|No More Heroes III|
|Publisher(s)||Grasshopper Manufacture (Worldwide)|
|Lead Composer(s)||Nobuaki Kaneko|
|Series||No More Heroes|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 4|
|Release date||August 27, 2021|
|Genre(s)||Action-adventure, Hack and Slash|
PEGI 18 (PEGI)
No More Heroes III is an action-adventure hack and slash video game developed and published by Grasshopper Manufacture for the Nintendo Switch. It is the fourth and final installment in the franchise and the third numbered entry in the mainline No More Heroes series.
Following an 11-year hiatus since the last numbered entry, the game follows professional assassin Travis Touchdown's return to Santa Destroy, as he must defend the world from a powerful army of alien invaders led by the galactic overlord prince FU and his nine soldiers who adopt the façade of galactic superheroes.
Development of the game began around the completion of the spinoff title Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes in early 2019, which served as a prequel. The series' creator and director Goichi Suda had received many fan requests to make a third entry in the series after the release of the second game, but development on a new entry would be postponed for many years due to Grasshopper Manufacture working on other projects such as Lollipop Chainsaw and Let It Die. Upon the studio being shown the Nintendo Switch, Suda was inspired to return to the series, believing the games would be a fit for the console's audience, and allow for a return to the series' staple motion control combat via the Joy-Con controllers. Much like previous entries in the series, the game pays homage to and parodies pop culture media, taking inspiration from works such as Rocky III, Kamen Rider, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the filmography of Takashi Miike. Suda has described the game as the conclusion of Travis Touchdown's story.
No More Heroes III was announced at E3 2019 with a planned 2020 release, before being delayed into 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic slowing down development. Upon its release on August 27, 2021, the game was met with generally positive reviews, with critics largely praising the game for its presentation, story, writing, boss battles, and overall combat. However, the game received criticism for its technical performance, as well as its open world structure and pacing, which has been criticized as being repetitive and tedious.
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 "Tension Gauge" whereas taking damage depletes it, higher tension leads to longer and more damaging combos. When an enemy has had their health sufficiently depleted, the player is given a directional prompt to execute a "Killer Slash"; 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 able to perform a variety of professional-wrestling techniques on stunned or diverted enemies to deal greater damage and instantly recharge the Beam Katana's battery. Defensive maneuvers exist in the form of blocking and dodging; if the player times a dodge correctly against an incoming attack a Perfect Dodge is executed, causing enemies to enter a slow-motion state and 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.
New additions to the series' staple combat mechanics include the "Death Glove" carried over from Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes. The Death Glove allows the player to perform a teleporting dropkick. An additional three unique skills are obtained that can aid in combat, which include the ability to perform psychokinetic throws, the ability to set up a sentry that automatically fire projectiles at enemies in a radius, and the ability to set down a field that slows down enemies within the radius. All skills operate on a cooldown timer. If the player rolls a jackpot on the Slash Reel, represented by triple sevens, the player is able to activate one of two "Full Armor" modes, which boost the player's attack options and allows them to fire projectiles. A different form of the Full Armor is employed for shooting defense missions; a new side activity which take the form of shoot 'em up mecha battles where the player must defend the planet from large scale aliens.
The player can return to Travis' motel in between missions to upgrade various stats such as their health and weaponry, which compared to previous entries, now utilizes a unique form of currency. Scrap parts derived from battle missions can be sold off for additional currency or used at the motel to construct Death Glove chips that provide various unique stat modifiers, and the player can also order consumable items in the form of sushi that give players stat boosts in battle, such as increased damage or reducing the Death Glove's cooldown timer. At the motel, the player can also play minigames with Travis' cat, customize his wearable attire, collect capsule toys from a gashapon machine, engage in a combat tutorial room, or use a time machine to revisit past bosses.
Eight years before the start of the series, a young boy named Damon Riccitiello goes to launch his rocket in the air at night after a failed attempt when he sees something crash into the woods and encounters an injured small alien larva named Jess Baptiste VI, nicknamed FU (pronounced "Foo") by Damon. Damon decides to take care of FU while hiding him from government agents who are also searching for him. While searching for a way to return FU to its planet, Damon and FU become best friends, forming a strong connection. After discovering a piece of alien technology at FU's crash site, Damon is imbued with alien powers and assists FU in building a spaceship. They say goodbye to each other, with FU promising to return in 20 years. FU finally goes home just as government agents attempt to capture him.
Twenty years later (two years after the events of Travis Strikes Again), an adult Damon is now the CEO of Utopinia — an urban renewal company — utilizing FU's alien abilities and technology to become rich and powerful. An adult FU returns to Earth in a large spaceship and reveals to Damon that he became a prince after returning to his home world, earning the royal title of Jess-Baptiste VI, only to be exiled to an intergalactic prison for destroying a neighboring planet out of boredom. He announces their intention to team up with Damon and take over Earth by employing the popular trend of superheroism. Travis Touchdown, the formerly top ranked assassin who had returned to Santa Destroy following years of self-imposed exile, awakes to his city being invaded and fends off waves of aliens together with fellow assassins Shinobu Jacobs and Bad Girl. He successfully stops the invasion by killing its commander Mr. Blackhole, the first of FU's companions.
After executing the President of the United States on live television, FU announces the establishment of the Galactic Superhero Rankings; a ranked ladder with himself at the top, serving as an open invitation to the strongest fighters to determine the fate of the planet. Still aggrieved by Blackhole's death, FU accosts Travis and his friends at the No More Heroes motel. In the ensuing skirmish, FU incapacitates Travis before dismembering Shinobu and killing Badman when he arrived to her aid. The battle leaves Shinobu in a critical coma and Bad Girl devastated over her father's death, compelling Travis to enter the rankings to fight his way to number one and stop FU. Sylvia Christel, Travis' wife and Damon's secretary, assists him in setting up the ranked battles. During Travis' ascent, he encounters an assassin named Native Dancer, who infiltrates the ranks and claims to be from the future. Though uninterested in Native Dancer's story, Travis instinctually spares him during their battle. Later, Travis then fights a grown-up Kimmy Howell (whom Travis spared in the second game) when she kills the seventh ranked alien; Travis reluctantly kills her.
Travis also spares the life of the fifth ranked fighter Midori Midorikawa after they are intercepted by Travis' friend Kamui Uehara, who reveals that she joined the rankings after a misunderstanding and that the two are in a relationship. During a battle with mass-produced versions of Destroyman, Travis befriends the superhero and wrestling champion "Notorious", who assists Travis in training. While Travis climbs the ranks, Damon acts on his own to kill Travis, first by hiring a contract killer who is killed in an accident, then by receiving a device that will allow him to kill one person who he chooses. Eventually, FU decides to deal with Travis and kills off his two remaining companions so Travis can face him. After making his way to the second rank, Travis is ambushed at the motel by his brother, Henry Cooldown, who still resents Travis for events that followed their shared traumatic upbringing. After Travis defeats and seemingly kills Henry, he is ambushed and murdered by Henry while using the toilet.
After dying, Travis is sent to the world of "Deathman", a video game that he grew up with, whose protagonist brings Travis back to life with help from Takashi Miike. Joined by the recovered Shinobu and Bad Girl alongside Kamui, Notorious and Native Dancer, Travis heads to Damon Tower to fight FU, forcing him back to his larval form with everyone's efforts. FU decides to flee back to his planet, only for Damon to betray FU by detonating an explosive placed on the ship and kill him. Damon explains that he himself masterminded the alien attack as part of his plan to kill Travis for punching him. Damon transforms Damon Tower into a planet destroying mecha, but Travis successfully defeats it after summoning an Arsenal from Daemon X Machina. Travis and Damon finish their fight on a derelict battlefield in the style of Super Smash Bros, where Travis strikes Damon so hard he is completely vaporized.
In a post-credits scene, Travis and his friends give Badman a burial at sea before they are attacked by an alien armada led by FU's father, King Jess-Baptiste V. They are saved by future versions of Travis and Sylvia's children Jeane and Hunter, who also confirm their relation to Native Dancer as Travis' grandson Scott. They explain that Henry kills Travis in the future and teams up with an alien force to destroy the planet, asking an aghast Travis to join them to help them change the future.
- Travis Touchdown (voiced by Robin Atkin Downes) - Has returned to Santa Destroy to stop the alien invasion of the Galactic Superhero Corps. He gains abilities with the Death Glove.
- Sylvia Christel (voiced by Paula Tiso) - Travis' wife who also works as Daimon's secretary.
- Shinobu Jacobs (voiced by Kimberly Brooks) - Travis' self-proclaimed pupil who aides him in his fight against the Galactic Superhero Corps.
- Bad Girl (voiced by Kathryn Fiore) - Formerly Travis' rival who aides him in his fight against the Galactic Superhero Corps.
- Badman (voiced by Steve Blum) - Bad Girl's father returning from his involvement in Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes.
- Dr. Juvenile (voiced by Jennifer Hale) - A legendary genius engineer who lives on holograms, Dr. Naomi's sister, and is the creator of the Death Drive MK-II.
- Jeane (voiced by Ike Amadi) - Travis' pet cat.
- Henry Cooldown (voiced by Mark Allan Stewart) - Travis' twin brother and Sylvia's ex-husband who's also the leader of the Order of the Emerald Night.
Galactic Superhero Corps
- Jess Baptiste VI aka FU (voiced by Noshir Dalal) - A galactic conquering prince, the leader of the Galactic Superhero Corps, and No. 1 in the Galactic Superhero Rankings who was exiled and sent to Blackhole Prison for destroying a neighboring planet.
- Paradox Bandit (voiced by Paul Mercier) - No. 2 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Sonic Juice (voiced by Christian Lanz) - No. 3 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Sniping Lee (voiced by Stephen Oyoung) - No. 4 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Midori Midorikawa (voiced by Kelly Ohanian) - No. 5 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Velvet Chair Girl - No. 6 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Vanishing Point (voiced by Mark Allan Stewart) - No. 7 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Black Night Direction (voiced by Paul Mercier) - No. 8 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Gold Joe (voiced by Stephen Oyoung) - No. 9 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Mr. Black Hole (voiced by Scott Whyte) - No. 10 in the Galactic Ranking.
- Damon Riccitiello (voiced by Max Mittleman) - CEO of Utopinia and FU's childhood friend.
- Notorious (voiced by Ike Amadi)
- NT Kamui (voiced by Max Mittleman)
- Kimmy Howell (voiced by Jennifer Hale)
- Native Dancer (voiced by Scott Whyte)
- Destroyman (voiced by Josh Keaton)
In June 2019, No More Heroes III was announced at E3 2019 in the E3 Nintendo Direct with a 50-second teaser.  The game was revealed to be made in the Unreal Engine 4, the same as Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes and it was to be a Nintendo Switch Exclusive.
As of November 2019, the game was estimated to be 35-45% complete. In detailing the open world, Suda emphasized that the size of the open world would be modest compared to productions by larger scale studios such as Ubisoft and Rockstar Games, though he also confirmed that while the game's budget isn't the biggest a Grasshopper Manufacture game has had, it is the biggest No More Heroes game in terms of scope and design. While minigames were confirmed to return, Suda expressed intentions of providing extra side activities that would be something "greater [and] different than your standard minigame." Compared to Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes which was largely designed around Suda wishing to commemorate indie games and Grasshopper Manufacture's history, the development team designed No More Heroes III heavily around fan feedback and what they believe fans look for in a No More Heroes game.
In December 2019, it received a new trailer and extended, uncensored version at the Game Awards pre-show. However, it was jokingly revealed as a game titled 'Goddamn Superhero' focalised through the two characters. Shortly afterward, the extended cut received some backlash for allegedly plagiarizing an animation effect, the matter was officially settled shortly afterward. In January 2020, Suda did an interview with online journal 'Shacknews' stating: "Short answer is that [Suda] is going to experiment lot [..] With the script he has done, he has experimented with a lot of new things and everyone else is working hard to try and add something new to the formula...".
On the 30th January, they are hosting a 5 ho-r live-stream in collaboration with Dommune with new information and music to be revealed.  They released the first soundtrack: a boss theme titled "DEAD ORCA FORCE". 
The planned release was initially 2020, possibly Q2 or Q3 based on the release schedule Nintendo released in January 2020. However, on September 9, 2020, Goichi Suda announced that the game has been delayed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Darick Robertson, the famed illustrator that is best known for comics such as The Boys and Transmetropolitan, will be providing illustrations to promote the game.
No More Heroes III headlined the Nintendo Direct Mini Partners Showcase on October 28, 2020, which showed off an unobscured representation of gameplay, as well as confirming the return of Badman from Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, and Shinobu Jacobs. The trailer was followed by the announcement of ports of No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle that would release the same day for the Nintendo Switch.
The game was featured on the February 2021 Nintendo Direct showcase, showing new footage of bosses and the return of side missions, as well as confirming the game's release date. A selection of the game's main cast and voice actors was confirmed at this time, including the return of Bad Girl and Henry Cooldown. Marvelous, who are publishing the game in Japan, announced a No More Heroes III dedicated livestream event for April 8, 2021, hosted by Suda, Mafia Kajita, and Shishiro Botan from Hololive. Several side missions, locales and cutscenes were previewed during the event, and a new series digest trailer premiered which recapped the story and showed updated game play. A Japan-exclusive "Killion Dollar Trilogy" was also announced which bundles all three No More Heroes games with packaging art by Yusuke Kozaki, the Japanese website was updated to feature new game play details, and retailer exclusive purchase bonuses were confirmed, including exclusive in-game shirt designs.
The soundtrack of the game is written and produced by Nobuaki Kaneko, drummer of Japanese alternative metal band Rize. While having had experience composing music for film before, No More Heroes III is his first time making music for a video game, and described the experience as requiring a different mindset, having to emphasize consistent tension and making sure tracks can loop. The process would involve sending Suda a variety of different tracks, and letting him decide if they are suited for any of the game's specific moments. The experience making music for the game inspired Kaneko to create his own band; Red Orca. The band's debut single "Orca Force", which released October 2019, was originally made for No More Heroes III, and an alternate version of the track called "Dead Orca Force" is featured in the game as a boss track. Kazuhiro Abo, lead composer of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, is also providing additional music contributions for the game.