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is an action-adventure
Action-adventure game
An action-adventure game is a video game that combines elements of the adventure game genre with various action game elements. It is perhaps the broadest and most diverse genre in gaming, and can include many games which might better be categorized under narrow genres...

 video game for the Nintendo GameCube
Nintendo GameCube
The , officially abbreviated to NGC in Japan and GCN in other regions, is a sixth generation video game console released by Nintendo on September 15, 2001 in Japan, November 18, 2001 in North America, May 3, 2002 in Europe, and May 17, 2002 in Australia...

 and PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
The PlayStation 2 is a sixth-generation video game console manufactured by Sony as part of the PlayStation series. Its development was announced in March 1999 and it was first released on March 4, 2000, in Japan...

. It was developed by Grasshopper Manufacture
Grasshopper Manufacture
Grasshopper Manufacture, Inc. is a Japanese video game development house founded on March 30, 1998 in Suginami, Japan. Grasshopper gained mainstream attention in 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 game Killer7...

 and published by Capcom
Capcom
is a Japanese developer and publisher of video games, known for creating multi-million-selling franchises such as Devil May Cry, Chaos Legion, Street Fighter, Mega Man and Resident Evil. Capcom developed and published Bionic Commando, Lost Planet and Dark Void too, but they are less known. Its...

. The game was written and directed by Goichi Suda
Goichi Suda
, is the CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture. The "51" in his nickname, Suda51, is a pun on his given name. In Japanese, "Go" means 5 and "ichi" means 1. His works include Moonlight Syndrome, The Silver Case, Flower, Sun and Rain, Michigan, killer7, the No More Heroes series, and most recently, Shadows...

, also known by the nickname Suda51, and produced by Hiroyuki Kobayashi. Killer7 features first-person shooter
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

 elements and a unique "on rails" control scheme, but the core adventure-style gameplay has been compared to Myst
Myst
Myst is a graphic adventure video game designed and directed by the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller. It was developed by Cyan , a Spokane, Washington––based studio, and published and distributed by Brøderbund. The Millers began working on Myst in and released it for the Mac OS computer on September...

and Snatcher
Snatcher
is a cyberpunk-themed graphic adventure game produced by Konami, originally released in Japan for the NEC PC-8801 and MSX 2 computer platforms in 1988. It was followed by a CD-ROM-based remake released for the PC Engine video game console in 1992, which was subsequently ported and localized into...

.

The game follows an elite group of assassins called the "killer7". The assassins, physical manifestations of one man Harman Smith, perform hits
Contract killing
Contract killing is a form of murder, in which one party hires another party to kill a target individual or group of people. It involves an illegal agreement between two parties in which one party agrees to kill the target in exchange for consideration, monetary, or otherwise. The hiring party may...

 on behalf of the United States government. Through these missions, the killer7 uncover a deeper conspiracy regarding the role of Japan in US politics and secrets about the nature of their organization.

Killer7 was Suda51's first game released outside Japan. It received polarizing reviews due to its unconventional control scheme and complex noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

 plot. While some reviewers appreciated the stripped-down controls and stylized "arthouse" approach, others panned it as confusing and restricting. Jack Thompson, an outspoken video game activist, alleged that the game contains "full-blown sex sequences", but his claims were ultimately refuted. Despite these setbacks, Killer7s cult appeal
Cult following
A cult following is a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. A film, book, band, or video game, among other things, will be said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fan base...

 led to remakes of Suda51's older works and the successful launch of No More Heroes
No More Heroes (video game)
, is an action video game for the Wii video game system. It was directed by Goichi Suda , developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Marvelous Entertainment Inc., Ubisoft and Rising Star Games...

.

Gameplay



The player controls the on-screen character
Player character
A player character or playable character is a character in a video game or role playing game who is controlled or controllable by a player, and is typically a protagonist of the story told in the course of the game. A player character is a persona of the player who controls it. Player characters...

, a member of the killer7 group, from a third-person view using the gamepad
Gamepad
A gamepad , is a type of game controller held in two hands, where the digits are used to provide input. Gamepads generally feature a set of action buttons handled with the right thumb and a direction controller handled with the left...

. The gameplay consists of elements of first-person shooter
First-person shooter
First-person shooter is a video game genre that centers the gameplay on gun and projectile weapon-based combat through first-person perspective; i.e., the player experiences the action through the eyes of a protagonist. Generally speaking, the first-person shooter shares common traits with other...

 and action-adventure game
Action-adventure game
An action-adventure game is a video game that combines elements of the adventure game genre with various action game elements. It is perhaps the broadest and most diverse genre in gaming, and can include many games which might better be categorized under narrow genres...

 with restricted movement (i.e., "on rails")—rather than allow free motion, the game limits the on-screen character to predetermined paths through the environment. The on-screen character moves forward by holding a button and reverses direction with another button press. At intersections, the player may choose which path to take. Progress is made by navigating the environment and solving puzzles. Some puzzles require the talents of a specific killer7 member. The player may switch between available members via a menu in the pause screen at any time. Other puzzles require magical rings or other items collected throughout the game.

Combat in Killer7 occurs when the player encounters enemies called "Heaven Smiles". Smiles announce their presence with a laughing sound effect and are initially invisible. The player must switch to a first-person viewpoint and scan the surroundings to reveal Smiles. While in first-person view, movement is disabled and the analog stick
Analog stick
An analog stick, sometimes called a control stick or thumbstick, is an input device for a controller that is used for two-dimensional input. An analog stick is a variation of a joystick, consisting of a protrusion from the controller; input is based on the position of this protrusion in relation...

 aims the character's gun. Targeting specific body parts will disable them; for example, shooting off a leg will cause a Smile to fall to the ground and crawl toward the player. The player may aim for a "critical point" that instantly destroys the Smile.

Defeated Smiles yield "thick blood" and "thin blood". Thick blood functions similarly to experience point
Experience point
An experience point is a unit of measurement used in many role-playing games and role-playing video games to quantify a player character's progression through the game...

s, and players gain more by shooting Smiles' critical points. The player may redeem thick blood for "serum" while in "Harman's Room", checkpoints that appear throughout the game. Serum is used to improve the attributes
Attribute (role-playing games)
An attribute is a piece of data that describes to what extent a fictional character in a role-playing game possesses a specific natural, in-born characteristic common to all characters in the game. That piece of data is usually an abstract number or, in some cases, a set of dice...

 of the characters such as "power" and "speed". This also unlocks special abilities for the characters. Players may save
Saved game
A saved game is a piece of digitally stored information about the progress of a player in a video game. This saved game can be reloaded later, so the player can continue where he or she had stopped...

 their game to a memory card
Memory card
A memory card or flash card is an electronic flash memory data storage device used for storing digital information. They are commonly used in many electronic devices, including digital cameras, mobile phones, laptop computers, MP3 players, and video game consoles...

 in designated Harman's Rooms. Thin blood is used to recover the characters' stamina
Health (gaming)
Health is a game mechanic used in role-playing, computer and video games to give value to characters, enemies, NPCs, and related objects. This value can either be numerical, semi-numerical as in hit/health points, or arbitrary as in a life bar....

 and fuel special abilities.

Setting


Killer7 takes place in an alternate version of Earth in the early 21st century. After a treaty ends all international conflict, the world powers
Great power
A great power is a nation or state that has the ability to exert its influence on a global scale. Great powers characteristically possess military and economic strength and diplomatic and cultural influence which may cause small powers to consider the opinions of great powers before taking actions...

 destroy all nuclear weapons
Nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

 by firing them into the upper atmosphere and intercepting them with other missiles. This event becomes known as "Fireworks" and symbolizes world peace to the general populace. In an effort to combat terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

, pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 disease, and cyberterrorism, the International Ethics Committee (IEC) shuts down all air travel
Air travel
Air travel is a form of travel in vehicles such as airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, blimps, gliders, hang gliding, parachuting or anything else that can sustain flight.-Domestic and international flights:...

 and public use of the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Air transportation is replaced by a system of intercontinental expressways
Controlled-access highway
A controlled-access highway is a highway designed exclusively for high-speed vehicular traffic, with all traffic flow and ingress/egress regulated...

. However, a new terrorist group called "Heaven Smile" appears, targeting the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 (UN) and IEC. The members of Heaven Smile are humans who have been infected with a virus that evokes a desire to kill. Factory-produced Smiles are given a "bomb-organ" that allows them to explode at will
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

, their principal means of attack.

In this Earth, Japanese politics
Politics of Japan
The politics of Japan is conducted in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic monarchy, where Prime Minister of Japan is the head of government. Japanese politics uses a multi-party system. Executive power exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the Diet, with...

 are dominated by two parties: the UN Party and the Liberal Party. The UN Party is more powerful and moves to end the Asian Security Treaty
Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan
The was signed between the United States and Japan in Washington, D.C. on January 19, 1960. It strengthened Japan's ties to the West during the Cold War era...

 and sever ties with the United States (US). The UN Party seized control of the Japanese government through the wisdom of the "Yakumo Cabinet Policy", a secret document which details how to run the "ideal nation". It was written by the Union 7, young members of the Liberal Party who went on to found the UN Party. The US government is also eager to sever relations with Japan, seeing the country as a hindrance and of little economic value. The interaction between Japan and the US is a central source of conflict in Killer7.

Characters


The player controls the members of a group of assassins called the "killer7". The group is led by an elderly wheelchair-bound man named Harman Smith, who exhibits "Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon". This condition allows him to physically transform into one of his seven assassin personae: African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 Garcian Smith, aggressive Irish American
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 Dan Smith, barefoot Japanese American
Japanese American
are American people of Japanese heritage. Japanese Americans have historically been among the three largest Asian American communities, but in recent decades have become the sixth largest group at roughly 1,204,205, including those of mixed-race or mixed-ethnicity...

 female KAEDE Smith, albino
Albinism
Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin...

 Briton
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 Kevin Smith, Puerto Rican
Puerto Rican people
A Puerto Rican is a person who was born in Puerto Rico.Puerto Ricans born and raised in the continental United States are also sometimes referred to as Puerto Ricans, although they were not born in Puerto Rico...

 Coyote Smith, young Chinese American
Chinese American
Chinese Americans represent Americans of Chinese descent. Chinese Americans constitute one group of overseas Chinese and also a subgroup of East Asian Americans, which is further a subgroup of Asian Americans...

 Con Smith, and Mexican American
Mexican American
Mexican Americans are Americans of Mexican descent. As of July 2009, Mexican Americans make up 10.3% of the United States' population with over 31,689,000 Americans listed as of Mexican ancestry. Mexican Americans comprise 66% of all Hispanics and Latinos in the United States...

 luchador
Lucha libre
Lucha libre is a term used in Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, for a form of professional wrestling that has developed within those countries...

 MASK de Smith. These people were gifted killers in life and Harman absorbed their souls through his condition after their deaths. The killer7 were temporarily incapacitated in an incident 50 years ago, in which the members of the group were systematically tracked and killed while performing a job at the Union Hotel in Pennsylvania. Garcian, whose power is to revive fallen personae, became the dominant personality as a result. In this capacity, he receives orders from the frail Harman when his consciousness is "awake" and accepts jobs from Christopher Mills, who hires the killer7 on behalf of the US government. Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon also causes Harman and his personae to see "remnant psyches"—ghosts of their past victims. Iwazaru, a man in a bondage suit
Bondage suit
A bondage suit, also commonly called a gimp suit, is a garment designed to cover the body completely , fitting it closely, and often including anchor points for bondage. It often has an attached hood; if not, it will be worn with a bondage hood or "gimp mask"...

, and Travis Bell, the killer7's first target, are the main remnant psyches who aid them throughout the game. The primary antagonist is an old friend of Harman's named Kun Lan. He has the "Hand of God", a supernatural power that produces the Heaven Smile virus.

Story


The game opens with a conversation between Garcian Smith and Christopher Mills about a new job for the killer7. The assassins battle their way to the top of a building which has become infested with Heaven Smiles. Harman confronts the source of the Smiles, an angel-like figure, but she is merely Kun Lan's puppet. Harman and Kun Lan discuss the current state of the world before the mission ends. In the subsequent missions, the killer7 target a number of individuals on behalf of the US government or for personal reasons. They kill Andrei Ulmeyda, a Texan postal worker who established a successful company based on the Yakumo, when he becomes infected with the Heaven Smile virus. Dan Smith confronts Curtis Blackburn, his former mentor and murderer, when Mills informs the group that Blackburn is running an organ trafficking business that targets young girls. Their penultimate mission pits them against the "Handsome Men", a group of sentai
Sentai
in Japanese language is a word for a military unit and may be literally translated as "squadron", "task force", "group" or "wing". The terms "regiment" and "flotilla", while sometimes used as translations of Sentai, are also used to refer to larger formations....

 rangers who assassinate a US politician.

The central plot arc concerns the true nature of US–Japan relations. To distance itself from Japan, the US fires a volley of two hundred intercontinental ballistic missile
Intercontinental ballistic missile
An intercontinental ballistic missile is a ballistic missile with a long range typically designed for nuclear weapons delivery...

s at Japan and contracts the killer7 to eliminate Toru Fukushima, the head of the UN Party. However, an assassin posing as Fukushima's secretary kills him first in an attempt to reclaim the Yakumo document for the Liberal Party, believing its wisdom would help the party to regain political power. Shortly thereafter, Kenjiro Matsuoka (nicknamed "Matsuken") kills two senior members of the UN Party to become its new leader, under the influence of Kun Lan. In the end, the killer7 defeat the two UN Party members who had been reanimated by Kun Lan as Japan is destroyed by the missiles.

In their final mission, the killer7 seek Matsuken, who leads the 10 million UN Party members who live in the US. The government fears that if they converge on a single state, they could win a seat in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. Garcian travels to Coburn Elementary School near Seattle, Washington and discovers tapes that reveal the school as a front for the UN Party to train children as assassins. The tapes focus on Emir Parkreiner, a gifted killer trained at the school. Garcian encounters Matsuken, who claims that Japan has used Coburn to control the course of US politics since its founding in 1780. The assassins battle a group of invincible Smiles and all but Garcian are incapacitated. Garcian travels to the Union Hotel where he witnesses visions of the other members being killed in their rooms. At the top, he discovers that his true identity is Emir Parkreiner, the one who killed the killer7 at the Union Hotel over 50 years ago. Following that incident, Harman absorbed Emir as a persona and Emir's memories were lost.

Three years later, Garcian arrives at Battleship Island
Hashima Island
For the island in Connecticut, see Thimble Islands., commonly called Gunkanjima or Gunkanshima , is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself....

 in Japan to destroy the last Heaven Smile. He meets with Matsuken, who presents Garcian with a choice: let him live, which allows Japan to mount an assault on the US; or kill him, which lets the US discover Japan's role in rigging American elections—US forces destroy Japan's last stronghold, Battleship Island, in retaliation. Regardless of the player's choice, Garcian finds that the last Heaven Smile is Iwazaru, whose real identity is Kun Lan, and kills him. However, Harman and Kun Lan are revealed to be immortal beings representing good and evil—the game concludes a century in the future in Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

 as they continue their eternal battle.

Development



Development for Killer7 began in mid-2002 as part of the Capcom Five
Capcom Five
The Capcom Five is a set of five video games unveiled by Capcom in late 2002 and subsequently published beginning in March 2003. At a time when Nintendo's GameCube console failed to capture market share, Capcom announced five new GameCube titles with the apparent goal of boosting hardware sales and...

, a set of games overseen by Shinji Mikami
Shinji Mikami
is a Japanese video game designer best known for creating the seminal survival horror series Resident Evil. He also contributed to some of Capcom's most popular post-32-bit era franchises, including Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, and Ace Attorney, where he served as an executive producer...

 and intended to be exclusive to the Nintendo GameCube
Nintendo GameCube
The , officially abbreviated to NGC in Japan and GCN in other regions, is a sixth generation video game console released by Nintendo on September 15, 2001 in Japan, November 18, 2001 in North America, May 3, 2002 in Europe, and May 17, 2002 in Australia...

. Capcom produced the games to bring new intellectual property to the industry, which the company viewed at the time as stagnate. Killer7s gameplay mechanics were finalized late in development because most resources went to story and visual work. Director Suda51
Goichi Suda
, is the CEO of Grasshopper Manufacture. The "51" in his nickname, Suda51, is a pun on his given name. In Japanese, "Go" means 5 and "ichi" means 1. His works include Moonlight Syndrome, The Silver Case, Flower, Sun and Rain, Michigan, killer7, the No More Heroes series, and most recently, Shadows...

 wrote the scenario based on a plot he conceived together with Mikami, and later decided on the unconventional control scheme as a deconstruction
Deconstruction
Deconstruction is a term introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1967 book Of Grammatology. Although he carefully avoided defining the term directly, he sought to apply Martin Heidegger's concept of Destruktion or Abbau, to textual reading...

 of how gamers play and to "create new expression". Complex controls and combos were omitted to present a system that fosters easy progression for the player. Producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi described the controls as "intuitive" and stated that the team wanted players to "think when they are playing" so they can enjoy the mystery in the story. The long development process culminated in several delays, the last of which was due to an artistic desire to release the game on July 7 (7/7).

Suda51 drew influence from film noir
Film noir
Film noir is a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations. Hollywood's classic film noir period is generally regarded as extending from the early 1940s to the late 1950s...

, particularly the theme of multiple personality disorder
Dissociative identity disorder
Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis and describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities , each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment....

, and called Killer7 a "hardboiled
Hardboiled
Hardboiled crime fiction is a literary style, most commonly associated with detective stories, distinguished by the unsentimental portrayal of violence and sex. The style was pioneered by Carroll John Daly in the mid-1920s, popularized by Dashiell Hammett over the course of the decade, and refined...

 action-adventure
Action-adventure game
An action-adventure game is a video game that combines elements of the adventure game genre with various action game elements. It is perhaps the broadest and most diverse genre in gaming, and can include many games which might better be categorized under narrow genres...

". Hiro Sugiyama, Peter Saville, and American comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 artists, such as Adrian Tomine
Adrian Tomine
Adrian Tomine , a popular contemporary cartoonist, is best known for his ongoing comic book series Optic Nerve and his periodical illustrations in The New Yorker.- Biography :...

, inspired the artistic design and aesthetic. Suda51 noted the inclusion of cel animation
Traditional animation
Traditional animation, is an animation technique where each frame is drawn by hand...

 in Western and Japanese anime
Anime
is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

 styles was meant to legitimize games as an art form by competing with traditional art forms in their stage. Kobayashi commented that Killer7 is "styled more as an interactive story than a traditional game." Suda also drew from yakuza film
Yakuza film
is a popular film genre in Japanese cinema which focuses on the lives and dealings of yakuza, also referred to as the Japanese Mafia.-Ninkyo eiga:...

 Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Deathmatch
Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Deathmatch
is part two of a series of yakuza films directed by Kinji Fukasaku.-Cast:*Sonny Chiba as Katsutoshi Otomo*Kinya Kitaoji as Shoji Yamanaka*Meiko Kaji as Yasuko*Toshie Kimura as Mrs...

. His experience as an undertaker
Funeral director
A funeral director , also known as a mortician or undertaker, is a professional involved in the business of funeral rites. These tasks often entail the embalming and burial or cremation of the dead, as well as the planning and arrangement of the actual funeral ceremony...

 had a powerful effect on the portrayal of death in his games. The game also reflects his interest in professional wrestling
Professional wrestling
Professional wrestling is a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.Roland Barthes, "The World of Wrestling", Mythologies, 1957 It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, which mimic a title match combat sport...

; Suda51 included a luchador character, MASK de Smith, and conducted interviews and attended promotional events while wearing a lucha libre
Lucha libre
Lucha libre is a term used in Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries, for a form of professional wrestling that has developed within those countries...

 mask. Reflecting on his work, Suda51 considers Killer7 his proudest achievement.

Reception



Killer7 received divisive reviews and sparked debates about depictions of sex and violence in video games
Video game controversy
Violent video game debates often center on topics such as video game graphic violence, sex and sexism, violent and gory scenes, partial or full nudity, portrayal of criminal behavior, racism, and other provocative and objectionable material. Video games have been studied for links to addiction and...

 and the status of video games as art. James Mielke of 1UP.com
1UP.com
1UP.com is a video game website owned by IGN Entertainment, a division of News Corporation. Previously, the site was owned by Ziff Davis before being sold to UGO Entertainment in 2009....

 likened the game's high-contrast art style to noir and neo-noir
Neo-noir
Neo-noir is a style often seen in modern motion pictures and other forms that prominently utilize elements of film noir, but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements or media that were absent in films noir of the 1940s and 1950s.-History:The term Film Noir was coined by...

 film such as Se7en
Seven (film)
Seven is a 1995 American thriller film, which also contains horror and neo-noir elements, directed by David Fincher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker. It was distributed by New Line Cinema and stars Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, R...

. He found that despite poor pacing and stilted gameplay, the "quirky scripting and edgy plot" were strong draws, and called Killer7 one of "most artfully designed footnotes in gaming history". Edge
Edge (magazine)
Edge is a multi-format computer and video game magazine published by Future Publishing in the United Kingdom. It is known for its industry contacts, editorial stance, distinctive anonymous third-person writing style, yearly awards and longevity....

magazine's reviewers echoed this sentiment and predicted that the game would "[pave the way] for future creative leeway", crediting the director with an unwavering artistic vision. Eurogamer
Eurogamer
Eurogamer is a Brighton-based website focused on video games news, reviews, previews and interviews. It is operated by Eurogamer Network Ltd., which was formed in 1999 by brothers Rupert and Nick Loman. Eurogamer has grown to become one of the most important European-based websites focused on...

's Kristan Reed was keenly aware of the game's limited appeal, calling it "a concept game, an arthouse game, a simple game, an often beautiful game, but most certainly never an everyman's game". Yahtzee Croshaw
Ben Croshaw
Benjamin Richard "Yahtzee" Croshaw is an English comedic writer, video game journalist and author of adventure games created using Adventure Game Studio software. He writes articles for Australia's Hyper magazine, a major games publication...

 of The Escapist
The Escapist (magazine)
The Escapist is an online magazine covering video games, gamers, the gaming industry, and gaming culture. Published by the Themis Group, it was edited by Julianne Greer up to June 30, 2009, then by Russ Pitts through September 2011, and is currently edited by Steve Butts. The Escapist was first...

looks to the game for "showing exactly what can be done when you flaunt all established convention and just start exploring what can really be done with gaming as an art form".

Virtually all aspects of the game had their proponents and detractors. Greg Kasavin of GameSpot
GameSpot
GameSpot is a video gaming website that provides news, reviews, previews, downloads, and other information. The site was launched in May 1, 1996 by Pete Deemer, Vince Broady and Jon Epstein. It was purchased by ZDNet, a brand which was later purchased by CNET Networks. CBS Interactive, which...

 praised the unity of "great-looking camera work with simple controls" and compared its "thought-provoking" storyline to Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid
is a videogame by Hideo Kojima. The game was developed by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan and first published by Konami in 1998 for the PlayStation video game console. It is the sequel to Kojimas early MSX2 computer games Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake...

, while a GamePro
GamePro
GamePro Media was a United States gaming media company publishing online and print content on the video game industry, video game hardware, and video game software developed for a video game console , a computer, and/or a mobile device . GamePro Media properties include GamePro magazine and...

reviewer criticized those features, calling the controls limited, the cel-shading
Cel-shaded animation
Cel-shaded animation is a type of non-photorealistic rendering designed to make computer graphics appear to be hand-drawn. Cel-shading is often used to mimic the style of a comic book or cartoon. It is a somewhat recent addition to computer graphics, most commonly turning up in video games...

 dull, and the story incoherent. Kasavin complimented the game's eclectic soundtrack, excellent voice acting, and distinctive sound effects, while the GamePro reviewer panned them as minimalist and irritating. IGN
IGN
IGN is an entertainment website that focuses on video games, films, music and other media. IGN's main website comprises several specialty sites or "channels", each occupying a subdomain and covering a specific area of entertainment...

's Matt Casamassina likened the control scheme to "old-school adventure games like Myst
Myst
Myst is a graphic adventure video game designed and directed by the brothers Robyn and Rand Miller. It was developed by Cyan , a Spokane, Washington––based studio, and published and distributed by Brøderbund. The Millers began working on Myst in and released it for the Mac OS computer on September...

and Snatcher
Snatcher
is a cyberpunk-themed graphic adventure game produced by Konami, originally released in Japan for the NEC PC-8801 and MSX 2 computer platforms in 1988. It was followed by a CD-ROM-based remake released for the PC Engine video game console in 1992, which was subsequently ported and localized into...

" and commended Suda51 for making a "cult hit", "erupting with style, mood and undiluted craziness". Casamassina was also impressed by the quality of the anime-style cutscene
Cutscene
A cutscene is a sequence in a video game over which the player has no or only limited control, breaking up the gameplay and used to advance the plot, strengthen the main character's development, introduces enemy characters, and provide background information, atmosphere, dialogue, and clues...

s featured in the latter half of the game.

The IGN, GameSpot, and GameSpy
GameSpy
GameSpy Industries, Inc., known simply as GameSpy, is a division of IGN Entertainment, which operates a network of game websites and provides online video game-related services and software. GameSpy dates back to the 1996 release of an internet Quake server search program named QSpy. The current...

 reviews noted the GameCube version features superior graphics, substantially faster loading times, and more responsive controls than the PlayStation 2 version, resulting in lower scores for the latter. Nintendo Power
Nintendo Power
Nintendo Power magazine is a monthly news and strategy magazine formerly published in-house by Nintendo of America, but now run independently. As of issue #222 , Nintendo contracted publishing duties to Future US, the U.S. subsidiary of British publisher Future.The first issue published was...

claimed that Killer7 is a "highly rewarding" experience for dedicated gamers. Nintendo World Report
Nintendo World Report
Nintendo World Report is a Nintendo-specific video game website that covers Nintendo's current consoles, the Nintendo DS, Nintendo DSi, and Wii.-History:...

 writer Karl Castaneda also remarked that, despite repetitive gameplay, it was "still fun". Charles Herold of The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

was less forgiving and commented that the lack of new features beyond the first hour made the remaining experience boring and annoying.

Despite its mixed reception, a number of video game publications recognized Killer7s unconventional gameplay and innovative style. At GameSpot's "Best and Worst of 2005" awards, the game was nominated for Best Story, Best GameCube Game, Most Outrageous Game, Most Gratuitous Use of F------ Swearing, and won Best New Character (Harman Smith) and Most Innovative Game. IGN GameCube similarly nominated it for Game of the Year, Most Innovative Design, and Best Artistic Design and awarded it Best Adventure Game, Best Story, and Best Game No One Played. IGN later named Killer7 the 20th best GameCube game of all time. The game had a large presence at the 2005 Nintendo Power Awards, winning Best New Character (Harman Smith).

In August 2005, Jack Thompson, an activist who campaigns against video games, demanded that the Entertainment Software Rating Board
Entertainment Software Rating Board
The Entertainment Software Rating Board is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings, enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines, and ensures responsible online privacy principles for computer and video games as well as entertainment software in Canada, Mexico and...

 (ESRB) change its rating for Killer7 from "M" (for Mature, ages 17 and up) to "AO" (for Adults Only, ages 18 and up). He cited Casamassina's review of the game at IGN, claiming that "full-blown sex sequences" present in the game would be harmful to minors. Casamassina rebutted that the scene in question involved two fully clothed adults and that a similar scene in a film would garner "only a PG-13 or, worst, R-rating".

Legacy and related media


Reviewers quickly identified Killer7 as a cult game
Cult following
A cult following is a group of fans who are highly dedicated to a specific area of pop culture. A film, book, band, or video game, among other things, will be said to have a cult following when it has a small but very passionate fan base...

 with limited appeal. IGN lamented that its experimental style was not conducive to high sales, naming it GameCube's Best Game No One Played in their 2005 awards. IGN's Casamassina later placed it fourth in his Top 10 Tuesday: Underrated and Underappreciated Games feature. Despite modest sales, Killer7s cult success prompted the development of remakes of Suda51's older Japan-only games, The Silver Case
The Silver Case
is a video game developed by Goichi Suda for Grasshopper Manufacture. The game was originally released only in Japan for the PlayStation, although a planned worldwide re-release for the Nintendo DS is currently in development.-Gameplay:...

and Flower, Sun, and Rain
Flower, Sun, and Rain
is a video game developed by Goichi Suda for Grasshopper Manufacture. The game was initially released for the PlayStation 2 in Japan on May 2, 2001, while an enhanced Nintendo DS remake entitled Flower, Sun, and Rain: Murder and Mystery in Paradise was released in Japan on March 6, 2008, Europe on...

. In 2007, Grasshopper Manufacture
Grasshopper Manufacture
Grasshopper Manufacture, Inc. is a Japanese video game development house founded on March 30, 1998 in Suginami, Japan. Grasshopper gained mainstream attention in 2005 for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2 game Killer7...

 released No More Heroes
No More Heroes (video game)
, is an action video game for the Wii video game system. It was directed by Goichi Suda , developed by Grasshopper Manufacture and published by Marvelous Entertainment Inc., Ubisoft and Rising Star Games...

to critical and commercial success. In addition to an original soundtrack
Soundtrack
A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the...

 and comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 adaptation, Capcom published Hand in killer7, a companion book that explains the plot in more depth. Kinetic Underground, the company that handled the comic book, also released a number of figurine
Figurine
A figurine is a statuette that represents a human, deity or animal. Figurines may be realistic or iconic, depending on the skill and intention of the creator. The earliest were made of stone or clay...

s depicting characters from the game.

Music


Killer7 Original Sound Track was released on June 20, 2005 by Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

. It features 61 compositions by Masafumi Takada
Masafumi Takada
is a Japanese video game music composer. His most notable work is the soundtrack composition for the three video games killer7, God Hand and No More Heroes...

 and Jun Fukuda across two discs. Takada put a large emphasis on ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

 due to the genre's ability to draw in the player. He called his soundtrack a "translation of the text" of the game and sought to retell the story through music. Carolyn Gudmundson of GamesRadar
GamesRadar
GamesRadar is a multi-format video game website featuring regular news, previews, reviews, videos, and guides. It is owned and operated simultaneously in the UK and US by worldwide publisher Future Publishing...

 praised the soundtrack's varied style, a "moody, atmosphereric base punctuated with spikes of manic energy". She singled out "Rave On", a track heard before mini-boss battles, as an excellent example of the latter. GameSpy's Phil Theobald had similar compliments for "Rave On" and other more subdued pieces that slowly "work [their] way into your mind".

Tracklist

Comic book


In 2006, Devil's Due Publishing
Devil's Due Publishing
Devil's Due Publishing is an independent comic book publishers in the United States. Based in Chicago, Illinois, DDP is best known for its wide selection of genres, including licensed and original creator-owned properties that populate its monthly comic book series and graphic novels.Though...

 released a comic book adaptation of Killer7, written and drawn by Kinetic Underground staff. The planned 12-issue limited series
Limited series
A limited series is a comic book series with a set number of installments. A limited series differs from an ongoing series in that the number of issues is determined before production and it differs from a one shot in that it is composed of multiple issues....

 was cancelled after four issues. Players who preordered Killer7 through EB Games received a special "Issue #0" as a bonus, and "Issue #½" was available at the 2005 San Diego Comic-Con. Writer Arvid Nelson described the story as a "mutant cross-breeding of John Woo
John Woo
John Woo Yu-Sen SBS is a Hong Kong-based film director and producer. Recognized for his stylised films of highly choreographed action sequences, Mexican standoffs, and use of slow-motion, Woo has directed several notable Hong Kong action films, among them, A Better Tomorrow, The Killer, Hard...

 and Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Jerome Tarantino is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence...

", and Devil's Due President Josh Blaylock commented that Killer7s style was perfect for the comic book medium. In adapting the game, Nelson admitted that the plot was streamlined to maintain a comprehensible story, but noted that the "video game doesn't spoon feed you information ... That's how the comic's going to be, too".