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  1. Good news, Suda51 fans. Killer is Dead now has a release date and details have emerged on extra goodies included in all launch copies! Here's all the cool stuff you can get for only $60 when the game releases: Killer is Dead game 80-page hardcover art book Soundtrack CD with 25 songs "Smooth Operator" DLC, alternate costumes for Vivienne and Mika, and a bonus "Gigolo Mission" with Betty Additional "Episode 51" Killer is Dead will be hitting stores for both PS3 and 360 on August 27th.
  2. Marcus Estrada

    E3 2013: Hands-On With Killer is Dead

    Suda 51 is a name that became known in the West primarily after the release of the stylish and gory Killer7 on GameCube and PS2. The cel-shaded graphics were used to great effect in the geopolitical thriller and made an impression on many, including myself. Ever since then, I“ve been happy to play other Grasshopper Manufacture games but have never felt the way I did as with that first foray into Suda-ness. Killer is Dead doesn“t bring back that old feeling, but it seems far more like his older style than other, more recent diversions, such as the No More Heroes series. In the game, you play as Mondo Zappa, an assassin, who spends most of the game slicing things up. Despite his handsome appearance, he also seems to be rather hit or miss with wooing women. The demo I played was specifically tailored to give a good taste of one chapter in Killer is Dead. Starting off on the level, I am immediately surrounded by enemies and must kill them all with my katana. This works very smoothly and there didn“t seem to be any issue with simple button mashing. Of course, you can also dodge which I found very useful as well. Enemies seem to always make you aware of their incoming strikes, making it easy to duck away at the last moment. I was also able to harness some special abilities which took the form of Zappa either performing extra gory kills or professional wrestling moves. Yes, Suda“s love for suited men and wrestling moves are still present. Fights as a whole were very frantic and at times were hard to comprehend. This has often been the case with his more recent work though, where blood and gore complicate the visuals beyond recognition. Of course, even when they're impossible to discern, the graphics are still incredibly stylish. A slight bit of the story was shown as well, which focused around some sort of monstrosity that murdered a young woman for her “perfect” ears. This seems like a very Suda style storytelling device and one which many Western players appeared confounded by. It“s definitely weird, of course, and the rest of the story is probably far stranger. Of course, without context we can only speculate as to how odd it is. After that, I fought a boss who was pretty easy enough to take down without fear of death. My experience on PS3 was just fine, but the 360 dev kit situated next to me was not. People who played that version were forced to deal with color bars on the screen, crashes, and moments where the game would simply not restart. I“m not sure why the 360 version is in such a poor state right now, but owners of both systems may be wary about where they purchase in case all these problems aren“t cleared up before release. Playing Killer is Dead was fun, even if it tired my hands out from the copious swordplay required. This is a good thing, though, considering the recent Lollipop Chainsaw almost felt like a step backward in regards to modern, speedy attack controls. Judging from the story showcased, it“s safe to say that Killer is Dead will satisfy a specific audience when it launches this August.
  3. Jason Clement

    XSEED Announces Their 2013 Lineup

    We had known of a few of the games XSEED planned to release in 2013 prior to today (most notably the recently released Corpse Party: Book of Shadows and the recently announced Pandora's Tower for Wii), but today the company revealed its hand as far as what they're publishing throughout the year. “This will be an amazing year for us,” said Ken Berry, Executive Vice President of XSEED Games. “Our portfolio continues to expand and it“s evident by this stellar lineup of titles, so we“re excited to share more details and hear what our fans are most looking forward to playing in the coming year.” The lineup includes Killer is Dead (the details of which you can read about here) and the following games- Rune Factory 4 (3DS, Summer 2013) Being the first Rune Factory game to release on the 3DS, Rune Factory 4 adds new romance options, the ability to select a male or female character at the beginning, and many crafting, cooking, and farming opportunities. The player is a prince or princess that can manage a village and do other series staples such as explore the countryside and tame wild monsters. Valhalla Knights 3 (PS Vita, Fall 2013) This will actually be the fourth title in the Valhalla Knights series published by XSEED despite the fact that it's the third numbered game. The game will feature a robust character creation system, seven-on-seven party-based combat, seven different races, and 20 different job classes to choose from with 2 sub-jobs as well. YS: Memories of Celceta (PS Vita, Fall 2013) Memories of Celceta is not only described as an extensive remake of YS IV, but it's also considered a pseudo-sequel as well. Features include more enemies on the screen, the largest non-linear world in the YS universe yet, and an evolution of the fast-paced gameplay that the series has set the standard in. The story sees long-time protagonist Adol Christin in a distant land, unable to remember how or why he got there as he sets out to piece things together while struggling to figure out who he can trust. YS I & II Chronicles+ (Windows PC, Steam, February 2013) PSP owners already got to experience YS 1 & 2, but this enhanced remake of the first two games will be coming to Windows PC (Steam) for the first time. Are you looking forward to any of XSEED's newly announced games?
  4. We might be seeing some news soon regarding Killer is Dead's North American localization. For now, though, we just have some registered web domains to go off of. Sometime last week, publisher XSEED registered three domains that sound like they're related to the Suda51/Grashopper Manufacture game: killerisdead-game.com, killandlove.com, and loveandkill.com. XSEED nabbed the publishing rights to Pandora's Tower recently and also brought us The Last Story. They've come up a bit from publishing just niche games! The publishing company has simply replied with “Xseed Games cannot confirm that they are publishing Killer is Dead in North America.†so far. What do you think about XSEED publishing Killer is Dead in North America?
  5. Note: This discussion may include spoilers for some of Suda51's previous games, including Killer7; Flower, Sun and Rain; Moonlight Syndrome; The Silver Case; and No More Heroes. Goichi Suda, often called Suda51, is a man who has been working on video games since 1993. He started out under the company Human Entertainment and remained there until they disassembled. At that point, he created his own company which we all know today as Grasshopper Manufacture, and with some of his old colleagues, they continued to create strange games. Over the years, his work has become more accepted by Western gamers, but we have unfortunately missed out on a handful of titles. With certain games missing from our libraries, it is hard to get a full grasp as to what Suda was doing with his directorial positions for earlier games. Current fans probably have played Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned, and even Lollipop Chainsaw, but these titles do not all follow the old lineage that he initially crafted during his tenure at Human. It was there where he began to create titles under what is known as the “Kill the Past” timeline. Unfortunately, most of the games U.S. fans have played are not part of that narrative, but it looks like his new upcoming game Killer is Dead may be returning to it. We only have so much knowledge about the game right now, but it definitely seems closer to that narrative theme than any other Grasshopper game lately. So what exactly is Kill the Past? Basically, it is the idea that in order for one to move forward, they must first accept (or “kill”) their past. If one dwells on their past traumas, they will never be able to move forward in life. This theme ran through many of his older works prominently, but has dropped off quite a bit since. Of course, Suda“s work has continued to flourish, but via very different themes. The games most often defined as fitting into the Kill the Past timeline are Moonlight Syndrome, Flower, Sun, and Rain (FSR), The Silver Case, and Killer7. Of these, two titles, FSR and Killer7, have reached American shores. The Silver Case was previously stated as coming to DSes worldwide, but that has yet to happen. Moonlight Syndrome itself is a spin off of the Twilight Syndrome series, but is not usually included as part of the informal trilogy. Killer7 is not technically part of the trilogy either according to statements Suda made before its release, but has been informally added in by some. This may all seem confusing, and that“s because it is. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with a Suda51 game will probably find it confusing enough by itself. Trying to condense each game and see how they connect is hard when oftentimes the stories themselves are obscured. Regardless, it has been officially discussed in Japanese interviews that the Kill the Past theme is meant to be present in these titles. So, let“s go about explaining them a little and why it seems like Killer is Dead is about to be the next part. Moonlight Syndrome is a spin-off of the Twilight Syndrome games. The story focuses on high school students who investigate a strange series of events. The events basically boil down to the “Twilight/Moonlight Syndrome,” which causes certain people to go insane during a full moon. In effect, the point was that the phases of the moon would reflect a character“s current mental state. Although it was a side-story, it ended up being the jumping-off point for The Silver Case. The Silver Case launches into its narrative continuing, in a sense, from where Moonlight Syndrome leaves off. Although the story isn“t a directly connected continuation, it is in the same universe. What happened in that game was a small incident and The Silver Case gives a larger view of what else was happening around the time. The “Silver Case Murders” occurred 20 years before the start of the game, and once you“re in, you are tasked with finding the killer. The past in this case is fairly obvious, and the moon still plays a role. It is at the very start of the game that a full moon distracts the lead character, which is rife with symbolism that had been built up from the preceding game. From there, we reach the last game of the traditional Kill the Past trilogy. Flower, Sun, and Rain focuses on the character Mondo, who is brought to a resort island to discover and diffuse a bomb. However, instead of simply tackling this and leaving, he continuously is unable to stop the terrorist attacks, but it never seems to affect anything. Each day, the day is “reset” and he is forced to try and find a way out of the pattern. It has since been stated that the Lostpass resort is nothing more than a dream, and one which Mondo must overcome to continue on with his life. Again, this brings us back to the cycle Suda seems so keen on. It also contains the moon expressing information, as the character is at one point told that he can break the cycle when there is a crescent moon. With that, we should be at the end of Kill the Past. However, since the release of Killer7, things have become more complex. The worlds in which the previous games inhabited versus this one are different. Still, it fits in with the overarching theme once you complete the title. Killer7“s group of Smiths are who the entire game is played through. As it turns out though, it is much like FSR in regards to obscuring reality. The Smith Syndicate are all dead and it is the character Emir who has been visualizing their existence. This revelation only comes to pass in the ending, which seems like the ultimate “kill” for his past. Full moons and only that phase of moon are shown throughout the game, pulsing and colored. Killer7 is a part of Kill the Past when the world is in a constant state of insanity. From there, Kill the Past has not been taken up much since. Facets of it have appeared in No More Heroes, but more as inside-jokes. For example, it is speculated that the man at the end of No More Heroes is Emir, but beyond that, the games seem entirely separate. What seems to most connect the previous games together is their overarching ideals, characters, worlds, and themes. Insanity as reflected by the moon is constant, as is a lack of sense for what is real. Then there is also a concept of love, although love which is expressed through determination, obsession, and loyalty instead of a typical romantic love. Why does it appear that Killer is Dead fits in with these titles as opposed to a new, entirely separate title? One of the first things that was ever mentioned about the game was the keyword “moon”. It“s obvious Suda has a special interest in the moon, but by making that one of the few things you state about the game seems like it will be a very important aspect. Since then, we have seen screenshots which also have the moon as prevalent in some. Time will tell if the moon is an indicator for sanity/insanity or something else entirely. The next big component of the game which was mentioned before is love. Although it is uncertain how love will manifest itself in this game, it would be great to see it in another unexpected light. This hallmark of Kill the Past may very well still run through this game if the “love” ends up being atypical, less so if the lead character is protecting a loved one. Either way, it is interesting that two massive themes of the series have been brought up to describe his new game (if it is all coincidental). Then there are the little things. For one, the new character is named Mondo Zappa. Mondo was of course the name of FSR“s protagonist. Of course, Suda is no stranger to reusing names. For example, the ghost character Travis in Killer7 had his name recycled for Travis Touchdown of No More Heroes. Further confusing things is the fact that, back around 2005, Suda penned a short story titled Killer7: Killer is Dead which focused on Dan Smith. It is certainly interesting to see that he is bringing back the name for his latest project, regardless of the purpose. Some have said the character even looks like Dan Smith, but that takes speculation a bit too far. When Suda left Human Entertainment, he kept the components of Kill the Past close. As is evidenced by his later games, he still had a strong interest in presenting these types of stories. With his more recent efforts such as No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw (itself written by James Gunn), he seems to have instead turned to focus on pure killing. That“s not to say anything is wrong with his more modern efforts, just that they no longer appeared to reflect on the mantra he had previously established in many of his titles. If Killer is Dead hearkens back to that sort of storytelling, then it may be the first time many fans get a taste of the way Suda used to be.