It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but eccentric No More Heroes creator Goichi “Suda51” Suda has already put some thought into what a potential No More Heroes 4 might look like ahead of the third entry’s release next week. Sadly, the future of the franchise isn’t entirely in his hands, even as CEO of No More Heroes developer Grasshopper Manufacture.
Suda recently sat down with the folks at GameXplain to discuss No More Heroes 3, which arrives on the Switch next Friday, August 27. It’s been over 11 years since the last numbered entry in the over-the-top hack-and-slash series, the impending revival of which is thanks in part to the success of 2019 spin-off Travis Strikes Again. But Suda doesn’t see the new game as a clear-cut ending to hero Travis Touchdown’s story.
“If I were to make No More Heroes 4, it would probably be in about 10 years or so, both in real life and in the game’s time,” Suda explained. “A lot of Travis’ story reflects that of Rocky Balboa. In No More Heroes 4, Travis would go up against a super hardcore enemy [from] up north who is basically the No More Heroes version of Drago from Rocky IV.”
Of course, some major caveats may impede the series’ future. Apart from No More Heroes 4 being a mere hypothetical in Suda’s mind, there’s also the fact that Grasshopper Manufacture doesn’t own the property outright. Marvellous Inc., which has acted as the series’ Japanese publisher since No More Heroes first appeared on the Wii in the late aughts, owns 90% of the franchise, meaning any future games need to be approved by a completely different company.
Suda also mentions having considered projects for No More Heroes side character Shinobu Jacobs, potentially even casting her as the lead in her very own spin-off, but the IP situation has kept anything from coming to fruition.
While it’s obviously pretty crappy that Grasshopper Manufacture can’t do whatever it wants with its flagship franchise, it also doesn’t come as much of a shock. Grasshopper-developed games have never been revenue powerhouses, so the studio’s ability to work on new projects (especially a decade ago) was often predicated on securing publishing deals with larger entities like Marvellous and Ubisoft.
And as we’ve seen elsewhere, those deals can often be unfavourable to developers and, sometimes, downright predatory.
Whatever the future of No More Heroes might be, Suda’s in no rush to figure it out.
“I feel sort of relaxed now that [No More Heroes 3] is mostly finished,” he said. “I’m able to take a rest and Travis is also able to take a rest. The team and I feel that the dude’s tired, spending the past five years in two different games. Which is why we probably wouldn’t give him another game for at least 10 years, assuming Grasshopper would make it. That’s why we have new IPs we’re going to start working on soon. It feels like a milestone that we can put Travis to rest and start something new.”