Chinese publishers NetEase have bought Grasshopper Manufacture, the Japanese studio behind stylish, swaggering games including No More Heroes, The Silver Case, and Killer7. While NetEase have roots in mobile games, they have been investing in fancier things. Grasshopper say that with NetEase's cash, they plan to release "three even higher-quality 'Grasshopper Manufacture Games'" over the next decade.
Grasshopper formed in 1998, then were bought by Japanese publishers GungHo Online Entertainment in 2013. Now they're owned by NetEase.
"NetEase Games understands the strengths of Grasshopper Manufacture Inc. and is willing to support us, and is an extremely reliable partner," Grasshopper founder and CEO Goichi Suda (aka Suda51) said in Friday's announcement.
"NetEase Games will be mainly responsible for advising on our business planning activities and providing sufficient funding for game development. 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. In addition, we will also receive strong support from the NetEase team composed of thousands of artists and technical experts in terms of game art and quality assurance. 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."
The Chinese company were best known for developing mobile games like Diablo Immortal as well as handling local publishing duties for games including Minecraft and Overwatch. They have taken steps into a new direction in recent years, including publishing melee battle royale Naraka: Bladepoint and investing in Quantic Dream. It's also rumoured that they've courted longtime Yakuza director Toshihiro Nagoshi to set up a new team (following that rumour, he did leave Sega, though his next steps are yet unknown).
I have a soft spot for Grasshopper and their rude 'tude. They're fully into absurd excess, brash dickheads, gore, cussing, and plots which are both ludicrous and treated completely seriously. Sometimes less fun to play than they are to think about, sadly. But man, Killer7 still looks gorgeous, and I'm still impressed that it parlays mega-edginess into coolness. You need a lot of confidence and commitment to pull that off.
Third-person stabber No More Heroes came to PC this year, yonks after its Wii debut, along with its sequel. Our Ed's No More Heroes review liked the vibes but found it samey—and not the same without Wii motion control gestures like furious wanking to recharge Travis's lightsaber. I'd still like to see a PC release for No More Heroes 3, which hit Switch in August with a tale of aliens who try to take over the Earth by riding pop culture's superhero craze.