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'Indie' treatment by publishers reason for low sales of Grasshopper titles, says Suda 51

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Publishers' approach to Grasshopper Manufacture titles like Lollipop Chainsaw and No More Heroes may have resulted in the titles' low sales figures, according to studio head Goichi "Suda 51" Suda.

Speaking with GamesIndustry.biz, Suda said Grasshopper does have "a very strong base," but the decision to market them as an "indie" company may have hurt the games' performance at retail.

"It's just that because we were so indie, publishers were always [treating us] differently," he said. "Each publisher operates a different way, has different strategic ideas, so in terms of sales, what they did, was they kept creating what they thought was good," he added. "But in terms of publishing, it was a different company's strategic choice. So we believe that back then, when we were completely indie without a group company to be together with, we weren't able to translate our creative directly into sales because that was the part where there was always a wall between creative and sales transition wise."

Grasshopper's acquisition by GungHo Entertainment in January will help ensure the same kind of approach is not repeated with future titles, said Suda. At the time of the acquisition, Suda said the decision to join GungHo was so Grasshopper could be an in-house developer and cultivate a publishing relationship that would help the studio grow creatively. Now Grasshopper can create a marketing strategy they believe is best suited to their games, he said.

"Now that we're one big group together and we'll be publishing our own titles as Grasshopper, we believe that the creative side and the sales side will have a better connection," he said. "So we definitely believe that it will transfer to good sales because we will be able to choose our own strategy."

Grasshopper's next title, Killer is Dead, is slated to launch this summer.