It hasn't been easy going in America for master of the "cult classic" Suda51. While he's made more than his share of critically acclaimed games over the last decade, few have been major financial successes on the North American continent. Most recently, Shadows of the Damned, his collaboration with Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, fizzled at retail, with a mere 24,000 copies sold in its first month. Granted, that probably had more to do with EA's unceremonious dumping of the game at retail without a single identifiable dollar spent on marketing, but still, it's the sort of thing that can send other would-be publishers running, screaming away from a developer.
Thankfully, that didn't happen, and Suda's next project will be heading to American shores, courtesy of the increasingly laudable WB Games. For those of you unawares as to what that project is, go ahead and have a seat right over there while we talk about sexy cheerleaders with chainsaws for a moment.
Titled Lollipop Chainsaw, this action horror game stars plucky high school cheerleader Juliet Starling whose 18th birthday is ruined as her California high school suddenly comes under attack by a zombie threat. Fortunately, Juliet comes from a family of zombie hunters, so this whole deal? Ain't no thang.
Juliet's primary weapon is, naturally, a chainsaw, though her cheerleading acrobatics will also come in handy when pulling off melee maneuvers. Evidently, the game is meant to be some kind of spiritual successor to No More Heroes, and the few screens that have popped up certainly look the part. Albeit with more zombies. And pink hearts.
While Warner's deal with Japanese publisher Kadokawa Games to bring the title to America is certainly interesting, more intriguing is the news buried in the press release that filmmaker James Gunn, himself something of a cult-classic-maker-in-the-making, has signed on to James Gunn up the works. In truth, the press release doesn't really specify his role in the product's development, but one can surmise he'll be taking some kind of script pass on the English translation of the game. Whatever the role ends up being, given Gunn's history with Troma films, not to mention his big budget work on hyperviolent and super-weird movies like Slither, Super, and of course the Dawn of the Dead remake, Gunn's presence can't be seen as anything but a positive.
While the idea of yet another zombie game is probably sending some eyes in the Giant Bomb community 180 degrees backward, forcing a few of you to stare inward in a way you clearly weren't prepared for, something about the idea of No More Heroes meets Dawn of the Dead meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Bring It On is finding a way through my own tangled maze of cynical impenetrability, and into my cold, black heart. So, yeah, I'm into it.
UPDATE: More news! James Gunn updated his personal blog with some information on his involvement with the game. Evidently, it's more than just a bit of script work. He's been involved with the project for the last year or so, injecting, as he puts it, "James Gunn style and humor" into the very heart of the game itself. Mostly he worked with Suda on dialogue and character, but evidently he also introduced some of his regular film players for roles within the game, as well. Michael Rooker and Nathan Fillion confirmed?