Last week came news that Grasshopper Manufacture, the developer known for housing the batshit insane Suda 51, was bought up by GungHo Entertainment. GungHo is known for hosting the servers for Ragnarok Online and acquiring Gravity Co. Ltd., the developers of the game. GungHo also hosted the servers for MMORPG Shin Megami Tensei Imagine (which is now run by Atlus Online). Given the track record of this company, it seems like a strange choice for them to acquire Grasshopper Manufacture since GM has no experience with online games. However GungHo has faith in this new venture, stating in a press release, “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.” The press release also touts GungHo’s access to AAA resources that Grasshopper can use in its development of future titles.
The other news regarding this acquisition is the announcement of Killer Is Dead‘s U.S. release. Grasshopper’s latest game will be published by rising niche publisher and fan favorite XSEED. Interestingly, GungHo already has a U.S. publishing branch with GungHo Online Entertainment America, and is run by XSEED’s former president, Jun Iwasaki. XSEED themselves have published several GungHo games, so it seems like these two publishers have a good relationship going. So why bother with a U.S. publishing branch for GungHo?
Well, it all has to do with timing. Killer Is Dead was in development, announced, and finalized a U.S. publisher before GungHo acquired Grasshopper. XSEED tells MTV Multiplayer that “Suda and his team will see through the development of all titles signed to publishers prior to GungHo Online Entertainment’s acquisition of Grasshopper Manufacture.” So it seems like things will move accordingly not get tangled in some legal knot. Afterwards, GungHo America might take over all U.S. publishing duties for Grasshopper.
This could probably be a good thing for Grasshopper as their games have touched many publishers’ hands in the U.S., making things somewhat of a legal nightmare for possible sequel or crossover ventures. Ubisoft has No More Heroes, WB Games has Lollipop Chainsaw, EA has Shadows of the Damned, and Atlus has Contact. While not all future Grasshopper games may not be published by GungHo America, it’s at least good to know that they now have a stable publisher they can rely on. They’ll still be allowed to collaborate with other companies if they so wish.
Killer Is Dead is set to release in Summer 2013.