Several nights ago at some party here, I asked Grasshopper Manufacture president Goichi Suda if No More Heroes 2 was going to be announced at TGS. He said, "No", that he didn't know about NMH2, no, no, no. Told Suda he was lying, and he promised he was not — promised a beer that if he was lying. And low and behold, yesterday Marvelous Entertainment announced No More Heroes 2, and Suda brought a beer to our interview today. Suda was lying.
"What's with all the secrets? Making another No More Heroes game doesn't seem outrageous," I said. "It seems rather obvious." Grasshopper Manufacturer doing No More Heroes 2 should come as big of a shock as Grasshopper Manufacturer doing, says, No More Heroes 3.
"People would get angry at me," Suda said. "Marvelous would get angry at me." He's signed a contract, and most likely a big chunk of that contract included stipulation that he was not to discuss the game.
In film, some directors talk eons in advance, letting everyone know what type of project they're working on, thinking about or even writing. But film is not gaming and gaming is not film. The game industry is different. (Take, for example, the other day when we asked the Ninja Blade producer what the hero's name was, he turned to the Microsoft staffer asking if it was okay to answer. Who cares, really.)
"There are always secrets in the game industry," Suda said, "which is why there's so many rumors." He is right, but things should change. Why not announce that you're working on a new game? Why not say what the game is? Or what's it about? Is the one-two-punch of announcing the game and then showing screenshots or a trailer really the best way? Would it be better to release a trailer much closer to the actual sale date instead of years in advance?
People are waiting for those first images. So make them wait. And drawing that out them, instead of starting with them and literally showing them for years makes a lot more sense.
For the way it's done now, there is a logical progression Suda assured. "You don't simply watch a game," he said. "You have to actually play it, and it takes time to explain that. Players might feel cheated if they don't know exactly what they were getting. Play time is important." No one is disagreeing. It is important. Though, whether or not it's necessary to wait to even talk about a title until there is a batch of screens or a new trailer is another issue altogether. Announcing a new title is no big deal. Announcing what that new title does is.