I recently spoke with No More Heroes creator Suda51 about a previously unexplained moment in Travis Touchdown history. Specifically, I found out the story behind Travis’s unique look in the 2019 reveal trailer for No More Heroes 3.
Disheveled, bearded, and wearing a neck brace, this middle-aged gamer playing Ape Out wasn’t the same man No More Heroes fans had grown to love. At least, not for the first few minutes. Shortly after this scene in the actual game, Travis hits a button on his Switch-esque Death Glove and suits up into Iron Man-style mecha armor before returning to his prior well-coiffed, fresh-and-clean look.
It’s one of many surrealist, high-flying moments that are thrown at No More Heroes 3 players with little-to-no explanation. Fans of the franchise have more or less learned to just go with it when stuff like talking cats turn up, or previously buxom scientists turn into trees. Personally, I assumed the neck brace was there to help Travis heal from the beheading he received in Travis Strikes Again from John Winter, a character based on famed game developer Jeff Minter. As it turns out, there was even more to the story than that.
According to Suda:
“Oh yeah, I meant to mention this in Travis Strikes Again or afterwards, but in the years between that game and No More Heroes 3, Travis got jumped by Kimmy Howell. You know how she was stalking him in No More Heroes 2, and said she’d be back to kill him after she got stronger, before Travis spared her life. Well at some point between those two games, she hit him with a surprise attack, but he got away alive, and was healing up back at the No More Heroes motel. You’re actually the first person from the press to ask me about this.”
At this point, Suda’s translator and friend James Mountain let me know that he’d actually asked Suda about this a while ago, but at the time he said “I don’t remember.” So I wasn’t actually the first to ask, but I was the first to get an answer, which is fun.
It’s also nice to get a little extra context for why Travis ends up having a final confrontation with Kimmy later on in No More Heroes 3. The two engage in a fierce rap battle, among other things, before drawing their laser swords for one last time. I was personally saddened to see the way things turned out between them, as I always hoped Kimmy would become a playable ally in the series someday. I see now why Travis wasn’t feeling as forgiving.