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Cult, camp zombie game Lollipop Chainsaw is getting a remake

Suda 51’s grindhouse game will return in 2023, but will its tone pass muster?

A young cheerleader wields a chainsaw in Lollipop Chainsaw Image: Kadokawa Games/Warner Bros.
Oli Welsh is senior editor, U.K., providing news, analysis, and criticism of film, TV, and games. He has been covering the business & culture of video games for two decades.

Lollipop Chainsaw, the cult 2012 game about a cheerleader battling zombies while her boyfriend’s disembodied head dangles from her waist, is being remade. The remake is due out in 2023, but no platforms were confirmed.

Producer Yoshimi Yasuda shared the news on Twitter. Yasuda said that he had bought back the rights from the game’s original Japanese publisher, Kadokawa Games, and that the “original development staff” were working on the remake. He also said that the game’s Western publisher Warner Bros. was supportive of the project. But his message did not mention the original development studio Grasshopper Manufacture or its founder, and the game’s co-director, Goichi Suda, known as Suda 51.

“Various factors resulted in things making it so that fans can no longer easily play Lollipop Chainsaw, and it has been some time since players have not been able to access the game on current consoles,” Yasuda said. “We, the original development staff ... think of the game as very precious to us, and did not want to leave it in limbo.”

Yasuda noted that the game will have to be changed for its remake — particularly the 15 licensed songs on the soundtrack, which will largely be replaced. There will also be a “more realistic approach” to the game’s graphics. This might be controversial, as the original’s semi-cel-shaded look was part of its trashy charm.

The development team might also find that tastes have moved on since 2012. Though always tongue-in-cheek, Lollipop Chainsaw — which was co-written by James Gunn, no less, between the releases of his films Super and Guardians of the Galaxy — had a leering attitude to its scantily-clad heroine that might not pass muster today. Polygon’s original review noted “rampant tonal problems and aggressive undercurrents of misogyny” that will be sure to draw renewed attention in the remake when it arrives next year.

Update (July 6): Goichi Suda and James Gunn have both clarified that they are not working on the remake of Lollipop Chainsaw.

“Neither I nor Suda 51 are currently involved in this,” Gunn tweeted. “I heard about it for the first time from Suda a couple weeks ago. I neither endorse nor condemn it! I simply don’t know anything about it. But as articles are starting to slap our names on there, I think it’s important to make clear no one ever approached us about it.”

Suda followed up: “To add my two cents, like James Gunn says, neither he nor I am involved in this project at all, and Grasshopper Manufacture has nothing to do with development or anything.”

Yasuda’s original announcement of the remake sought to minimize Suda’s contribution to the game beyond the initial pitch.

“As Suda-san was very busy handling development on other projects at the time, I served as director and producer, creating a joint development team consisting of staff from Grasshopper Manufacture and Kadokawa Games, overseeing development directly,” Yasuda said. “Suda-san looked over the game design and supervised the project as an executive producer.” The game’s credits list Suda as creative director and Yasuda as executive producer, however.

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