Grasshopper Manufacture, the studio behind divisive cult favorites like Killer7, No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned, and the upcoming Killer Is Dead, has been acquired by publisher GungHo Online entertainment, the company announced today.
According to Siliconera, a press release issued by GungHo Online states that they plan to combine Grasshopper’s development skills with their own expertise in online gaming. While GungHo is best known for being the Japanese publisher of Korean MMO Ragnarok Online, in recent years they’ve branched out into other genres by publishing titles like the DS S-RPG Hero’s Saga: Laevatein Tactics and the Monster Hunter-esque Ragnarok Odyssey (an offline spin-off of Ragnarok Online,) for the PS Vita.
Speaking as someone who actually likes a lot of Grasshopper Manufacture’s games, I’m kind of worried about this news: part of the appeal of GHM’s games have been how strange and different they are from anything else that’s out there, and I’m worried that their new corporate overlords may put a stop to the developer’s trademark experimental style. It’s currently unknown if Grasshopper’s acquisition will cause any staff changes at the company or effect their partnerships with other publishers like Marvelous AQL or XSeed Games, who’s rumored to be the American publisher of Killer Is Dead.
Hopefully this news won’t effect the development of Killer Is Dead or any of the other projects that Grasshopper may be cooking up (No More Heroes 3 sometime soon, please!) But who knows, maybe I’m just being unnecessarily pessimistic, and maybe this new union will end up making both companies better.