Japanese Publisher GungHo Acquires Killer is Dead Developer

Illustration for article titled Japanese Publisher GungHo Acquires emKiller is Dead/em Developer

Japanese publisher GungHo has recently nabbed Suda51's Grasshopper Manufacture, known for games such as Killer7, No More Heroes and Lollipop Chainsaw, welcoming it as the fourth in their already impressive lineup of developers that includes, among others, GRAVITY Co. of Ragnarok Online fame. From the press release:

TOKYO, JAPAN (January 30, 2013) – GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc. (GOE) today announced it has acquired game development studio GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC., founded and led by legendary designer Goichi Suda (SUDA51). SUDA51 and his team join GOE and will continue to work as GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE, similar to the relationship GOE has with its other leading development studios including GRAVITY, Game Arts, and Acquire. Titles already in development at the studio before the acquisition will not be affected by the deal and will continue under their current publishing terms.

GungHo Online Entertainment is an established Japanese publisher of networked multiplatform titles including mobile, and is best noted for its wildly popular Ragnarok Online series as well as the blockbuster iOS/Android game, Puzzle & Dragons, which has seen over 7 million downloads. Since its formation, the company's vision has been to work closely with its content partners to build, grow, and sustain interactive entertainment properties with a strong online component across PC, browser, mobile, console, and handheld platforms. Its lineup includes MMORPGs such as Ragnarok Online as well as a wide range of console and handheld games including Ragnarok DS, Ragnarok Odyssey and Dokuro. GRASSHOPPER becomes the fourth prominent studio to become part of GOE's fold, joining Ragnarok developer GRAVITY, Lunar and Grandia creator Game Arts, and Tenchu developer Acquire. GOE titles are published and supported in North America by its US subsidiary, GungHo Online Entertainment America led by Jun Iwasaki.

"We believe the strength of a publisher lies in its creative talent so with the addition of GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE and SUDA51 we are adding some of the most innovative talent in today's gaming world to our stellar family of independently-operated studios," said Kazuki Morishita, President and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment. "SUDA51 projects are known to put a unique spin on every game so coupled with our proven ability to support development with AAA resources including a tailored online experience, we believe gamers will benefit from this collaboration."

Grasshopper Manufacture is currently working on Killer is Dead, a new title with loose ties to Killer7.

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I have mixed feelings about Suda's work. I admire his sense of style, but I don't enjoy the gameplay side of them.