Goichi “Suda51″ Suda (director of No More Heroes and Killer 7) has been used as sort-of a brand name for games a lot recently. With titles like No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Lollipop Chainsaw, Killer is Dead and Shadows of the Damned sporting his name in the directorial seat for marketing only for us to find out later, often close to release, that he did in fact not direct the game but had a smaller role on it.
Now, the upcoming game that was just announced for Europe, SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day (Just called Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day in North America) is another game proudly proclaiming to have the legendary Suda51 placed as its director. It’s right there in the press release:
(…)SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day, is directed by the famous Goichi Suda (Suda51) of Grasshopper Manufacture(…)
-Namco Bandai Games
Quite clear and direct. Namco Bandai were just as quick to mention that Suda 51 was the director on Twitter.
Sceptical of all of this due to the past marketing ploys of having his name put up front on things he didn’t direct, I decided to look further into the matter at hand myself to find out if Suda51 indeed was the director of the game. I was quickly linked by RPG Site‘s Ron Taylor to the official North American trailer for the game.
As you may have noticed it clearly states that the game is “developed by Crispy’s” and “produced by Suda51” at 0:55 in the trailer. No mention of a director. It doesn’t help that the only credit found to Suda51 outside of marketing material seems to be scenario writer. Now, scenario writer is indeed a big title, but it’s not a director. However, it turned out the answer was found earlier this year.
In this feature on the game from Edge, it’s clearly stated that the director of SHORT PEACE is not Suda51, but in fact Crispy’s very own Yohei Kataoka. The director of Tokyo Jungle, another game by Crispy’s.
(…) a scenario by Grasshopper Manufacture’s Goichi “Suda 51” Suda, direction and design by Tokyo Jungle director Yohei Kataoka at Crispy’s, and a soundtrack by Silent Hill composer Akira Yamaoka.
I asked Namco Bandai, on Twitter, about this and their full response was that the information they had received about the game for their localization was that Suda51 was directing. If we assume that true, which we have no reason not to do at the moment, then it would seem that Suda51‘s name has yet been used to take credit for a position that he didn’t hold, which I find a bit misleading and unfair.
What do you think? Is it wrong for games like Killer is Dead, Lollipop Chainsaw and now SHORT PEACE to be marketing themselves on Suda51‘s name as a director? Is it unjust towards Yohei Kataoka? Because I think so myself and would hope Namco Bandai either corrects the misleading reports or that they somehow prove me wrong on my, admittedly small, bit of research.
SHORT PEACE: Ranko Tsukigime’s Longest Day, directed by Yohei Kataoka and produced by Suda51, is developed by Crispy’s and published by Namco Bandai Games. The title is releasing this Spring on PlayStation 3 in North America and Europe.
Update: The plot thickens. Suda51 has now appeared in a video from Namco Bandai Games announcing himself as the director as well as screenplay and scenario writer. Only to the seconds later mention Yohei Kataoka as the director.
This is honestly just getting more confusing. But I guess that what he’s trying to say is that he directed the animated cutscenes and sequences that are in the game, where as Yohei Kataoka served as the director of the game and the gameplay. Though that’s not stated here, that’s just speculating on his words.
If that is the case however, I still feel it’s wrong to simply sell it as a game directed by Suda51 if he’s not responsibly for the gameplay direction. But maybe that’s just me, I’m still confused about all of this.