Grasshopper Manufacture boss Goichi "Suda51" Suda sold his studio to publisher GungHo Online Entertainment because he wants the studio to be an in-house developer, according to an interview with 4Gamer (in Japanese).
GungHo announced earlier this week that it bought Grasshopper, the developer behind games like Lollipop Chainsaw, No More Heroes and the upcoming Killer Is Dead. Both Grasshopper and GungHo confirmed yesterday that all projects that are currently in development will continue as usual and will not be affected by the studio acquisition.
When asked why he chose to sell the studio, Suda said that up until now Grasshopper Manufacture has mostly worked with big clients and many of the difficulties it has encountered has resulted from its role as an "outsourced developer." He said the studio has been "looking for a better way for a while now." When asked whether he meant that the studio was at the mercy of publishers and was unable to be 100 percent creatively free, Suda said it wasn't "the main thing" and, with Lollipop Chainsaw in particular, the publisher made "a lot of good efforts" that helped the game be successful. However, he believes that in order for the studio to grow creatively or otherwise, a different kind of relationship is needed.
"In order to keep on fighting seriously, I figure we should be living together as a family, eating food out of the same pot," he said.
GungHo Online Entertainment is best known for its work on the Ragnarok series. Suda said in a statement yesterday that "by joining GungHo Online Entertainment, we are aligning ourselves with a strong, established publishing force that will support our vision to further create inspired new games that appeal to players across the world."