Nobody can ever accuse video game director Goichi Suda “Suda 51” of slacking. Not even a month after his latest game, Killer is Dead, hit the market, he and his team at Grasshopper Manufacture are already hard at work on jumping aboard the next-gen train with its first PlayStation 4 game, Lily Bergamo. It is the first time the team will be working in collaboration with its new parent company, GungHo Online Entertainment.
This new game strays from Suda’s typical flare for color design and sticks to an art style a little more simplistic and traditional. A nameless female warrior with an entire torso wrapped in bandages does battle with a flaming beast in samurai armor. Only these bandages seem to do more than conceal her wounds as she quickly is able to ensnare her foe in their grasp and force him to do her bidding.
Playing in the background is a style of traditional Japanese music and awkward narration from somebody who obviously does not speak English as a first language, nor does he really seem to project his voice or act in any way. It must be the translator behind the stage. Themes of lower ranking rising to defeat those in the upper ranks will play a large part of this story.
Her facial animation is especially impressive, and it’s great to see that Japan won’t be caving into this photo-realism trend hitting Western markets. Anime style faces, and even just less realistic faces in general, have just as much as a place in this day and age as those who try to push the boundaries of the uncanny valley.
Suda 51 is one of Japan’s leading game developers at the moment, and in a country begging for inspiration and confidence in its own games, he needs to hep lead the charge.
The PlayStation 4 has done a decent job wrapping up some high quality Japanese exclusives in the past few months, and I expect to see more down the road from some of Japan’s best. Should it take a hold in its home country and give developers a chance to catch up in the world, maybe we could see a turnaround in the Japanese gaming market.