Why Are Assassins Interesting Protagonists? Goichi Suda Explains

By Spencer . March 28, 2013 . 5:30pm


Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi Suda has developed a bunch of video games. Many of them have an assassin as the protagonist. In killer7 you play as a group of assassins. Travis Touchdown from No More Heroes fights his way up the United Assassins Association by killing one hitman at a time. Even Garcia Hotspur from Shadows of the Damned is kind of like an assassin since he’s a demon hunter.


Killer is Dead follows Mondo Zappa who cleans the the streets during a chaotic time when criminals are utilizing biomechanical augmentation. Mondo Zappa has a cybernetic arm and he uses this to execute criminals like Victor.


After I saw Killer is Dead, I asked Suda what makes assassins interesting protagonists.


"I think going back to the core essence, I used to be an assassin and that really reflects on what kind of games I want to make," Suda replied with a laugh. "I’m sorry, that’s me just being jetlagged. When you defeat an enemy, that equals death. If defeat equals death and you’re thinking about the fine line between living and dying, to express that in an action-oriented game an assassin [as a character] makes it much easier to express that."


Read more stories about & & on Siliconera.

  • Freud_Hater

    …I-I don’t really get it…

    • Gasarocky

      he’s just saying that an assassin has a natural excuse to be in life-and-death situations and makes getting the feeling of being IN a life-and-death situation easy.

  • LittleMofreaky

    Every game Suda51 is involved in is usually fantastic. I’ super excited for this game, but I’ve even more excited since they released artwork of what his next next game will be. SPOILER ALERT! Its NMH3, it probably stars a girl, and its probably for Wii U. :)

    • almostautumn

      It is probably not NMH3, and I don’t know why everyone is saying a white katana wielder is Shinobu. Despite him saying that he’d like to do a game with Shinobu, he also called NMH a completed series.
      Where you get Wii U from, also, I just don’t have a clue.

      • puchinri

        There’s an image of two ladies (well, in one of the or three images) and one of them looks startingly similar to Shinobu (too much so). Also, he did say he wanted to make another, but that Travis wouldn’t be the MC and eventually said if we did want MC Travis, we’d have to beg for it (but I’d rather have Shinobu or this new gal be the MC).

      • LittleMofreaky

        He talked about NMH3 for Wii U in a destructoid interview when the Wii U was announced in 2011. Also, people are talking about Shinobu in the second picture. The girl holding the red umbrella is obviously Shinobu.

    • puchinri

      I am really hoping that it’s NMH3, but either way I’m fairly excited for the new game (a bit more than KiD) and hoping it’ll be released on Wii U~.

  • I don’t have to understand what Grasshoppers games are about or why they are the way that they are. They’re stylish and fun as hell so I hope they just continue to make em.

  • MrSirFeatherFang

    When you defeat an enemy, that equals death. If defeat equals death and
    you’re thinking about the fine line between living and dying

    Looks like we’ll never get a teenage protagonist with wavering convictions or decision issues. They’ll die the moment they’re killed.

    • We got teenager Juliet Starling who was a zombie killer, so I don’t think it’s impossible for a Grasshopper Manufacture game to not have a teen protagonist with wavering convictions as long as they’re badass enough to not get murdered to death while their questioning their motives.

    • Ali

      If that is the case….bring on more Assasins…..oh wait, that’s exactly what Ubisoft’s doing!

  • JustThisOne

    I personally think that having an assassin protagonist is good for two things:

    1) No hesitation to kill. In a way, it’s bad ass because you’ve got a character with conviction. But ultimately, you have a character that isn’t wishy washy, or morally conflicted all the time. Usually, assassin’s are characters that are used to it all and do it because of their own reasons. That’s all there is to it.

    2) When there is hesitation to kill, there’s an opportunity for interesting developments. Now what would stop an assassin in his tracks? Is it himself? Did the money stop flowing? Is it in bad taste? Either way, you can build on this to create something interesting.

  • Göran Isacson

    Ha, yeah that’s pretty on the nose- I make games about assassins because it’s easy to write stories about assassins killing people. Pretty simple and clean.

    Much like every hit Suda 51 used to do before he could finally retire. After all… 51 lives is a heavy weight for any conscience to bear.

  • I think assassin has very little to do with it. Half the characters in killer 7 could have been baseball umpires and the plot wouldn’t have been any more unreasonably convoluted.

    I think that was kind of the point though. Frankly I don’t think Suda had any idea where he was going with that game and the feel was perfect. When it comes down to it, the ex-mortician still has a taste of death in his mouth and that ends up being the name of the game. Well done.

    • Asura

      The plot of K7 was amazing, and quite frankly I’m upset Suda has yet to match it on any level in the games he released afterward.

      • M’iau M’iaut

        I think the first NMH as a first-time experience came close, but that game also served as his gateway to simply be utter batshit. Rather than utter batshit with and for a reason.

      • I’m in agreement but there is a distinct disconnect between the cool gritty style of interactions and the cosmic plotline. They don’t really match or make sense together until you look at the game as a whole. Meaning (at least for me) it took a long time and a little disappointment to put together the brilliance of the game. Disappointment definitely faded the moment it began to click. It’s one of those games that is a work of art. Right under the entire context of Shadow of the Colossus and Above the literal artistry of Okami.

        But part of my initial letdown could be that could be that I highly prefer games with at least one genuine good guy. I don’t even care if its the antagonist. XD

  • Vash bane

    (wants another killer 7)

  • Ace

    I lol’d on comments being closed on the DmC article.

    • Because we all know the No. 1 comment would be something along the lines of:

      “And this is the final concept Capcom and Ninja Theory came up with.”

      “yup, and it was shit”


  • Sylveria

    I think there’s also something interesting about playing a character who operates outside of conventional morality. You’re not some great hero doing good things for the betterment of the world. You’re violence isn’t, typically, righteously justified by you being “good” and your opponents being “evil”. By most standards you are the bad guy, but you’re not some cartoon villain like most “evil” choices in moral choice systems or the deranged sadism that most modern shooters portray.

    Also props to the person who ran through and thumb downed every comment on the page as I was editing this. You must have a very fulfilling life.

Video game stories from other sites on the web. These links leave Siliconera.

Siliconera Tests
Siliconera Videos