Making a name for itself in arthouse gore and psychological thrills with 2005’s Killer 7 — and emboldening that reputation ever since with titles like No More Heroes, Shadows of the Damned and Lollipop Chainsaw — Japanese developer Grasshopper Manufacture has established a devout following since its founding in 1999 by Goichi Suda (better known to fans as Suda 51) Apparently, it’s cachet hasn’t gone unnoticed by indie-annexing publishers.

GungHo Online Enteratianment, the Japanese publisher who operates Ragnorak Online, a Korean MMO, confirmed today that it was purchasing Grasshopper Manufacture — molding them under its wing alongside developers such as Game Arts, GRAVITY and Acquire.

In an official statement GungHo was, well, you know, gung-ho on the nature of the acquisition, and asserted that Grasshopper Manufacture would still be retaining its name and current projects. It was reason for Suda 51, whose response was also included, to look brightly upon the future:

“By joining GungHo Online Entertainment, we are aligning ourselves with a strong, established publishing force that will support our vision to further create inspired new games that appeal players across the world. The Grasshopper team and I have many new ideas to share with our fans as we move forward, so this union with GOE will help us realize our future plans.”

For 2013, those plans include Killer is Dead, a near-future action thriller surrounding a cybernetically enhanced Yakuza executioner (or to use Suda 51’s abridged description: it’s a “Dark-side 007”). The smooth transition should ensure that its development continues unimpeded, and current speculation has the title being published for Western markets by XSEED Games, a prominent localizer (i.e., translator) of Japanese games who recently brought The Last Story to North America last August.

Essentially, Grasshopper will continue to operate as it would normally: abnormally. The developer has always added a devilishly twisted, unabashedly bawdy flavor of crazy to its oeuvres over the last 14 years. And assuming that doesn’t languish any time soon, the resources from its collaboration with GungHo (notably a stronger Western presence; partner XSEED is based out of California) should only further the developer’s growth.

Kazuki Morishita, President and CEO of GungHo Online Entertainment, noted the potential for each party (and gamers) in his contribution to the announcement:

“We believe the strength of a publisher lies in its creative talent so with the addition of Grasshopper Manufacture and Suda 51 we are adding some of the most innovative talent in today’s gaming world to our stellar family of independently-operated studios,” a. “Suda 51 projects are known to put a unique spin on every game so coupled with our proven ability to support development with AAA resources including a tailored online experience, we believe gamers will benefit from this collaboration.”

Ranters, how do think Grasshopper Manufacture’s acquisition by GungHo will shape the future of the studio?

Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Sipple.

Source: VG 24/7