Killer Is Dead Started Because Suda Was Thinking About The Dark Side Of The Moon

By Spencer . April 19, 2013 . 6:35pm


While Killer is Dead has some humor and quirkiness like Gigolo Mode, it’s one of Grasshopper Manufacture’s darker games. Set in the near future, you play as an executioner who has to kill other criminals. In this interview, we asked director Goichi Suda about the kind of character Mondo Zappa is, who he has to kill, and how the game flows.


Suda-san, we’ve seen a couple of games from Grasshopper Manufacture like No More Heroes, killer7, and now Killer is Dead which have assassins as main characters. What makes assassins interesting protagonists?


Goichi Suda, Director: 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. [Laughs.]


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.


killer7 was a really dark game while Lollipop Chainsaw was more of a parody. What’s the difference between making a comical game compared to a dark game?


When it comes to violence, Lollipop Chainsaw was something you can laugh about. It was sort of a party game theme when I was coming up with the concept. Going up against zombies is comical in a way when you think about it, but when you think about death I wanted to have a different way to look at it which is why I came up with killer7. When I create something dark, as a desire I want to see what happens when I swing back to the lighter side.




When I first saw Mondo is he reminded me of a salaryman because he had to execute because it’s his job and in Japan you have to "execute" your job whether you’re an assassin like Mondo or you’re a banker.


For every game I design, I want to players to be able to relate to the characters the play as. Especially for Mondo because people work at an organization or company or for shareholders, there is always something you are working for. In that case, I wanted to have that relate to players so they can understand why Mondo does the things he does and act the way he does.


One of the other themes in the game is Mondo being a protector and in this future world on top of cybernetic enhancements there is lunar tourism too. Why did you add that in?


When I was creating the script had to do with the moon, earth, and sun. I started with a plot that related those elements, but it wasn’t working out so I took that out. I still wanted to have some kind of focus with the moon. You know the latest Transformers movie? Nobody has seen the dark side of the moon. There could be a house there with somebody living  in it and the main character needs to kill that person, but how do you get over there. That’s how I started creating this game.


One of the themes in Killer is Dead is you want to protect what’s dear to you. I think that relates to everybody and that’s one of the inspirational parts to put all of the pieces together.


Killer is Dead will be Grasshopper Manufacture’s second title developed with Kadokawa Games. [Yoshimi] Yasuda was from Tecmo which created a lot of action games like Ninja Gaiden. How has the relationship with Yasuda-san affected Killer is Dead. Did he give any ideas about the action part?


We have meetings with Grasshopper and Kadokawa regularly and Yasuda-san will be present there. Basically, we brainstorm and pitch ideas to each other. Yasuda-san will give out an idea and then we’ll figure out what the best ideas are. There are elements in the game that were refreshing that came from Yasuda-san and we implemented those.





Mondo Zappa has to kill killers and other criminals. What kind of heinous crimes have these underworld people committed?


There are a lot. Just an example, there are people rounding up missing people and then feeding them to tigers. Another one is a noise complaint that doesn’t sound human. It all starts with a client coming in because there is something wrong, something is abnormal and they ask Mondo to look into it. That’s when a mission starts.


We saw a boss battle, but what’s the gameplay between the cutscenes and the boss battle?


When you start a mission there are these small fry enemies called the Wires that come from the dark side of the moon. They are starting to affect the Earth and underworld. After those, you fight small bosses, mid-bosses, and reach the final boss of the mission.


I think Grasshopper Manufacture’s darkest game is Michigan and the lightest game is Contact. Where does Killer is Dead fit on this scale?


Hmm… Contact over here and Michigan over here [Suda shows the difference with his hands.] If this is the center, Killer is Dead would be in between the center and Michigan. Somewhere around here.

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  • M’iau M’iaut

    Come on 51, don’t make up reasons when you were just dropping acid and listening to this.

    • Exkaiser

      Suda doesn’t drop acid.

      He just eats crack rocks in milk for breakfast. It’s the calcium that gives him inspiration!

    • Pyrofrost

      My thoughts exactly xD
      +1 from me good sir~

  • Göran Isacson

    So he thought about someone living on the moon, and how you could hypothetically kill that person.

    Hypothetically. Of course. ;)

    At any rate, I have to admit that I haven’t seen much darkness from this game yet. So far it seems like a more suave No More Heroes, and while that game did have dark moments the pervasive mood was this bright, colorful hyperactive “hell yeah let’s become the best assassin!” mood. This kinda feels the same- so far what we’ve seen fees so glitzy. They’ve gone to such lengths to portray Mondo as this James Bond-dude who gets with girls and then has cool battles with bizarre bosses to high-energy renditions of classical music. That doesn’t really scream “dark” to me, yanno?

    • puchinri

      What I liked about No More Heroes was how the brightness contrasted with the reality and worked well with the message in the end, and it made things a bit surreal even. It flowed because being an assassin isn’t glamorous and you should/do question yourself; and Travis got that (eventually, on/off).

      With this? I don’t feel like it flows that way, and it does make it seem more NMH, but without the impact of those underlying themes (hence, yeah, it does lose a lot of that “dark”ness). But if Suda is looking to deconstruct Bond tropes and such, I am looking forward to how he goes about it and how well he does.

  • AkuLord3

    When i saw “Dark Side of the Moon” I thought Suda was watching Mulan when thinking up “Killer is Dead” lol
    Pretty interesting stuff learning from this

    • Solomon_Kano

      Now I’m going to have to break out into song every time the moon shows up in the game lol.

  • Solomon_Kano

    Hearing what inspires Suda is always interesting since he usually comes up with some pretty out there stuff.

  • MellowMadman11

    If nothing else, at least his games are unique. I do enjoy them though.

  • Pyrofrost

    So Suda is a Pink Floyd fan. I’m impressed :3

    • Seanubis

      not really the dark side is more of a place on the moon than the album itself as he described.

  • l777l

    I have doubts that this will be sophisticated. Stylish, probably.

  • Interesting one especially character of Suda. To save your dear ones attracts me as this is the theme that centered around game.

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