What Does It Take To Be Part Of Xenoblade Developer Monolith Soft?

By Sato . December 21, 2012 . 5:30pm

Up until now, Monolith Soft have mainly worked with freelance staff, which was an arrangement better suited for the company, which was smaller during their days as part of Namco Bandai. Now that they’re under Nintendo’s wing, they’re looking to take a big step forward, they shared in an interview series published last year.


Monolith Soft plan on developing games for the Wii U, while working closely with Nintendo, but say they want to do it the right way. In order to do that, they’ll need the right people. Since this is their first time working on HD software, they’ve been ramping up their staff.


Monolith been on a heavy recruiting stage since opening their new studio in Kyoto, Japan. Their openings include programmers, designers, managers, planners and more, and they’re welcoming any people with knowledge and experience with Havok software to apply. However, they do have their criteria regarding what kind of people they’d like to have as part of the team. Monolith Soft President, Tetsuya Takahashi, provides some insight on this front.


“Opinions may vary on this, but currently there is a mood in the game industry to think game designers who are not very interested in games are a kind of cool,” Takahashi feels. “Of course professional game designers should have much knowledge other than games, but, first and foremost, they must have a deep love of games.”


He continues: “In our case, applicants who’re dying to work on Xenoblade would be most welcome to join us. That’s because if you don’t know games well enough, you’d have no clue either objectively or relatively, where you are, what to compare, how much effort you need to complete your project.”


“Above all else, without knowledge of games, you’d lose sight of the most important thing—what customers are looking for in your game. That situation would look like a unfunny comedy, rather than a tragedy.”


Takahashi also goes on to talk about how having an experienced assistant script editor would be nice, since it would take a load off his back.


Meanwhile, Planner, Koh Kojima, adds that a younger person would be nice to have. In Kojima’s opinion, it would be okay if one didn’t have any experience developing games, as long as they could come up with something interesting. Experience can easily come along the way, but creativity is different, Kojima says. He adds: “Another big thing is being a skilled communicator. It’s an important skill to be able to express your ideas in a better manner.”


An example of a position they’re looking to fill is the Planner role. Kojima explains that, in the past, there were incidents where designs had to be deemed impossible due to realistic limitations, or had to be modified in order to convey the desired effect. However, with the current generation of hardware, thinking of these limitations is no longer the first and foremost factor the development staff need to keep in mind.


“What we’re looking for is whether you can truly think up something interesting,” says Kojima, emphasizing the need to be able to come up with systems that are fun for players, more so than being able to design plans for limitations that no longer exist.


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  • I cannot wait to see what Monolith has in store for the WiiU. Xenoblade was a phenomenal game that looked amazing even in SD. And that game was apparently just an experiment? The final product should just absolutely blow our minds.

  • Ethan_Twain

    Considering the quantity and quality of gigantic maps that were put together for Xenoblade, I can’t help but wonder what it is that they found impossible to do. What ideas could they have had that were more ambitious than what we got?

    • Probably more on the technical side of things. Something impressive about Xenoblade is that loading is very infrequent. The fields just stretch on and on and on, and you’ll never come across a load screen unless you’re moving to an entirely different area. When the game does load, the load times tend to be short.

      Once you upgrade to HD assets and there are more complex shaders and lighting and higher-resolution textures involved, keeping loading to a minimum gets harder. I’d assume that’s why they want someone that has experience with HD games—so they can anticipate these issues and figure out how to deal with them in advance. (Or at least minimize problems caused by the tech upgrade later)

      • Elvick

        That’s why I wish that graphics were pushed at a slower pace, so we could keep loading quick… and to keep performance consistent.

        But that’ll never happen. Makes me sad.

        • Well, if there’s one thing you can usually count on Nintendo developers to do, it’s to push functionality over pretty graphics, so in this particular case, I’m not too worried.

  • riceisnice

    I hope the need for HD doesn’t lower the game’s quality.

  • ShawnOtakuSomething

    I’ll be looking foreword to what ever they have planned.

  • Keyanf

    You have to know games to get hired? Well they may be trying to be Bethesda, but at least they aren’t trying to be Bioware.

    • Guest

      I think what they meant about the Bethesda thing is that they are trying to be like Bethesda in terms of being a more renowned studio across the west which Bethesda already is, and not be Bethesda in terms of how they do things internally.

  • I didn’t like Monoliths previous games. It wasn’t until Soma Bringer and Xenoblade that I fell in love with them. I love both games to death. I hope they continue moving forward and never go back to the boring traditional JRPG formula. Namco Bandai and Nintendo need to work something and release Project X Zone.

    EDIT – So many damn typos and grammatical errors.

    • Why you didn’t like previous Monolith games? Why you like Soma Bringer and Xenoblade? Previous Monolith Soft game like Xenosaga and Baten Kaitos were all that made the name to Monolth Soft. By rejection of previous Monolith games you just insult Takahashi.

      • Ethan_Twain

        Dude, I don’t think it’s an insult to someone if you like some of their works and not others. I like Star Trek TNG and DS9, but never Voyager or TOS so much. By rejecting those two am I insulting Gene Rodenberry? No, absolutely not.

        I too feel like Monolith’s recent games have been better than their older games. I feel like Monolith when it’s working inside the box of JRPG convention can be pretty good, but when they’re working outside the box and getting away from dungeon crawling and random battles they can achieve even greater things. Adherence to the form limits their potential.

        And that’s not an insult to Takahashi or any other staff member on any Monolith soft games past, present, or future.

        • Why are new Monolith Soft games better than old Monolith Soft games?

          • Because they don’t involve 45 minute cutscenes that actually ask if you want to save in between.

            (Just one reason off the top of my head)

          • So you seruously can’t sit on your sofa for 40 minutes? And there is the skip option.

          • No, I’m just not interested in sitting and watching a cutscene for 45 minutes when I play games to discover the story myself.

            I have nothing against cutscenes at all, and I’m still of that old-fashioned mindset where I feel like they can be a reward for completing an objective or a stage, but 45 minutes is way too long.

            Xenoblade, on the other hand, lets you discover the world and story by yourself, through exploration. It’s a more streamlined game, it’s more considerate of the player’s time, and it constantly rewards you for playing it. That’s what I love about Xenoblade. The fact that it tries so very hard to keep your attention.

          • MediaMindControl

            I never felt like cinematic sections need to ever be very long. I would rather discover the story through playing, not watching. Which is why I would play a game over watch a movie in most cases, and the 999 series is a perfect example of a game I found the story to be brilliantly tied in with gameplay. Also Cinematic sections in games aren’t at the quality that a film is, obviously since it is intended to be an interactive media, but if they used more interesting angles or something they could be more entertaining.

            with that said I just wish soma bringer came out here. Xenosaga’s card game was very addicting, and pace of gamepaly isn’t an issue in my mind. Like chess, it doesn’t have to be a flashy fast paced game for me.

          • Yeah, Soma Bringer is a huge pity. People don’t know what they’re missing out on. It’s literally like having a Diablo-esque game written by Soraya Saga on your DS. The world is super interesting and the customization is insane.

          • Morricane

            In other words: if I’d want to watch a movie, I’ll watch a movie? :)

          • Not that black-and-white, necessarily. For example, I love visual novels and I don’t look at them in a “If I want to read, I’ll buy a book” way. I think they strike a fine balance between a regular book and the advantages of a videogame (good music, images etc.).

            Same with games that do long-ish cutscenes. There’s a time and place for them. Xenoblade’s end-game cutscene is like 20 minutes long, but that’s okay, you know? It’s the end of the game and you don’t mind sitting back and being rewarded for the 80 hours or whatever you invested.

            But in the middle of a game, when you’d much rather be interacting with the other characters or doing fun battles or exploring new areas? Yeah, not so much. :P

          • Adding to this, if a game is going to ask me – repeatedly – to put down my controller and watch a movie for ANY period of time longer than five minutes, let alone for a period that’s a significant portion of the length of an ACTUAL MOVIE, I don’t think it’s too much to ask that it be on par in terms of cinematic quality with a movie I’d actually watch. Xenosaga’s cutscenes… aren’t. The directing is stiff and lifeless, the dialogue is subpar anime babble, and the voice acting ranges from mediocre to bad. Hell, the majority of cutscene-time is literally just characters standing still and talking (more often than not, spewing out leaden exposition by the bucketload) for minutes on end, possibly with the camera panning back and forth so the “player” doesn’t fall asleep. Never mind that that’s not how you make a video game – that’s not how you make a damn MOVIE.

          • Ethan_Twain

            I always felt like the older games had pacing issues. Xenosaga had the obvious issue with running cutscenes for the better part of an hour at not infrequent intervals. Baten Kaitos had more manageable narrative interruptions (though the narrative itself was pretty unremarkable) but there were pacing issues in the combat instead. The battles could drag on for so so long if you got bad luck with your cards or messed up a key combo in a hard fight.

            Special shout out to Xenosaga II which had interminably long cutscenes AND interminably long battles – not the best combination :)

      • Woah there, just because he doesn’t like a part of monolith’s library doesn’t mean it’s an insult to the developer. Are you feeling upset?

        • I’m feeling sad because people forgot what is Monolith Soft and who is Takahashi.

          • Morricane

            …just by not liking it? Come on…every single thing we create is a reflection of the circumstances the creator(s) was/were in at a certain point in time. Thus it is only natural that we might like something or dislike it even though we felt differently about the works before (or after). And, of course, we as consumers (individuals) keep on changing as well so it might be that our viewpoint changes over time as well. …why did I feel the need to say that now? Ah well…

      • I didn’t like anything about Xenosaga except KOS-MOS. The VA was terrible, 3D anime graphics were terrible combat was slow and boring, story was convoluted and stupid, cut-scenes were even longer than MGS cutscenes, characters were annoying. I didn’t like the card based combat in Baten Kaitos and that also suffered from a terrible localization. Endless Frontier had too many random battles and the battle system got old quick. I haven’t played the DBZ game.

        I loved Soma Bringer and Xenoblade because they were nothing like typical JRPGs. Soma Bringer dragged on as did Xenoblade but they were still fantastic. Both were beautiful, combat was real-time and fun as hell, fun characters, tons of content, amazing music, etc.

        • Are you serious, man? No, really? You just didn’t get the point of japanese games. And japanese games shouldn’t mutate into “fun” western bullshit. The point of JRPGs is deepness of characters and story.

        • Morricane

          “cut-scenes were even longer than MGS cutscenes” …I laughed at that. I don’t mind long cutscenes as long as they are interesting, though.

          Soma Bringer, IMO, suffered from the fact that it’s complete game balance was tailored towards multi-player. Going solo was annoying as hell.

          • I don’t mind cut-scenes either but there is a point when it’s just too much and Xenosaga reached that point. Metal Gear Solid cutscenes I can bare but even those tend to get annoying, when I replay the games I’m glad I can skip them. MGS4 is a much shorter game when you don’t watch them.

        • Kevi Johnson-el

          idk about u but I LOVE xenosaga more than xenogears and xenoblade which all of them are good lol well I didn’t like xenosaga 2 lol

      • Alfy Masamune

        what??? *facepalm*

      • Takahashi had nothing to do with Baten Kaitos, just fyi. Probably why those games were actually fun RPGs and not just conceptually intriguing trainwrecks.

  • Sam Park

    Shulk for SSB4 anyone?

    • Superior Spider-Man

      I want Fiora too… AND DUNBAN!!!….. AND MELIA!!!! Hell I even want Riki!!!!

      My brain overloaded.

  • I hope that in the next Monolith Soft game will be more deep storyline and characters.

  • psycho_bandaid

    It’ll be interesting for sure. I will probably get a WiiU in order to play Monolith’s first HD game.

  • ragingmerifes

    So I just have to learn japanese and study at HAL college in order to be a trainee? Worth it!

  • David García Abril

    God, I wish I knew Japanese AND had a Japan work visa so I could try!

    Oh, well, guess I’ll have to keep going forward. Maybe some day…

    PS: Earlier Monolith games were also awesome. “Xenosaga” is one of the best video game stories ever.

  • Anime10121

    Well, whatever they make, I’m game, there hasnt been a Monolith game yet that I havent liked (though I’ve yet to play Baten K).

  • Heartless ㅤ

    I wil buy a new Wii U just for their next game.

  • Monlith Soft and tri-Crescendo have flawless revords in my eyes. I am very excited to see what’s next for Monolith on the Wii U!

  • XypherCode

    Xenoblade 2 :)) lol

  • Abel.exe

    Would love to work in Monolith Soft <33

  • I was going to make fun of Takahashi on account of the legendarily poor management on his previous games, but that’s actually some pretty solid policy. Hopefully it yields results.

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