No More Heroes (series)
No More Heroes is a series of action games for Nintendo systems developed by Grasshopper Manufacture following the misadventures of amateur assassin Travis Touchdown. They are characterized by their eccentric boss characters and satirical plots that both celebrate and criticize various elements of gaming and general nerd culture.
- No More Heroes (2007)
- No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle (2010)
- Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes (2019)
- No More Heroes III (2021)
- No More Heroes: World Ranker (2012)
The original No More Heroes was written and directed by Goichi Suda, and released in 2007 for the Wii. It was in many ways an antithesis to his previous games, particularly killer7, and focused on combat and action developed as an evolution of Suda's anime licensed games Samurai Champloo: Sidetracked and Blood+ One Night Kiss. It was a relative hit in the west, and sold more copies than any previous Grasshopper game; in celebration of this, they shortly afterwards began developing a sequel, Desperate Struggle. Unlike the first game, Desperate Struggle was not directed by Suda; it still remained a hit in terms of sales and reviews.
After this, the series stayed dormant for almost a decade, outside of small mobile game World Ranker and ports to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 developed without Grasshopper or Suda's involvement. Despite this, the game had somewhat of a legacy in the way that certain other Grasshopper action games, particularly Lollipop Chainsaw, had very similar combat systems. The series returned at the same time as Suda returned to the director's chair with Travis Strikes Again for the Nintendo Switch. This game is planned to be succeeded by the large-scale No More Heroes III.
Relation to Kill the Past
Up until No More Heroes, all of Suda's previously directed original IP games had been connected in some way, making up the informal universe known as Kill the Past. No More Heroes, in contrast, originally stood much more alone, without explicit returning characters (other than some redesigned Fire Pro characters); however, it did contain various references to killer7. It is unclear how seriously these references are intended to be taken in relation to the story of killer7 and other games. Desperate Struggle was even more standalone, although like every Grasshopper game, it still contained some call backs to past works.
Travis Strikes Again, on the other hand, connects much more explicitly to Kill the Past, particularly to The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, which had received an expanded remake the year before the release of Travis Strikes Again. One of the endings of #07 black out directly connects to Travis Strikes Again, with protagonist Uehara being sent to meet Travis; accordingly, Uehara appears in Travis Strikes Again itself. Travis Strikes Again contains many other points of connection with Kill the Past and other Grasshopper works, solidifying No More Heroes as part of the ongoing story. This is continued in No More Heroes III.