Suda 51 searches for the mythical “middle audience”

If there’s anything to be said of the “middle audience,” it’s that they love ghost gimps.

Suda 51, the mad genius behind critically praised but commercially ignored Killer 7No More Heroes and Flower, Sun and Rain, believes he has the answer to Japan’s current game selling slump – appeal to the “middle audience,” those who walk the line between the so-called casual and hardcore audiences.

“Well, there are a lot of core gamers, and a lot of lighter users playing on platforms such as the DS – but there’s nothing in-between,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very important for games to be created for that middle audience, and that will help bring the market back on-track.”

“In Japan there are still core gamers, but since Nintendo released the Wii and DS a lot of people who never played games before are now playing. Those people that are playing the different types of games are growing, which is a good thing for the Japanese market.”

The distinction between casual and hardcore, unless we’re comparing polar opposites like Major Minor’s Majestic March and MadWorld, is already confusing enough without adding a third category, even though I personally believe more people fall into the so-called “middle audience” than either extreme. Developers already get way too caught up in these labels, making titles that are either too intimidating for inexperienced gamers or too simplified for experienced gamers. It’s an approach that’s hindering the creation of some of the greatest games yet to be made.

Just make good games, and the right audience will find you.