At GDC, I had the distinct pleasure to once again sit down with Grasshopper Manufacture CEO Goichi “Suda51” Suda and talk to him a bit about his studio’s upcoming game, Killer is Dead.

In the game, players will take on the role of Mondo Zappa, an executioner for a covert hitman agency that specializes in cases revolving around weird happenings around the globe which could specifically threaten large groups of people.

Knowing that Suda also draws huge amounts of inspiration from music, I wanted to know more about where Mondo and Killer is Dead fit in regards to his personal tastes.

“Music is really important—not just in this game, but in how I create games,” said Suda. “For example, the soundtrack is done by Akira Yamaoka; he did the music for Silent Hill and other titles. But the title itself, Killer is Dead, I got the inspiration for that name from “Queen is Dead” from The Smiths. And for Mondo Zappa, “Zappa” is from Frank Zappa. There’s no direct relationship, it’s just—it’s who I am, and how much I love music just comes out and starts affecting the games that I create.”

In our time with Suda, I also learned more about Mondo in regards to his design and inspiration, and that he is far more used to removing bad guys from the world than we may have originally been led to believe.

Specifically, I was very curious about Mondo’s arm. His business attire gives off a very distinct personality, very much that of a stone cold killer. But then, he has this mechanized arm that can act as a gun. So, I wanted to know where the idea for the arm came from.

“So this won’t be said in the game,” Suda explained. “It’ll never be said in the actual game. But, the concept is that Mondo was one of the assassins that killed Osama Bin Laden, and in the [Killer is Dead] world, when there’s somebody that’s really bad, and they have this malice within them, when you execute them that malice will be transferred to the person who killed them. Mondo was part of the team that took down Bin Laden, and the other team members were affected as well. In fact, one of the team members will be showing up in the game. Mondo’s arm got infected, and he couldn’t control it—so he had to change it into a mechanical arm. But, that’s not explained in the game; that’s just the concept, where the basis of the game started from.”

If Mondo didn’t have enough going for him already, he’s also got a bit of Ash from Evil Dead in him as well. We will just have to see what other interesting character traits Mondo has when Killer is Dead is released this coming summer for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Are you excited about Killer is Dead? How do you think this will differ from Suda51’s previous games? Does Mondo Zappa compare to the likes of Juliet Starling and Travis Touchdown? Let us know with comments below!

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