Grasshopper Manufacture

Kurayami (Suda51) [Cancelled Pitch – PS3]

Kurayami is a cancelled psychological / horror game that was pitched by Grasshopper Manufacture as a PS3 exclusive and originally announced in Edge Magazine issue 162, in May 2006. Being inspired by Franz Kafka novels (a writer known for his stories about alienation, physical and psychological paranoia), in Kurayami players would had to explore a mysterious european castle (that we can relate to Kafka’s The Castle) and the near village filled with creepy inhabitants, using the light from his torch to resolve puzzles and move through the darkness. Light and darkness would have been a central theme in the game, similarly to what happens in Alan Wake (announced in 2005 but released in 2010), in Kurayami the protagonist would have been safer in lit areas while dangers would have been lurking in the darkness.


Talking about this concept, Goichi Suda said:

“When I considered the visuals, I immediately thought of darkness, and I imagined a hero within this night, with a light that would in a way symbolise his life. That became the core concept of Kurayami: literally, ‘darkness’ (in Japanese). […] It’s not about some hideous monsters or evil creatures coming out of the darkness, but playing on our natural fears of the dark, and the uneasiness that comes from the absence of noise and life. […] “Kurayami’s ideas are not about violence or eroticism, but fundamental problems in the human mind, which may find some conflict with the rating system. […] Though I expect the rating level to be quite high for Kurayami, I also expect the PS3 to be mainly purchased and used by an adult audience. I’m making a game for an adult audience, one that shows what life is and what being human is.”

Players would have had to pay attention to the townsfolk too, as the game would have been ambiguous about their intentions and personality:

“It shows how people change when faced with their fears – in a way, you could see a little bit of what Japan, or the world, is like in this town.”

While there are no in-game screenshots available (only the concept arts that you can see in the gallery below) it’s know that Kurayami would have used a cell-shading style focused on the contrast between colors and black, evolving the 3D engine Grasshopper already used in Killer7. From what was said by Suda during an interview with Joystiq in 2009 it seems that the game never entered into a prototype form:

“It’s not even in development right now. We aren’t even really working on it. We’ve just been talking about it, but there hasn’t been time to work on it. Actually it was really just for Edge. The artwork was just something we submitted them. We’re not working on this project yet. They had some special coverage about Grasshopper and we talked a little bit about Kurayami, and so we gave them some artwork.”

Originally Suda51 told to Edge that they wanted to make Kurayami appealing to more people than their precedent games, saying that “The challenge now is to go beyond simple recognition, and transform our original games into a mainstream success”. Only a year later Grasshopper released No More Heroes for the Wii and it became their most successful games until that point. While Kurayami sounded like a dark, introspective and uneasing experience with european inspired environment and characters, No More Heroes was an explosion of over-the-top action, japanese fanservice and quirky personas.

This could have been the reason why Kurayami was quietly cancelled: in the next few years the team was busy developing Zero: Tsukihami no Kamen (Wii, 2008, a new chapter in the popular Fatal Frame / Project Zero series) and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (Wii, 2010), supporting Nintendo’s motion-controlled console and finding a new market for their projects.

While Kurayami was never released, its main concept of light and darkness was reused for another Grasshopper Manufacture title: Shadows of the Damned. SotD was a much more linear, over-the-top horror / action game than what Kurayami appeared to be, and even if the released project is a good one, unfortunately there’s no trace of Kafka influences anymore.


[New Article] Killer 7 Beta Analysis


Killer 7 is an adventure game developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Capcom for the GameCube and PlayStation 2. It was released in 2005 but it was first announced in 2002 as one of the original “Capcom 5” games. In 3 years of development the game changed a lot from its original concept trailer and when Killer 7 was finally released many  parts of the story were removed. >>> Read the full article: Killer 7 Beta Analysis 

Flower, Sun & Rain [PS2 – Beta / Concept]


Flower, Sun, and Rain is a game developed by Goichi Suda and Grasshopper Manufacture: the game was originally released in Japan on the PlayStation 2  in 2001 with an enhanced Nintendo DS port that was released in Japan / Europe in 2008 and it’s scheduled to be released in USA in June 2009. FSR is  one of the weirdest, crazier, nonsensical and wonderful adventure games  ever, with a story that it’s like a mix between a David Lynch film, an episode of Lost and your favourite (or worst) mathematical problems from elementary school. You know, the usual Suda 51 storytelling style that we all love.

In early target renders / concept arts from the PS2 version we can see some interesting beta differences:

  • Sumio used a different kind of car.
  • Kusabi (the girl) never shows herself in a car-scene like this one.
  • The characters have a weird design, different from the final version.
  • There’s an unknown scene with 2 characters (Yoshimitsu Koshimizu and Remy Fawzil) that was never used in the final game. Also, the place does not look like any know area. In this picture the HUD looks like the one from the Silver Case games.
  • In general, these target renders dont look like the final game.

Thanks to Topdrunkee for the contribution!


Killer 7: Beta Characters

<< Back to the K7 Beta Intro


Here is a list with informations and comparisons about those Killer 7 characters that were changed or removed though the development of the game.

Beta Matsuken / Dimitri?

This man was in one of the early K7 trailers and in a couple of beta screenshots, but he’s not in the final game.. or at least he does not look like this anymore. Could this be an early design of Kenjiro Matsuoka (Matsuken, the new leader of the United Nations Party)? Or maybe Dimitri Nightmare (the man sitting beside young Harman in one of the latest cutscenes in Target 05: Smile)? Why was he shown in “black & white” shades?


Killer 7: Beta Gameplay

<< Back to the K7 Beta Intro


In the Killer 7 Images Gallery on IGN we can find this interesting screenshot that looks like a puzzle from the game, but in the final game there is not a single puzzle that looks like this one. Was it removed? Probably, but at the same time it’s weird that this screenshot can be found ONLY at IGN: it could even be possibile that this image is from another game and it was added in the Killer 7 Gallery just for a mystake. Do you recognize this from another game? Was this puzzle really in the K7 beta? We are not sure…

Update: Thanks to Sean we have the confirmation that the bird puzzle was indeed in the beta version of Killer 7! As seen in the official Killer 7 website 

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