Deadly Premonition was a divisive title upon its release. It scored as high as perfect tens and as low as 1’s and 2’s. The title has since become a cult classic, propelling its eclectic creator, Hidetaka “SWERY” Suehiro, to an unexpected spotlight in the gaming industry.
However, SWERY’s been taking a break from the gaming industry for a while, due to health concerns. He’s dabbled in a bit of everything in meantime, from working on a novel to being a self-proclaimed “DrinKING” on Instagram. But it’s his newest move that’s perhaps the most out-of-left field.
As of this weekend, SWERY has been ordained as an official Buddhist priest.
“I actually became a qualified priest while I was a high-school student,” SWERY told IGN Japan. “Some 25 years later, I had forgotten this part of my identity – that I was also a monk. But last year I became seriously ill and had to take a prolonged period off work.”
He continued, describing what prompted his return to priesthood. “During that time I had more opportunity to talk with family and friends, to listen to music, venture off to faraway towns, acquaint myself with nature, stroke animals, smell the smells, read books and even write one, and I had a lot of time to reconsider things. For some reason, while doing all of this I became naturally magnetised to the world of Buddhism.”
The whole interview is deeply interesting, and worth a read. Speaking as a fan, this makes a whole lot of sense for SWERY. His games have a deeply humanistic, meditative streak to them, including his early work on Extermination and Spy Fiction. What has always spoken to me in his works is that, far more than the “quirky” or “odd” humor that most seem to latch onto.
I’m happy that SWERY has gotten back in touch with an older part of himself. Here’s hoping that, when he’s ready, he can use this experience to inform another great game.