In a surprise move, Grasshopper Manufacture was picked up by GungHo Online the owners of Ragnarok Online and Game Arts. Perhaps no one really saw this coming and no one really knows what it will mean for Suda and his crew. We wish them the best and hope they’re able to live a long and happy life. At least we know that Killer is Dead is still coming, so it’s not all bad.
From the press release:
GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc. (GOE) today announced it has acquired game development studio GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC., founded and led by legendary designer Goichi Suda (SUDA51). SUDA51 and his team join GOE and will continue to work as GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE, similar to the relationship GOE has with its other leading development studios including GRAVITY, Game Arts, and Acquire. Titles already in development at the studio before the acquisition will not be affected by the deal and will continue under their current publishing terms.
GungHo Online Entertainment is an established Japanese publisher of networked multiplatform titles including mobile, and is best noted for its wildly popular Ragnarok Online series as well as the blockbuster iOS/Android game, Puzzle & Dragons, which has seen over 7 million downloads. Since its formation, the company’s vision has been to work closely with its content partners to build, grow, and sustain interactive entertainment properties with a strong online component across PC, browser, mobile, console, and handheld platforms. Its lineup includes MMORPGs such as Ragnarok Online as well as a wide range of console and handheld games including Ragnarok DS, Ragnarok Odyssey and Dokuro. GRASSHOPPER becomes the fourth prominent studio to become part of GOE’s fold, joining Ragnarok developer GRAVITY, Lunar and Grandia creator Game Arts, and Tenchu developer Acquire. GOE titles are published and supported in North America by its US subsidiary, GungHo Online Entertainment America led by Jun Iwasaki.
“We believe the strength of a publisher lies in its creative talent so with the addition of GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE and SUDA51 we are adding some of the most innovative talent in today’s gaming world to our stellar family of independently-operated studios,” said Kazuki Morishita, President and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment. “SUDA51 projects are known to put a unique spin on every game so coupled with our proven ability to support development with AAA resources including a tailored online experience, we believe gamers will benefit from this collaboration.”
Founded by SUDA51, GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC. is well known for creating imaginative titles such as killer7, the No More Heroes series and most recently, Lollipop Chainsaw. The developer has released nearly 30 titles internationally and in Japan and has a devoted following among gamers. Under SUDA51’s leadership, the studio aspires to create games that challenge the norms with a spark of inspiration akin to the rebellious and artistic spirit of punk rock music.
“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 players across the world,” said GRASSHOPPER Founder and Managing Director, Goichi Suda. “The GRASSHOPPER team and I have many new ideas to share with our fans as we move forward so this union with GOE will help us realize our future plans.”
More information on upcoming GRASSHOPPER projects will be revealed in the coming months.