No More Heroes: 5 minutes with Rising Star Games

One of the publishers at this year’s MCM Expo was Rising Star Games. Rising Star stand out from other recognisable publishers in two respects; almost all of their games have a distinct Japanese flavour to them (indeed, they proudly refer to themselves as ‘The home of Japanese games’), and year after year they offer strong support to Nintendo consoles. In fact, a massive chunk of their catalogue is made up of games exclusive to Nintendo formats.

One of their playable games at the expo was No More Heroes 2, which had hit UK shelves the day before the expo began. I asked if someone at the stand were able to answer some questions about the franchise and as luck would have it, the man I asked happened to be Rising Star’s Product Manager Yen Hau.

Now, PR types and industry professionals are always careful to appear happy and friendly to the press – but Yen Hau is the most irrepressibly cheerful man I have ever met in my life. He has the most genuine smile you can imagine, which did not leave his face for a single second. More unexpectedly still, I immediately knew that this was not being faked. I wanted to carry Yen home and keep him on my sofa, so he could cheer me up after a hard day at work.

But I didn’t.

He told me about the positive response they’ve already had to No More Heroes 2. “The press response has been eights and nines, and the fan feedback’s been very good. They’ve picked up on the fact that it’s uncensored this time, it’s a lot more over the top – the humour’s a lot better as well. The pacing’s been improved too, it moves a lot faster.”

Censored version, or uncensored version? Answers on a postcard please...

So apart from the removal of the censoring, what other changes have fans been responsible for?

The pacing of the game. Now it just goes straight to the action; it’s a lot faster, a lot more punchy. It’s got a very good following in Europe. I suspect because of the fact it’s on the Wii; a hardcore game on the Wii… it’s got that challenge, but it’s already got cult status.”

Having successfully cornered a Rising Star Games chap face to face, I ask if they have any plans to bring the PS3 version of the original No More Heroes to the West. We all know what’s coming next, don’t we boys and girls?

“I can’t comment on that, I’m afraid!” he says, cheerfully. But Yen says everything cheerfully. Okay then, safer question…what’s the appeal of No More Heroes? “It has elements of Japanese animation, wrestling, comics… so I think it appeals to different audiences. Travis is very outspoken, he’s tongue in cheek.”

As already mentioned, the Wii isn’t exactly the ideal format for hardcore titles. So why did No More Heroes launch as a Wii exclusive?

“Because Suda 51 wanted to use the motion controls. He knew the way he wanted to create the game, the Wii being the perfect format for it. We stuck with the Wii for the second version exactly for that reason. Now with Natal and Move coming out later on in the year… it’s a bit late for that.”

Chances of No More Heroes 3?

It’s early days. We’ll see how this performs, and then maybe see if we can persuade Suda to produce another one.”

I thank Yen for his time, and dive back into the sea of expogoers with Michael. As I go, I notice that one of the games on sale at the Rising Star booth is Flower, Sun and Rain – for just a fiver. When I return later to buy it it has, of course, been sold. Yen is nowhere to be seen, and so there is nothing to stop me sulking.

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Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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