Grasshopper Manufacture Inc., the Japanese developer best-known for the No More Heroes series and CEO Goichi Suda's irreverently surreal style, has been acquired from its parent company GungHo Online Entertainment by Chinese technology giant NetEase. The studio has made over 25 games in its 23 years, most directed by Suda, also known as Suda-51. As well as No More Heroes, notable titles include killer7, Shadows of the Damned, Lollipop Chainsaw, and the classic Michigan: Report from Hell.
"Grasshopper Manufacture has just celebrated its 23rd anniversary in March this year," writes Suda. "For the past 23 years, our team of creators with various backgrounds and personalities have presented a variety of games to gamers. We are now given a unique opportunity to rethink the game development and organization structure of Grasshopper Manufacture Inc. moving forward. While understanding our own advantages and unique position, we were presented with new possibilities in game creation."
The CEO goes out of his way to emphasise that this is not going to impact the particular style of games Grasshopper is known for. "NetEase Games will be mainly responsible for advising on our business planning activities and providing sufficient funding for game development," writes Suda. "We will be responsible for the creativity and production of games to ensure that we are able to continue to maintain the consistent 'Grasshopper Manufacture flavor' and game quality for which we are known."
The statement also puts a timeline on the first decade: "We will make the most of this support and strive to offer three even higher-quality 'Grasshopper Manufacture Games' to all gamers in the next ten years." Finally it ends with a typically Suda line: "Grasshopper Manufacture Inc., moving towards the brand-new future of game development, is now reborn and will continue to create history. Stay tuned."
For its part, NetEase is very pleased. "Grasshopper Manufacture Inc. is one of a kind in terms of mood setting, movement design, and narrative rhythm design. Their strong passion for creativity, which has continued for decades, is extremely admirable. NetEase is honored to be the companion of Mr. Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture Inc. on this new journey into the future. We hope to give the studio creative freedom and sufficient resource support in order to empower said studio to create even more sensational works for gamers worldwide."