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Grasshopper's Guarini On Expanding For Shadows Of The Damned And Beyond

Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini explains how the Suda51-fronted Grasshopper Manufacture studio is expanding, using international talent to crea
Shadows of the Damned director Massimo Guarini explains in a new Gamasutra feature interview how the Suda51-fronted Grasshopper Manufacture studio is expanding, using international talent to create something all-new. "As a company, Grasshopper is definitely growing," says Guarini, who joined the studio less than two years ago. "We were 70 people just one year and a half ago, and now we're 140. So the growth rate is really impressive, but at the same time that brings like new challenges, from an organizational point of view, and from a creative point of view as well." The creative challenges and opportunities are what excite Guarini about the studio. "What's really important for us is really to bring the new in, to try and not repeat ourselves too much, and to be confident that you can bring, any time, fresh air in the video game business without necessarily becoming excessively niche. That's our goal." Guarini and Grasshopper's game, published by EA this week, marks the first time the studio has used Unreal Engine 3 -- a common engine in the West but unusual in Japan. "We definitely had some troubles at the beginning finding specialized level designers, for example. So we had to hire them from abroad, from the U.S.," says Guarini. These new "foreign forces," he says, will form a template for the studio's further expansion: "I think we brought in new knowledge, new skills, and from now on it's just going to be growing and improving this." He sees promise in the combination, though. "Japan has a totally different approach to visual media in general, and I'm just talking about video games. I mean arts and visual design. So their way of thinking is way more visual than ours, and that reflects very much in games." He sees the two cultural approaches as "complementary," saying "There's no negative points, it's just like you need to take a little bit from that, and a little bit from that and mix them and get something complete." The full-length feature interview explores the gestation of Shadows of the Damned, and is live now on Gamasutra.

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