Interview: Why Let it Die is 2016's Best Free-to-Play Game

Find out why Grasshopper Manufacture's hack-and-slash game Let it Die is an experience to die for.
March 1, 2016 5:20 PM by Morgan Shaver

Let it Die Interview with Hideyuki Shin

Putting the controller down after delving into Let it Die was hard to do. However, it was extremely worth it once I caught sight of creative director Hideyuki Shin. Dressed to impress in a matte silver suit and some snazzy silver shoes to match, Hideyuki Shin seemed to inadvertently embody Let it Die without even trying. He was polished, charming, and wildly entertaining.

Our brief conversation was translated by GungHo PR Tyler Inouye, who didn’t hesitate to talk about the process of hiring bands for Let it Die’s E3 2016 party later on after the interview concluded, and how they eventually came to secure Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington. It’s a fascinating story in itself, but a story for another day!

Because I had played so much of the game and progressed so far prior to the interview, it was difficult to come up with unique questions to ask Hideyuki Shin. I was extremely nervous and desperately wanted to impress him. Thankfully, I managed to do so unintentionally by writing his responses down by hand in my beloved pocket notebook that features an image of The Great Wave off Kanagawa.

To be honest, the interview was slightly awkward and had a “lost-in-translation” style, as Tyler had to translate both my questions to Shin as well as Shin's answers in return. Despite this, here are the answers I was able to garner during our interview.

Q: Why did you decide to go with a free-to-play format for Let it Die?

A: "This is the first title released between Grasshopper Manufacture and GungHo. We wanted to give players a good opportunity to approach the game, especially a Western audience."

Q: What were some of your inspirations behind Let it Die, especially comedic characters like Uncle Death?

A: "The theme of death was always there from the beginning, and the rest of the game kind of shaped itself around that. We set out to make a game that wasn’t a typical action, hack-and-slash game. Let it Die presents itself in a different way, as does Uncle Death who is younger, and many of the characters within the game are younger as well."

Q: In the beginning cutscene—and throughout the game—I noticed an interesting story element begin to take shape. Will players ever be able to reach the top of the Tower of Barbs? Does it hold secrets, and will players be able to find secrets as they progress through the game?

A: "There is definitely a top to the Tower of Barbs, but it will take players a very, very long time to reach it. There are definitely secrets and story elements to discover, both at the top and throughout the game, but we want to leave a lot of that as a surprise for players to discover."

Q: I noticed that the multiplayer element in this game differs from other multiplayer games. Can you explain a bit more about how the multiplayer works in Let it Die?

A: "You will have the opportunity to have more than one Fighter, and every time you die in the game, that Fighter remains where it died as “Death Data” called “Haters” who can attack other players. If those Haters kill another player, you earn resources. Also, you can use your Fighters in several other unique ways including sending one out as a Hunter to another player’s base to raid resources."

Q: One of the things that stood out when I was researching the game is the soundtrack courtesy of Akira Yamaoka. The soundtrack has over 100 different bands, many of them obscure Japanese metal bands. I really enjoyed how you can discover new music in Let it Die, can you tell me more about how players will get to experience the unique soundtrack in Let it Die?

A: "In the Death Arcade, there is a radio where you can browse through the different songs you have discovered. Additionally, you can select the song you want players to hear whenever they come to attack your base and vice versa. Meaning if someone comes to attack you, they’ll hear the song you’ve chosen on the radio. There will also be a Best Hits Station which highlights songs that players have been choosing the most."

Q: Do you have any plans to release a standalone Let it Die OST for purchase in the future?

A: "No OST plans yet, but each song in the game is titled “Let it Die” and you can see the contributing artist on the radio if you wish to look them up and hear more of their work."

Q: I know that you likely cannot answer this question, but I noticed that both Grasshopper Manufacture and GungHo were on the list of contributors for the Nintendo Switch. Are there plans to port Let it Die to the Nintendo Switch or other platforms aside from the PlayStation 4?

A: "I am not sure Nintendo would like Let it Die with all of its gore and violence. As of right now, there are no plans to port Let it Die to any additional platforms."

There was a feeling in the air following that response that despite Shin's clear answer of “no,” there may still be a chance to see Let it Die ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2017. We’ll have to see if my gut instinct is right or wrong on that one, though I know the logical step would be a port over to the PC first.

After my questions were answered and my limited time with Shin was clearly running out, the three of us sat around discussing the game and how I found it impressive overall.

Shin was very grateful that I liked the game as much as I did. In response, I was humbled by Shin and found him to be a very sweet individual. If you met him on the street, I don’t think you’d ever know that this man and his beautiful silver shoes played a major part in the creative design of the violence-filled game, Let it Die.

Before we adjourned and I resumed playing the game once more, I mentioned that I had noticed some subtle inspirations from other video games within Let it Die, like the collectible mushrooms you can eat. These mushrooms instantly reminded me of Super Mario Bros. Both Shin and Tyler laughed and talked more about how many random effects the mushrooms have—both the good and bad. 

If there’s anything to take away from this brief interview, it’s that Hideyuki Shin is an incredible individual who put his heart and soul into Let it Die. His passion and dedication definitely show in the game, which is the most polished and fun free-to-play game I’ve ever experienced. If you currently own a PlayStation 4, I highly recommend checking out Let it Die once it is released sometime later this month or early next month.

Stay tuned for more info on the game, including step-by-step guides to get you to the very top of the Tower of Barbs!

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For more exclusive features and previews here at Indie Obscura, be sure to check out our first look at the upcoming Friday the 13th game, our preview of the interesting driving horror game Driving Survival, and learn more about rumors that suggest Telltale Games are working on an adaptation of Guardians of the Galaxy