No More Heroes 3

Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: Travis Touchdown is awesome, and he’s a huge reason No More Heroes is so great. It’s important to emphasize that this is not an anti-Travis piece. That said, I’d like to play devil’s advocate. Speaking to GameXplain, No More Heroes creator and director Suda51 said he would be open to making a spinoff starring fan-favorite Shinobu. And though the series’ fate isn’t entirely up to Suda, a sans-Travis entry could definitely work. It could even be a really exciting chapter for the franchise — with the perfect protagonist, that is.

During the interview, Suda explained why Travis Touchdown works as a hero: He has a moral compass and often does the right thing, but he can also be kind of an ass. He’s a flawed protagonist, so he’s relatable. In fact, Suda51 stated that there’s a little bit of him in Travis, and that many times when Travis doesn’t do the right thing, that’s Suda experimenting with what he personally wouldn’t do if he were in any given situation. I guess the dopey otaku lead of No More Heroes is a little more complex than we all thought!

It’s that mild complexity and likability that make Travis Touchdown an excellent hero — or anti-hero. With a different main character, it’s hard to say that the first No More Heroes would’ve been as memorable as it ended up being. But now that we’re a few entries in, and with Travis returning in No More Heroes III, there’s no denying that Mr. Touchdown is a staple of Grasshopper Manufacture’s arcade-y hack-and-slash titles. As such, his replacement couldn’t be just anyone.

No More Heroes 2 - Shinobu

Obviously, the best replacement for Travis Touchdown would definitely be Shinobu Jacobs. She’s a highly skilled assassin who was playable for a bit in No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. Travis’ opponent-turned-protege was really fun to play as in that game. Shinobu had different attacks from Travis, but the hacky, slashy basics were the same, giving her a unique edge while still allowing her to be familiar to No More Heroes players. Quite frankly, I’d say forget a spinoff — Shinobu would be an awesome protagonist in No More Heroes IV whenever that happens.

A spinoff should really be reserved for a character who isn’t Travis or Shinobu. Someone like Bad Girl, who’s returning in No More Heroes III, would be great in a spin-off of the series. Personally, I’d love to see her in a prequel to the original No More Heroes that leads up to her encounter with Travis. Seeing her back story, and getting an idea as to why she’s as ruthless as she is, would be pretty cool. Not to mention, it would be a lot of fun to smack enemies upside the head with that baseball bat of hers.

No More Heroes - Bad Girl

Another character who would be fun to play as is Destroyman. He’s super annoying, sure, but there’s a lot to build around gameplay-wise. For starters, unlike Travis, Shinobu, and Bad Girl, he’s strictly a melee guy, mainly using punches, kicks, and rush attacks. That would give him a vastly different feel than a lot of the other characters in No More Heroes. He also has his patented Destroy Buster attack, which would be satisfying to pull off after filling a super meter. And because he’s a mailman by day, that could lead to some fun delivery side quests and minigames.

No More Heroes - Destroyman

Alternatively, it would be cool to play around as a few of the series’ best assassins. It’s unrealistic to expect every single character to get their own game, especially since assassins like Dr. Letz Shake and Death Metal would be a little tough to build an entire game around. But a spinoff that focuses on the rise of some of the more popular characters would be fun and could lead to some nice variety in gameplay. For example, maybe we could see a 2D shoot-‘em-up level starring Holly Summers or a more platform-centric Dark Star stage.

Suda51 said it would probably be about ten years before we see a new No More Heroes game. That’s fine, because for a series that’s been around for nearly 15 years (since the days of the Wii), it still feels special. When a new game does happen, though, it’ll be great to see what direction No More Heroes goes in. If we don’t get to play as Travis Touchdown, that won’t necessarily be a bad thing, because the franchise has a lot of really cool characters to tap into, killers like Shinobu and Bad Girl being chief among them.

No More Heroes III

But that’s the distant future of the series. For now, we can look a little closer ahead as we eagerly await No More Heroes III, which is due out August 27, 2021.

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