“If TSA is a success, it will lead directly to No More Heroes 3”

With the crazed antics of Travis Touchdwon returning next year in Travis Strikes Again for the Switch, we were lucky enough to pick creator Suda51’s mind on the game. He told us about the development of the game, what you can expect to see in Travis Strikes Again, and what the game means for the rest of the No More Heroes series.

John: It’s been about eight years since the last No More Heroes game so in that time were you always planning to return to the series or was it a case of opportunity?

Suda (translated): So after making No More Heroes 2, I wanted to work on some new IPs for a little bit. But the fans were, y’know, contacting him saying, y’know “where’s the next instalment?” And when the Wii U came out, people were like ‘Where’s the new No More Hereos?’ And it was always constantly popular. I would go to shows and see people cosplaying as Travis, Bad Girl, and Sylvia, characters from the series. And so, y’know, I was always just waiting for that right moment. And so, when I saw the Switch I thought okay, with this hardware, this is good timing to bring it back.

travis strikes again interview eating

John: That leads nicely on to my next question. Travis as a hero has always been a bit over the top, and then No More Heroes as a series has always played with conventions. So, with the Switch offering a hybrid between handheld and console, was it a fitting way for the series to return? And has the development for the Switch posed any problems?

Suda: One of the hardware things about the Switch that really stood out is the Joy-Con, both of them, how you can take them off and play with them like that, it’s just very Nintendo-esque as is the hardware as a whole. When the Switch was officially announced and before the release, I really wanted to bring some sort of iteration of No More Heroes to it. So, this instalment is not a numbered title, it’s sort of like a spin-off. So this time it’s sort of like a combination of the indie movement plus Grasshopper’s current size, plus the way the Switch is all together. Nintendo has been giving a lot of great support for indies, and Grasshopper currently their size is sort of like an indie-sized team, so with this game they wanted to approach it from an indie standpoint: small budget, small team, and that’s just been a perfect fit for how Nintendo and the Switch has turned out to be.

travis strikes again interview combat

John: It’s interesting that you say that this iteration is more of a spin-off. This time around it’s a series of mini-games rather than linear playthrough; we know there’s going to be a racing game, a puzzle game, and I think there’s been mention of an adventure game so, can you tell us a little bit more about how Travis Strikes Again will play out?

Suda: There’s also going to be a side-scrolling action game, and there will also be a little shooting game – just a little bit, just a little one.

So, [Travis Strikes Again] is based on this game console that came out in the 90s called the Death Drive Mark II, so the games on the console are going to be based on what was popular in the 90s. It’s gonna have a really retro game atmosphere to everything and we’ve done a lot of detailed tuning where we’ve tried to figure out is [one feature] going to make the game too hard for gamers these days or should we leave it that way because it’s true to the roots of where it’s coming from. So, there’s been a lot of work going back and forth on that because we really do want to make sure that as many people as possible can play it.

travis strikes again interview minigame

John: So, you also mentioned the ‘little shooting game’ in there. It’s something we saw in a really early trailer and people thought that was a reference to Hotline Miami or that we might see a crossover in Travis Strikes Again. I’m not sure if that’s true, but are we going to see a lot of allusions to those types of games?

Suda: There’ll be various situations where you can definitely get excited that there will be similar inspirations such as what you saw with Hotline Miami in there. There will be also a special collaboration specifically with Hotline Miami in the game. It’ll be a small one but you can definitely expect to see it.

[At this point, Suda shows off his T-Shirt which shows Travis in a Hotline Miami design – it was very cool.]

travis strikes again interview adventure game

John: You’ve said that TSA is a reaction to the restructured look of Grasshopper, and the new budget that goes with that, is it a bit of a gamble moving away from the strict combat that brought so many fans into the series? Are you a bit wary of how these new games will play out or do you think it’ll be a nice change of pace for the next installment?

Suda: As you know it’s not a numbered instalment in the No More Heroes series, so we wanted to really challenge ourselves to create something brand new. We feel like, if it’s another instalment for the No More Heroes series it should be some sort of evolution of that set battle style. But here [in Travis Strikes Again] we wanted to take Travis on a whole new adventure which is why we gave it a whole title, it’s going to be a whole new story. So, hopefully, people will be able to get excited about that.

travis strikes again interview special moves

John: So, it’s not going to follow on from No More Heroes 2, it’s going to be a whole new story in itself?

Suda: The timeline will continue, it will be connected. It’ll take place eight years after the events of No More Heroes 2. And if TSA is a success, it will lead directly to No More Heroes 3, which I’ve already imagined pretty much the outline for that game. It’s going to lead Travis on this crazy battle, unlike anything he’s seen before. So, actually, the events of this game, where Travis goes inside these games and acquires new powers will connect directly with how he grows and evolves in the next adventure.

travis strikes again interview save system

John: Very last question, which mini-game are you most excited about?

Suda: All the games in there will be inspired by that very 90s sensibility, so in that regard they will be pretty challenging – as they were in that era. The racing game in particular, it’s not just a typical racing game that you would expect. It’s inspired by a very specific game that I grew up with and really love. I’m not sure how people from this era are going to take to it but I really hope they like it and enjoy it as much as I did.

John: Which game was that?

Suda: [Checks if he’s allowed to say it and apparently is] There’s a type of racing game in Japan called Zero-Four and people who aren’t accustomed to it will probably just going to be like ‘what the heck is this?’ not even able to like, understand. But hopefully, is they get used to it, they’ll be able to appreciate the unique style of it.

Travis Strikes Again arrives for the Switch on January 18, 2019. Are you looking forward to the change in gameplay? Let us know in the comments below!