes. I don’t think they could subvert so well in a MMO.

          • T-X

            It wouldn’t have to be NMH, Lollipop Chainsaw and the new KillerIsDead shows Grasshopper isn’t afraid to reuse concepts of gameplay. Anything they produce out of this joining could still have the same charm; maybe even breaking the 4th wall parodying MMO arena games, idk.

          • Possible. But Suda51 games tend to be more enjoyable than they are playable…

          • T-X

            Very true, haha.

    • Rolling Guy

      There’s a NMH online game on iOS. It’s No More Heroes World Ranker. You get to create your own assassin and their class which are grappler, gunner, and swordsman. It’s in the Japanese Appstore.

      • T-X

        Ohhh, I didn’t know that it was a custom assassin title. Figures Japanese ppl would have such a cool cellphone game haha. Hope we get to play something similar.

        • Rolling Guy

          I play it for the shits and giggles. It’s pretty easy when you try out and memorize the menus. I’ve played more complicated mobage’s than that and I only have a teensy bit, if none, knowledge of Nihonggo. Try it out! :)

  • Dick Mountainjoy

    That’s… Interesting.

    I normally cringe at the idea of “Forte in Online Games” because that makes me think of stuff like Zynga and Mobage, but I trust Suda to have better judgement then to go strictly social…

    Then again, he made a game with James Gunn as writer, so maybe I should be worried.

    • T-X

      He did also allow/support a mobile NMH port, so to speak.

      • Dick Mountainjoy

        I wouldn’t mind if GHM made a few Social games, I just wouldn’t want them to become a social game company.

        • T-X

          For sure.

    • Dick Mountainjoy

      Wait… They own Acquire too?

      Killer 7 X Way of the Samurai, Make it happen.

    • Solomon_Kano

      No worries on the social game stuff, GungHo operates actual online games, in the sense that they do lots of MMOs. Their studios (Game Arts and Acquire) mostly work in the portable space these days so, with GHM on consoles, they’ve now covered all bases.

    • He made an AWESOME game with James Gunn as the writer. LC was pretty amazing for what the story did with gender stereotypes.

      • Dick Mountainjoy

        Women being ditsy fetish dress up dolls?

        Please, if I wanted a story about a powerful female coddling her frustrated male side kick, i’ll stick to MLP

        • Sounds like you’re speaking from ignorance.

          • Dick Mountainjoy

            A Girl Hero with a Weaker, Buttmonkey sidekick isn’t a great twist on gender roles, it’s pretty much every female-centric heroine story in a nut shell.

            And most don’t give you an award for trying to look up her skirt.

          • have you played lollipop chainsaw?

          • Dick Mountainjoy

            Yes? What’s your point. Terrible dialog on annoying characters aside?

            Seriously, what is your point? What great social statement does it make?

          • Guess you missed the point then.

          • Dick Mountainjoy

            Because Nick is sad he’s weak and powerless? Because pretty much every female focused action serious has a weak, frustrated male counterpart. It’s not ground breaking, and most don’t treat the female lead as a ditsy fetish factory.

  • GungHo is a publisher.

    Does this mean Grasshopper can no longer partner with MarvelousAQL for No More Heroes 3, or develop for any other publisher for the matter?

  • puchinri

    This is shocking. I wonder how things will change for GHM if at all.

    • M’iau M’iaut

      Suda has always been willing to play with lots of different folks money. I’d suspect most of the IPs stay with their respective publishers meaning this is a straight staff grab.

      • puchinri

        I kind of figured as much. Which still left me wondering a lot.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Good news to me. GungHo’s other two studios also make good stuff, quirky stuff, so I’d say Suda and co. are in good company. On top of that, every GungHo Vita game has seen US release (whether through Xseed or GungHo theirself) so I don’t doubt that this increases the chances of GMH’s work coming over since they work on consoles. Though, really, they’ve been good about partnering with pubs who work globally (EA, WB, Ubisoft) just about all this gen anyway.

  • Lightthrower

    GungHo? We need more Acquire games here! :-D

  • This are the worst news I’ve heard since Atlus and Cavia being absorbed by their parent companies.

    • I got worse than that: Tecmo Koei handling the release of the Atelier Ayesha game in the US while Gust’s staples in said past releases: LE/CE editions of the games, dual audio, and english trailers/promotion for the game being tossed aside.

      Seriously, this seems to be the year of “The half assed ‘acquires’ and mergers and ‘partnerships’ done in an attempt to make better ganmes but end up going in the opposite direction.”

      • puchinri

        I was thinking about that. Initially, it seemed like Tecmo Koei acquiring Gust didn’t change anything and I didn’t mind it, but after that incident, it changes everything. Which now has me somewhat worried about this.

        • Well, Tecmo Koei got a lot of feedback from Atelier fans over the last few weeks – since they messed up big time. First announcing dual-audio, then taking it back again. They did apologise tho and did say on their FB page: “We know how important this is for you and we will try to implement the voice option in the future Atelier releases.” I think that neither the US nor Europe will see any LE/CE versions of new Atelier games anytime soon tho. Well, over here in Europe we never saw them to begin with, neither from NISA nor from Koch Media who publishes some of NISA’s games in Germany, so I’m not too bothered about that tbh. I can see how that would bother US fans tho…

          • Oh, another fellow German. Servus from Tokyo =)

          • Moin from Hamburg. ;>

          • puchinri

            Did the US also say that? I notice their twitter has been dead for a while and apparently they closed down their forums a while back, so I was trying to see what ways they keep in contact with fans (and how fans contact them). Europe at least seemed to communicate with everyone and take things to heart.

            The LE part is disappointing, but I’m more burned over the audio situation. (And I felt that TK EU was also burned by that situation.)

          • Hm, I’m not sure if that goes for both their US and EU offices, tbh. But you can reach them via FB here:

            Yeah, I’m also more disappointed about the whole audio issue. I mean, if the English dub would be awesome – like the dubs in Xenoblade, FF12, The Last Story, Farcry 3… and not just PARTIAL DUBS either… then I wouldn’t even complain. I love me some good English dub, but most just aren’t really that great. Maybe, just maybe if enough ppl keep pestering them, they’ll do a Japanese Voice DLC later on. I keep hoping for that. ;__;

          • puchinri

            Yeah, that’s also what’s upsetting to me. It’s a partial dub. And a lot of people were being very antagonistic towards those disappointed about no dual audio, but they should have been upset too. It’s an ugly situation overall.

            I’m really hoping the same. ;u;

      • Pyrofrost

        Well, the thing is TK isn’t NISA.
        Before, TK was only distributing the games while NISA did everything else. Now, things have changed. NISA is no longer acting as publisher.

        If NISA was still publishing and things were being stripped away, you could talk about things being tossed aside. However, TK has never published Atelier here, so they aren’t tossing anything.
        Just because NISA has made people feel like they are entitled to something, doesn’t mean other companies will automatically follow suit.

        • Peeka Chu

          I think its more important that we have a growing pool of people willing to publish Japanese content in the West. Personally, I don’t care for plushies, soundtracks, dual audio (its nice, sure, but I’m playing a game to play a game, not to get hung up on good/ bad VOs) or any of the other frills. I just want to play the game. Isn’t that – fundamentally – the point? Otherwise, just invest in an Anime collection and make monthly orders off Play Asia.

          • Pyrofrost

            I completely agree.
            I buy games because I want the games. All the other things are just extras, and whether or not we get those extras isn’t going to deter me from buying a game I’m interested in.
            The only thing I expect from a localized game is a decent translation and minimal cut content.

          • William Carpenter

            I can agree with you on the plushies and soundtracks and all that stuff, but when publishers go and mess up voice acting, that’s cause for anger I think. A game isn’t just the gameplay, it’s a complete package. Bad voice acting can really bring down a game’s quality. I’m an adult, gosh darnit, and game voice acting is embarrassing way too often.

          • Pyrofrost

            Man, people are really sensitive about voice acting. At least games have voice overs. Hell, there was a time voice overs didn’t exist in gaming. Now we have so-called gamers who aren’t willing to play a game without voice overs; because it requires them to read…and people wonder why the average uni student is at the Middle School reading level.

            Also, I’m curious, what does voice acting have to do with being an adult?

          • William Carpenter

            I’m perfectly fine with playing games with no voice acting. My first game system was a Commodore 64, so I’m not at all unused to it. I’d rather no voice acting at all over bad voice acting.

            Being an adult was relevant to my initial comment because, while I can’t speak for anyone else, all too often when I’m “caught” playing a game with bad voice acting I find myself compelled to explain it away. Someone might be watching me play and ask why games always have such bad voice acting. It’s a stigma. Games don’t need more stigma. Bad, over-dramatic voice acting can be associated with childish and cartoony things.

          • Pyrofrost

            Is it really any different than all the bad actors thrown into movies and TV shows? Why worry about what other people think anyway? It’s your hobby after all.

            I dunno though, I was able to enjoy Arc Rise Fantasia and that game is legendary for its bad VOs.
            Though I’m probably the wrong person to have this conversation with. When it comes to the things I look for in a game, VO quality isn’t on that list. It’s completely not an issue to me.

          • With some games, especially if they don’t come with dual audio, I actually wish they could have just put in an option to turn voice overs completely off. I don’t mind just reading again and imagining the voices, “old school” style.

          • awaiken

            yes but expectations and standard of changed. People want the evolution of gaming and specifically storytelling in games to continue and that means fully voice acted games that immerse you in the story. I love a text adventure game as much as the next old school gamer but you can’t backpeddle.

          • neo_firenze

            “I think its more important that we have a growing pool of people willing to publish Japanese content in the West.”

            BINGO. There’s only so much that the likes of Xseed, Atlus, and Aksys can handle. The more publishers dedicated to getting Japanese games released outside of Japan, the better. I also agree that the extra physical stuff and deluxe editions are not something I particularly care about for most games. And in all cases, the top priority is actually getting the game.

            As for dual audio… I really only care that the original language track is included (there’s no reason to get rid of the original audio in the localization process), making new audio tracks for localized versions is not a priority to me but I do get that some people want it and I certainly wouldn’t complain if the option is there.

            I wouldn’t complain that an English track exists,

        • sockem

          I’m still worried at the lack of marketing, no website, that TK NA hasn’t acknowledged the game exists with around a month left till release, game still not being available for preorder at gamestop and other retailers that carried previous games, etc.

          TK NA having a broken website and most of their Community sites being inactive For months doesn’t instill much confidence either.

    • landlock

      Gungho seems like a company that’s leaves there studios to get on with it. Gungho are even releasing quirky/strange Psone classics in the US/EU.

    • William Carpenter

      Did Atlus being absorbed really change anything?

      • If anything, it helped. People just love to complain. :P

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Gung-ho is really going crazy on acquiring lots of studio here.

    I wanted to stay positive here but I really hope that all the company will really do well.

  • Elvick

    GungHo also localized Puzzle and Dragons. In the US at least, can’t get it in Canada… ):

    But yeah. I don’t see it as an issue. I doubt GungHo would mess with things, and I doubt that Grasshopper would allow being purchased by a company who wouldn’t allow them freedom to do what they do.

  • We’ll see how this develops. As long as they keep a hands-off approach to Suda’s games I’m cool with it. Interesting what it means for KID’s international release. I mean, Kadokawa was rather fast to partner with WB and bring Lollipop over quickly. Now that the publisher has switched to GungHo it’s kinda uncertain how long we’ll have to wait for Killer. On the other hand Dokuro only took like a couple of weeks in the US to be published (albeit digital-only) and about 3 months in Europe. GungHo is the Japanese publisher of Dokuro in case somebody’s missing the link.

  • Gakk….

  • I think it is a nice home. GungHo is already cool for PS1 classic imports and seem to be very interested in the West. As long as Grasshopper does what they want.

  • SirRichard

    “and will release Ragnarok Odyssey in Europe.”

    Wait, seriously? I must’ve missed that one, thought it just plain wasn’t happening. Awesome news.

    If anything, it’s good news; I doubt they’d interfere with Grasshopper’s games and it gives the studio a decent bit of financial backing, if nothing else.

  • Like… whoa. Did not see this coming. Wasn’t being independent part of the point of Grasshopper?

    • Yerld_CK

      For many, the struggle to secure work and stay afloat can become too much of a headache. It becomes tempting to sell when another company waves a lot of money in front of them (i.e. get rich + reduce work stress).

      Time and again, developers committed to independence (id Software, Bioware, etc.) have sold their companies – it’s a matter of the right time and the right price. Nevertheless, we’ve also seen that they have fallback plans if things go south: wait out the length of any exclusive contract/non-compete agreement and start a new studio.

  • This has me a tad worried considering things, but if this means Grasshopper Manufacture has more funding for projects and still have wiggle room to do what they want, all the better. I would rather see them flourish than have to close down, and there’s been plenty of that over the past 5 years. I still miss Hudson Soft man, Konami could at least have made them a subsidiary man. :(

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