No More Heroes III is an upcoming action-adventure hack and slash video game developed and published by Grasshopper Manufacture for Nintendo Switch.
No More Heroes III is an upcoming action-adventure hack and slash video game developed and published by Grasshopper Manufacture for Nintendo Switch. It is the fourth installment in the franchise and the third entry in the mainline No More Heroes series. Following an eleven-year hiatus since the last numbered entry, the game follows Travis Touchdown's return to Santa Destroy, as he must defend the world from an alien invasion of an incredibly powerful army led by a galactic overlord prince and his nine assassins. The game is scheduled for a worldwide release on August 27, 2021.
No More Heroes III is a third-person action-adventure hack and slash game where the player assumes the role of the professional assassin Travis Touchdown, who must climb to the top of the Galactic Superhero Rankings. The game marks a return to the series' open world format last seen in the first game and has the player explore a man-made metropolitan archipelago, taking on various side activities such as part-time job minigames, and defense missions where the player must battle waves of enemies. Unlike past games, the open world is split into five unique islands, one of which includes the series' staple fictional city of "Santa Destroy". The player can traverse around and between the islands with Travis' new modified motorcycle; the "Demzamtiger", though travel between objectives can also be expedited via a fast travel system. To progress in the game, the player must accrue enough money from missions to pay an entry-fee to a ranked battle. The player must then face off against one of the Rankings' top contenders in a unique boss battle.
Combat plays out as a hack and slash game in real-time. Similar to the previous mainline games, the combat is predominantly centered around Travis' signature "Beam Katana"; a sword with a blade composed of energy. The player can perform various light and heavy combos with the sword. Successful strikes power up the player's "Ecstasy Gauge" whereas taking damage depletes it, rewarding the player's ability to perform uncontested damage and providing several benefits. When an enemy has had their health sufficiently depleted, the player is given a directional prompt to execute a "Death Blow"; an unstoppable attack with large range that does heavy damage to adjacent enemies. Upon successful executions of enemies, the player activates the "Slash Reel"; a slot machine which gives the random chance of a currency bonus or a power-up. At times the player may lock swords with melee-based enemies, upon which they must perform rotation motions to counter the enemy. The Beam Katana runs on power represented by a battery that gets depleted during attacks, when fully exhausted the player is left vulnerable and must manually recharge it. The player is also able to perform a variety of professional wrestling techniques on enemies to break their guard, and can also perform blocking and dodging maneuvers; including a returning sidestep technique from previous titles that, if timed right, causes enemies to enter a slow-motion state, leaving them susceptible to a flurry of attacks. If the player falls in battle, they are given a random chance of a stat boost upon retrying.
Prior to development, Grasshopper Manufacture developed and released Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, which was Goichi Suda's first title in a directorial role since the original No More Heroes game. While the title was made in part as a tribute to indie games, Suda had expressed long-term intentions for the title to be a stepping stone on the path to a proper numbered entry. The ending of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes included a playable portion where Travis was controlled in third-person, similarly to previous No More Heroes titles, with a comment from Travis suggesting that development on a mainline sequel had properly commenced. Suda explained in an interview following the release of the game that the playable segment was a prototype they used in development, and that the intention behind its inclusion was to evoke a similar feeling that viewers get from the post-credits teasers in Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Suda also confirmed that he would be attending E3, and suggested he would be making an announcement at the event.
Suda had previously explained that the foes which Travis would go up against in the game would be "Avengers-scale" threats, using the recurring supervillain Thanos as a point of comparison. He also made note that Travis' "Death Glove" from Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes would make a return, in a bid to make Travis' skill set more distinct as a video game protagonist, and that the skills he accumulated throughout the game would come into play. In the reveal trailer, Travis uses the Death Glove to don powered armor, utilizing the signature catchphrase of Kamen Rider. Travis is once again voiced by Robin Atkin Downes, while Paula Tiso reprises her role as his wife, Sylvia Christel, who has abandoned the assassin world and is now an internet celebrity and influencer. At the time of reveal, Suda wouldn't confirm whether series mainstay Shinobu Jacobs would return, though he stressed that he wanted Kimberly Brooks to reprise the role in the event that she does. Suda later confirmed that Kimmy Howell from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle would be returning and had been redesigned by Ōkami and Bayonetta character designer Mari Shimazaki. It was also confirmed that series recurring boss character Destroyman would make a return in multiple variations, designed by Skan Srisuwan of Studio HIVE. Travis' twin brother and rival Henry Cooldown appears in the game redesigned by The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain illustrator Takashi Miyamoto, and is voiced by Mark Allan Stewart; having been recast after previously being portrayed by Quinton Flynn. Kamui Uehara from The 25th Ward: The Silver Case and Travis Strikes Again appears in the game as NT Kamui, redesigned by Goodnight Punpun writer and illustrator Inio Asano. Asano, who had met the series' lead character designer Yūsuke Kozaki at his sister's wedding, had expressed interest in working on video games, and was offered a guest designer role by Kozaki for No More Heroes III. A new character introduced in No More Heroes III is a mysterious ninja named Native Dancer, designed by Borderlands series art director Scott Kester.
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