is an action video game
for the Wii
video game system. It was directed by Goichi Suda
(known in Japan by the nickname Suda51), developed by Grasshopper Manufacture
and published by Marvelous Interactive Inc.
and Rising Star Games
. The game was previously titled Heroes
The game is not a sequel to Suda51's earlier game, killer7, but an entirely original game running on a new engine. Though the two games have stylistic similarities, Suda51 has said that while killer7 focused on political issues, No More Heroes focuses on social ones.
In a March 15, 2008 interview with Computer and Video Games, Suda51 revealed he would be interested in producing No More Heroes 2 for the Wii.
On October 8, 2008 a sequel, to be called No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle, was revealed at TGS 2008. Being developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Marvelous Interactive Inc. in Japan. The sequel is being developed for the Wii and will be released in 2010.
Throughout the game, the player controls the character Travis Touchdown. The game has a free roaming
world, allowing Travis to move around on foot or on his motorcycle, the "Schpeltiger". Gameplay is open-ended, with the concession that the player must kill the top ten assassins in order to make the storyline progress. There are numerous part time job side quests to earn money which can be spent on weapons, training sessions, clothes and video tapes.
Control is handled through the Wii Remote and Nunchuk attachment, with the Remote controlling his weapon, the beam katana, and the Nunchuk moving Travis. Most attacks are performed using the "A" button, with certain other moves, including the "death blow" and sword lock struggles, executed by following on-screen instructions. Further, since the beam katanas run on batteries, they must be charged from time to time by pressing the "1" button on the remote and shaking it. The beam katana can also be upgraded and replaced throughout the game by visiting Dr. Naomi. While the katana does not follow the exact position of the remote, it is able to distinguish between a "high" and "low" position which varies the character stance and the attacks done. In addition to attacks with the beam katana Travis can kick and punch, and when enemies are stunned he can throw them with a number of professional wrestling maneuvers, done by manipulating both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk.
Travis has a secondary mode, "Dark Side", that is accessed when three icons line up in a slot machine after a successful death blow.
The story follows Travis Touchdown
, who is a stereotypical otaku
– his motel room decorated with professional wrestling
collectibles – living in near poverty in the No More Heroes motel of the fictional town of Santa Destroy, California. After winning a beam katana
in an internet auction, he runs out of money to buy video games and wrestling videos. After meeting with Sylvia Christel, he accepts a job to kill Helter Skelter, also known as "the Drifter," which earns him rank 11 by the United Assassins Association, a governing body of assassins. Realizing that he has the opportunity to make it to the top, he sets out to secure himself the coveted position of number one hitman in the UAA.
After killing the tenth ranked assassin, Sylvia reveals that if Travis stops killing, he'll eventually be targeted by other aspiring assassins. Travis, now convinced there's no way out, goes on to kill every other assassin bar number eight, whom he spares as he can't kill a woman. Along the way he meets Henry, a mysterious Irish man who wields a beam katana similar to Travis' own. He is later revealed to be both Sylvia's husband and Travis' brother.
After meeting the top-ranked assassin, Travis is told that the UAA was just an elaborate con set up by Sylvia, who overheard his drunken ramblings and organized his entry so that he could finally have his revenge on his step-sister, Jeane, who murdered his parents. She reveals in a sped-up cutscene that their father had sexually abused her all her life and forced her to become a prostitute in order to survive and become a killer. Travis is eventually saved by Shinobu, the assassin he spared earlier in the game, and kills Jeane.
The game ends with Travis being attacked by another assassin before Henry saves him, and challenges him to one last fight. Henry reveals that Sylvia was his wife, they have a daughter together, and she did make everything up, and has a habit of disappearing before returning with lots of money (presumably due to conning people). The two charge towards each other when the screen freezes with the two brothers about to kill each other, the picture becoming a painting in a gallery where Sylvia and her daughter Jeane are looking at it.
The Japanese version's instruction booklet, entitled the United Assassins Association Official Manual, contains a small manga which contained much of the backstory about the UAA and Travis' first kill. This manga was not included in the North American release of the game, but is available on the official website.
Above Travis in the UAA are ten other assassins. The person that provides ranks and sets up matches for the assassins is Sylvia Christel
, a "mysterious" and "cold" woman. Travis is aided by a weapons maker named Doctor Naomi, former pro-wrestler Thunder Ryu, and a drunk, Randall Lovikov. Naomi sells beam katanas and upgrades for them, Ryu operates a gym and trains Travis - allowing him to increase his strength, combos and health for a small fee - and Lovikov is a drunken old man who teaches new maneuvers and techniques.
No More Heroes
was initially planned as an Xbox 360
game, until Yasuhiro Wada suggested the Wii and its unique control structure to director Suda51. Suda has cited the film El Topo
among the inspirations for No More Heroes
. In one interview he went so far as to say he would try to make it "as violent, or even more violent than Manhunt 2
," a game that received an AO rating from the ESRB
in its original form. A trailer shown at the March 2007 Game Developers Conference
featured Travis Touchdown using the beam katana to decapitate or cut enemies in half, with copious amounts of blood being spilled. Later videos featured clouds of black pixels and objects resembling coins
spurting from enemies instead of blood. it was later explained that the "black clouds" version would be released in Japan, while North America would receive the game with the previously seen blood. Later, however, Suda51 decided to release the bloodless version in Europe as well. In the North American version, the enemies are generally decapitated or split in half with large quantities of blood gushing from them. Overall, the two versions feature common enemies eventually burning away and a fountain of coins, with or without the inclusion of blood.
Yūsuke Kozaki, who has previously designed characters for Speed Grapher, designed the characters for No More Heroes. Others on the team include costume designer Okama, who designed the OP for Densha Otoko, and weapons and mechanics designer Shigeto Koyama, who worked on Eureka Seven as an illustrator.
The song "Heavenly Star" by Genki Rockets
is used in many parts of the game. In the Japanese and European version, a music video of it can be watched on Travis' television, but it was replaced with the original Heroes
trailer for the game in the North American version.
The No More Heroes Original Sound Tracks
, featuring all original compositions by music director Masafumi Takada
, was released on January 23
in Japan. It contains 71 tracks spanning over a 3-disc set. A second, remix soundtrack
entitled No More Heroes Sound Tracks: Dark Side
was later released on March 14
Most recently, The Outer Rim, a band featuring game composer Norihiko Hibino, released its self-titled debut album featuring an English drama using No More Heroes characters in a far future setting. The album can be purchased on CD Baby.
Overall, No More Heroes
has received positive reviews. The game received a 34/40 from Famitsu
gave it an Editor's Choice Award, praising the unique story, gameplay, and sense of humor. X-Play gave the game 5/5, citing "exceptional writing, sharp satire, satisfying game progression, unique visual style, intuitive controls, and a catchy and distinctive soundtrack. Xplay also called it the third best game and best Wii game released in the first half of 2008". Cheat Code Central called the game "a must-buy blast that out-shines all other third-party Wii titles to date. GamePro magazine also praised No More Heroes
with a Game of the Month Award and Editor's Choice award, saying "The entries for the best new character of 2008 are closed here's your winner (Travis Touchdown)" and that the game "easily ranks among the Wii's finest titles." Gametrailers.com
, although reviewing the game positively, found its open world to be somewhat limited, an assessment shared by IGN
, who went even further, claiming it ground an otherwise exciting game to a dead halt. Despite awarding the game a less positive review than others, IGN awarded it "Game of the Month" for January, calling it a "must-play" despite its flaws. Game Informer
gave it one of the lowest scores, stating that "the repetition and lack of substance behind the flash" was among the many problems they had with the game. Nintendo Power
gave it an 8/10 stating that "No More Heroes's zany charm and zest for excess go a long way to make up for its weaknesses and called it the 7th best Wii game."
For the Japanese release, a poorly attended launch event for the game was held on December 6
's Sofmap Amusement featuring both Suda51 and Wada Yasuhiro signing copies of the games and giving away premiums. After 20 minutes passed without any purchases, a Famitsu
reporter had a copy signed while others took photos. No More Heroes
sold approximately 10,000 copies on its first day of release in Japan.
Suda51 expressed disappointment in the Japanese sales of the game, saying that only Nintendo is doing well in regard to the Wii's success because of its adoption by casual gamers. He later retracted his comment, saying his "point was that No More Heroes, unlike a lot of Nintendo Wii titles currently available is the kind of product which will attract a different kind of consumer to the hardware, i.e. gamers who are looking for a different genre to the products which have been successful on this platform thus far.
Shortly after No More Heroes's European release, PAL publisher Rising Star raved about its sales, with manager Martin Defries proclaiming:
"We are weeping with delight. Especially as sales should improve further with the TV campaign moving up a gear from tonight. It is a verification of all the posturing and ambitious claims made these past months. I think a 'told you so' would be apt at some point.
Thanks to Nintendo and the Wii console. Thanks to Mastertronic for their sales efforts and all our retail partners. Most of all thanks to Grasshopper for the greatest of products"
was quoted as saying that if the game did well he would create a sequel. He made good on his promise by officially announcing a sequel called No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle
during the 2008 Tokyo Game Show
. The sequel will be released for the Wii console.