After months of silence, Suda51’s online action game Let it Die suddenly re-emerged with a playable build for PAX East. Siliconera caught up with Goichi Suda, CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture, and Shuji Ishikawa, Producer at Grasshopper Manufacture, on the show floor to talk about turning players into enemies, eating frogs for health, and the other unique aspects the longtime creator wanted to bring to this new action game.
You have been awfully quiet about Let it Die for a long time. Is it just ready to show now?
Goichi Suda: Yes! Now we’re ready to show something because we’re getting close to putting it out there.
Do you have a release date yet?
Suda: Well, we’re going to talk to you a little more, but so far the most we can say is ‘this year.’
All right, so in Let it Die, I start in my underwear?
Suda: This is definitely how it’s going to start. In the future, that’s how everyone starts off. If you ever talk to anyone about Let it Die, it’s about being in your underwear.
Suda: Yes, you do.
What’s the story here? Why was I dumped in an abandoned amusement park in my underwear?
Suda: What you’re playing right now is just a small portion of the game itself, so it’s a little hard to understand what’s going on, but if you play the full game when it comes out, you understand why you are here and why you’re dressed in your underwear. So, there’s more to find out once you play.
Who’s going to tell you what’s up is our guide right here, this cool Grim Reaper dude you saw earlier. He came up in the beginning. He’ll tell you what’s up when you play through the game.
What much different gear (weapons, items, etc) will there be in the game to pick up?
Suda: There’s A LOT. Even in this small portion of the game, there’s a lot to pick up. On the weapons side, there’s well over ten different items to pick up. The armor also varies there. So, there’s a lot you can do even in this small portion of the game. The full game will have way more for you to look forward to.
Over time, when we get closer to releasing, we’ll talk about exactly how many different things we have for you to pick up in the game. For now, just know that there’s a lot.
So, in this world, all living creatures you come across, you can eat them. That’s how you get your HP back.
So it’s good that I just killed that frog. I wasn’t just being a jerk.
Suda: No, you’re not being a jerk (laughs). Because it tastes like chicken. It’s delicious. Have you ever eaten frog before?
It hasn’t come up…
Suda: Then now you’ve eaten a frog!
Well, I’ve never been out in an amusement park in my underwear yet.
Suda: Well that makes total sense. So, maybe you’ll just have to some day when you go. You might get arrested, so be careful.
But at least I’ll know what frog tastes like.
I just picked up a blueprint. How can I put together a different weapon?
Suda: So, that’s just an entry right now, but you’ll definitely see how that’s going to take place in the real game when we have more information to share about that.
Is Let it Die still planned as Free-to-Play?
So what sort of in-game items can players buy to help support you guys?
Shuji Ishikawa, Video Game Producer at Grasshopper Manufacture, Inc: We can’t talk about too many details at the moment, of course, but, for one, you can know they can be used for continues. Another thing is that it’s gonna help to shorten the grind – the time it takes to do a lot of the things in the game. So, those are the basics on monetization.
So, there’s a grind. Is there an experience system?
Ishikawa: The experience points you get in the game is not something you can purchase. It’s something you actually have to play to get. But, to make your playthroughs a lot more efficient, it’s what monetization features are going to help with.
Are there more wrestling moves in the game like in No More Heroes?
Suda: Just a little. They are in there.
Music is usually a very big part of your games. What sort of music will be in Let it Die?
Suda: We have a lot we’re going to talk to you about in that respect very soon, so please stay tuned. But we REALLY want to tell you (laughs). We really want to tell you what’s going on. I think you’ll be surprised with what we have in store for you.
With Death riding on a skateboard on loading screens, will skateboards be featured at any point?
Suda: (laughs) Right now, no official plans, but HE rides skateboards, though.
When it comes out in North America, will it have English and Japanese voice acting?
Suda: Right now, there are no official plans to have English and Japanese voices together. For now, we can say it’s English-centered.
How will the multiplayer aspects work?
Suda: Everyone playing at the same time on the same level is not really what is going on. The multiplayer online is asychronous.
There was talk that, when you die, you become an enemy in the game. Is that still a big feature of Let it Die?
Suda: That feature is still in the game. The player enemy data that is from other players’ systems is quite a bit stronger than your average enemy. So, you’ll definitely see that when you play more.
Will that factor in things like my weapons, my level, and my behavior? How does that work?
Ishikawa: Well, first of all, we want to make sure the game is really balanced. We’re not going to start off really low and you’re going to fight someone that’s really high. We’re going to try to make sure that is in check to prevent things like that from happening. Of course, balance is very important and we don’t want to turn players off that way. You can be sure things will be balanced out that way.
It takes into consideration what you’re doing and how your equipment is done, and based off of that, there’s various ways in how your character with AI. So, all of these things are taken into consideration based on what you do have on at the time and when your data is being processed.
Suda: So, of course, there’s a certain thing on how this is all taken care of in the game, but after you reach a certain point, certain SOMETHING will then determine how your data is then crafted. There are a lot of things to be taken into consideration.
There are a lot of things I would like to talk about that we have to keep secret at the moment, but you can think about how other players will be interacting or how rivalries may be started. But you’ll see in the future – the days to come.
Will the player data enemy have my player name along with it?
Where did the idea of using players as enemies come from?
Suda: From, actually, the very early stages of development, when they thought of all the kinds of equipment you can have, you can make so many different combinations. There’s millions of different combinations you can have with all of the different equipment. We thought this is something we really want to be able to utilize and show that everyone is different, and I guess it is something from the very beginning that we thought we should do and have been continuing to do and you can see it here in this game.
Ishikawa: And, or course, along with that idea was that, based on all of these different kinds of combinations, every user is going to have a different playthrough experience.
After Grasshopper was taken on by Gung Ho, did Morishita-san (CEO of Gung Ho) have some advice on how to develop Let it Die?
Suda: So, one of the greatest things that we’re able to do with this whole game in general is, with Gung Ho Online Entertainment, we see in their name, is that they have online. They’re strong with online aspects.
All the early Grasshopper titles, previously, there weren’t any games that had online capability. So, it’s one thing we always wanted to do to have a game with online capabilities, and with this partnership we are able to do so. This is something that has helped us make something we always wanted to and take the first step in a direction we really wanted to. It’s a really great opportunity.
One final question: Believe in the Internet. What is that?
Suda: That’s a secret project from Grasshoppper. So stay tuned! You’ll see what happens!