A 12-part comic book series based on Killer7 was published. They were published by Devil's Due Publishing, and re-told the events of the game with added dialogue and scenes to better convey the original concepts.
The player controls the on-screen character, a member of the killer7 group, from a third-person view using the gamepad. The gameplay consists of elements of first-person shooter and action-adventure game 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 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. Smiles that get too close will explode and injure the character. If a character dies, players can use Garcian Smith to retrieve the fallen character's head and bring them back to life; if Garcian dies, then the game ends.
Defeated Smiles yield "thick blood" and "thin blood". Thick blood functions similarly to experience points, 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 of the characters such as "power" and "speed". This also unlocks special abilities for the characters. Players may save their game to a memory card in designated Harman's Rooms. Thin blood is used to recover the characters' stamina and fuel special abilities.
Completing the game unlocks another character "Young Harman" together with another level "Killer8". Completing Killer8 unlocks "Hopper7".
Setting and charactersEdit
Killer7 takes place in an alternate version of Earth in the early 21st century. After a treaty ends all international conflict, the world powers destroy all nuclear weapons 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, pandemic disease, and cyberterrorism, the International Ethics Committee (IEC) shuts down all air travel and public use of the Internet. Air transportation is replaced by a system of intercontinental expressways. However, a new terrorist group called "Heaven Smile" appears, targeting the United Nations (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, their principal means of attack.
In this Earth, Japanese politics 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 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.
The player controls the members of a group of assassins called the "killer7". The group is led by an elderly man in a wheelchair named Harman Smith, who exhibits "Multifoliate Personae Phenomenon". This condition allows him to physically transform into one of his seven assassin personae: African American Garcian Smith, aggressive Irish American Dan Smith, barefoot Japanese American female KAEDE Smith, albino Briton Kevin Smith, Puerto Rican Coyote Smith, young Chinese American Con Smith, and Mexican American luchador 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, 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.
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 rangers who assassinate a US politician.
The central plot arc concerns the true nature of US–Japan relations. After a volley of two hundred intercontinental ballistic missiles are fired at Japan, the US government 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. 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 learns that Japan uses Coburn to control the vote of the US presidential election. 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 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 and wipe Japan off the map. 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 a dialectic struggle between opposites, which persists a century in the future in Shanghai as they continue their eternal battle.
- Harman Smith - is a 60-year-old American assassin, of Irish descent. He is capable of manifesting seven separate personalities; the group is collectively known as the Killer7. Despite his great age, he is as physically fit as a young man. During his lifetime, Harman regularly played chess with Kun Lan and would often defeat him, while at the same time attempting to stop him from using his terrorist organization, the Heaven Smile, to destroy the world. His weapon, a Barret M82 anti-matériel rifle, holds the power of the "God-Killer."
- Garcian Smith - is a 33-year-old American assassin, and the reincarnation of Emir Parkreiner. Garcian alone has the ability to converse with Harman's alter egos; this is also true as the briefcase he carries is revealed during the game's conclusion to hold the various weapons of the Smith Syndicate. Christopher Mills would regularly meet with Garcian to debrief him on missions that required the expertise of the Killer7. Hand in Killer7 reveals that he was killed and absorbed by Harman in his past life, which may indicate towards Parkereiner being taken in by Harman after the incident at the Union Hotel. His weapon, a suppressed SIG P230, is eventually replaced when, at Coburn Elementary School, Garcian reclaims the golden gun he used as Emir Parkereiner. Garcian has the power to resurrect Harman's fallen personae. When a member of the Killer7 is killed in action, they leave behind their own head in a bag, which Garcian must then retrieve, earning him the nickname, "the Cleaner."
- Dan Smith - is a 33-year-old American assassin, of Irish descent, and the most aggressive of the Killer7, earning him the nickname "the Hellion." In his past life, he was born in Detroit, Michigan, and a member of the Union7 political party who was ultimately murdered in room #601 of the Union Hotel, by Emir Parkreiner. Before reincarnating as one of Harman Smith's personae, Dan served the Seattle self-defense force under Curtis Blackburn's tutelage, but was killed by him without remorse after being wrongly accused of stealing from Blackburn's organ trafficking business, Pedro Montana being the true culprit. Dan holds a strong grudge against Blackburn because of this. According to the game's instruction manual, he also hates Harman Smith, and according to the Hand in killer7 Dan has tried to kill him in the past. His weapon, a Colt Python .357 revolver, is eventually replaced when, at Ishizaka Land, Dan claims the Demon Gun, a powerful revolver featuring two barrels and a twelve shot cylinder. Dan has the power of the "Collateral Shot," which is the only attack capable of destroying Duplicator Smile. It has also been referred to as the "Demon Shot" and "Demon Shell". As a member of the Killer7, he is aggressive and irreverent, regularly using the phrase, "This is too easy," after hitting a Heaven Smile's weak point. Dan Smith is intensely disliked by Con Smith, and shares a fierce and violent rivalry with Coyote Smith.
- KAEDE Smith
- Kevin Smith
- Coyote Smith
- Con Smith
- Mask de Smith
- Samantha Smith
Development for Killer7 began in mid-2002 as part of the "Capcom Five", a set of games overseen by Shinji Mikami and intended to be exclusive to the GameCube. Capcom produced the games to bring new intellectual property to the video game industry, which the company viewed as stagnant. Killer7's gameplay mechanics were finalized late in development because most resources went to story and visual work. Director Suda51 wrote the scenario based on a plot he conceived together with Mikami, and later decided on the unconventional control scheme as a deconstruction 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, particularly the theme of multiple personality disorder, and called Killer7 a "hardboiled action-adventure". Hiro Sugiyama, Peter Saville, and American comic book artists, such as Adrian Tomine, inspired the artistic design and aesthetic. Suda51 noted the inclusion of cel animation in Western and Japanese anime styles was meant to legitimize video 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 Battles Without Honor and Humanity: Hiroshima Deathmatch. His experience as an undertaker had a powerful effect on the portrayal of death in his games. The game reflects his interest in professional wrestling; Suda51 included a luchador character, MASK de Smith, and conducted interviews and attended promotional events while wearing a lucha libre mask. Reflecting on his work, Suda51 considers Killer7 his proudest achievement.
The game received polarized reviews due to its unconventional control scheme and complex noir plot. The game's score, visual style and thought-provoking story received wide praise from most critics as the best aspects of the game and lead to several accolades and nominations. While some reviewers appreciated the stripped-down controls and stylized arthouse approach, others panned it as confusing and restricting. Killer7 also sparked debates about depictions of sex and violence in video games and the status of video games as art. Despite modest sales, the game's cult success prompted the development of remakes of Suda51's older Japan-only games, The Silver Case and Flower, Sun, and Rain. In 2007, Grasshopper Manufacture released Suda51's No More Heroes to critical and commercial success. In addition to an original soundtrack and comic book 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 figurines depicting characters from the game.
- Killer7 is also the name of guns in Resident Evil 4 and Dead Rising.
- At one point, the Smith Syndicate characters were proposed for Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars but they didn't make it into the final product.
Box Art Edit
Merchandise and Advertisement Edit
External Links Edit
- The Bloody Heartland - fansite.
- Killer7 SINdicate - fansite.