Grasshopper Manufacture, the studio headed by No More Heroes creator Goichi Suda (Suda51), has announced that it has become a subsidiary of China’s gigantic publisher NetEase Games under a share transfer agreement active on May 31, 2021.
“Grasshopper Manufacture celebrated its 23rd anniversary in March this year,” said Suda in a comment alongside the announcement. “Our studio is made up of a diverse staff with a variety of backgrounds and personalities, all of whom love video games. As I thought about the strengths and peculiarities of our company, I could see a new future for our way of creative production.
“NetEase Games has released many fantastic games, and I have heard for a long time about their strong reputation. When NetEase Games presented the opportunity to work on unique consumer games together, I came to the conclusion that by working together, we can deliver even more powerful and creative titles to our audience.
“In addition, NetEase Games is a reliable partner that understands and supports our strengths. They will give us support on the management side and fund our game development, but the planning and production of our games will be left entirely up to us. This means we can guarantee a consistent ‘Grasshopper Manufacture style’ and quality of our games. In addition, we will receive valuable support from thousands of NetEase Games artists and technical staff in areas such as graphics support and QA. Our goal is to make the most of these resources and deliver three more quintessential Grasshopper Manufacture games in the next 10 years.
“Please look forward to the history this new Grasshopper Manufacture will create in the future.”
For fans concerned that joining the giant Chinese publisher NetEase will mean Grasshopper is relegated to making mobile games, the phrase “consumer games” in Suda’s comment is usually used in Japan to mean games for console and/or PC.
Suda also said that the studio is recruiting now for a wide range of positions. Anyone interested in applying should visit Grasshopper Manufacture's website for more details.
NetEase Games also delivered a statement to praise Suda and Grasshopper’s “strong style”, “clear design philosophy” and “unique taste from concept to fine details”.
The publisher, which currently has over 10,000 developers, also said that this acquisition should be seen as a message to top game developers in Japan and the rest of the world that the company is keen to keep investing in the quality and appeal of its games.
NetEase has been strongly rumoured to be in negotiations with Yakuza series creator Toshihiro Nagoshi, who recently fuelled speculation when he parted from his high-profile role at Sega. The idea of two such radically different developers as Suda and Nagoshi as loose colleagues under the NetEase umbrella is certainly interesting.
Grasshopper Manufacture's most recent game was No More Heroes III for Nintendo Switch. You can read IGN's full review here.
Daniel Robson is Chief Editor at IGN Japan. No guessing which game inspired his Twitter handle, @NoMoreDaniels