Monster Hunter Producer On His Impression Of American Players

By Ishaan . July 18, 2014 . 9:00am

Monster Hunter has been gaining traction in the West these past few years, particularly in the case of Monster Hunter Tri and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, both of which have performed respectably. We’ve reached the point where Capcom openly acknowledge that an audience for the series exists in the West and are trying to nurture it through community events, livestreams, and even special in-game content.

 

While discussing the subject, we recently asked series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto about his impression of Monster Hunter players in the West, based on his experiences interacting with them in North America.

 

“This isn’t based on hard data, but just anecdotally, our assumption was that Americans would be more aggressive in their playstyle,” Tsujimoto shared. “But actually playing with people over here, I see that’s not the case.”

 

“People do tend to be very careful in their actions and they’re not actually as aggressive as I would have thought. So maybe there aren’t that many big differences [with Japan] after all.”

 

Tsujimoto added, “There are a lot of fighting game fans in North America, and because those games are based on a lot of the same kind of things Monster Hunter is—observing your enemy’s behaviour and trying to react against that—maybe it makes sense that that’s the way they play, because they have a fighting game culture as well.”

 

Food for thought:

Tsujimoto also joked that his hometown of Osaka, which is where Capcom are located, tends to have louder players than other places in Japan. He said to us: “One thing I can say as a bona fide Osakan is that people in Osaka… we like to talk. Because as a multiplayer game, you get together adhoc, and people talk a lot and they talk loud. So it’s definitely a much louder affair in Osaka than in other places.”


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  • Kaijumaster

    After almost 30 years are we really still such a mystery to Japanese developers?

    • Limbless

      I suppose the flipside of that is, can you tell me about the average Japanese player?

      Really, though, I think it should be mandatory for all developers to visit Japan if they’re not from there, or America/the UK if they are. Y’know, and other places. The thing I want most in the world is for people to find similarity between each other, which is more likely to be found with proximity, when it’s so easy to imagine a bogeyman across an ocean.

      • Thomaz Barros

        I just think developers should make games they think is fun instead of trying to reach “the newer player market” or the “western market”.

        • http://blackstar2661.deviantart.com/ SilverSpades

          I can agree, but it only works for so long, until you realize you have your own market, and the business side of you comes out and tries to think of ways to attract more people.

          Sounds like a hard thing to do, mixing passion/ business. You have to keep your artistic integrity while at the same time, making money.

          But usually those who hold on to the former get more respect from their fans, like Suda51. Killer is Dead (which Suda wrote) didn’t do so well financially but many people on the net bought the game out of respect for Suda’s vision and ridiculously fun plots while not trying to cash grab with his games.

          • Thomaz Barros

            Lets be honest though

            From a business perspective which game have succedly transitioned into a more succesful franchise by trying to get into the “Call of Duty” market?
            Fuck, forget the Call of Duty market. Which game have successfully change to get into the “western” market?

            The only game which comes to my mind is Resident Evil, in which RE5 is the biggest seller of the history of the franchise and RE6 is a pretty damn good TPS game(even if a lousy horror one). And even those were really bashed critically

          • triablos

            I consider myself more of a Japanese gamer but I prefer newer REs over older ones. however I’m not a fan of horror games (usually due to limiting ammo, dark environments, jump scares, TINY ASS CORRIDORS) I actually find games like Dark Souls more scary and tense because you can really feel in danger without all that clichéd horror stuff.

            I found RER to be a fun game though

          • http://blackstar2661.deviantart.com/ SilverSpades

            I’m not saying I support it, I’m saying I can understand why people aim to get more buyers. It doesn’t have to be Easterners trying to gain Western audiences or vice versa, just trying to appeal to a wider audience.

            This is pretty much the whole process of making comic book movies. You take a property that appeals to a certain group of people and blow it up cinematically while making changes to appeal to a wider audience.

            As always, results may vary. I think if it always failed,though, they’d have stopped trying. The fact that they keep trying new ways to gain followers says something about any of those that successfully do it.

        • HarakiriKami

          That only works if you get more people with diverse backgrounds and a strong project leader who can get everyone to come together to make a really deep,fresh and fun game that spans culture. Nintendo does this and that’s how they became a dominant force in the industry. Enix used to be able to do this as well.

    • Tarkovsky

      And Western devs know exactly what Japanese players want am I right?

      • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

        No, the point is you can’t make assumptions about what an entire country is going to enjoy. This has been a major hurdle to releasing games, films, comics, novels and more worldwide and I may never understand it.

      • idrawrobots

        They should, more or less.

      • AndyLC

        All they need to do is release a dating sim starring Emma Watson. Milk those piggu otaku for all their monies.

    • DanijoEX ♬ the Cosmic Owl

      Who’s to say? That would be up for debate, perhaps.

    • Albel

      Well in all honesty, it’s not like american devs care about anyone BUT america… Except for microsofts bizarre jrpg phase, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone talk about the potential japanese market.

      • FrancoDHorse

        If Lost Odyssey and The Last Remnant were products from MS going into a bizarre JRPG phase, then I welcome it wholeheartedly.

        • http://blackstar2661.deviantart.com/ SilverSpades

          So true, I swear I almost bought a 360 over a PS3 because of those games.

    • scdk

      Despite the “international” and “connected” nature of our world now, people still tend to segregate themselves in many ways. Despite the international reach of the web, the language barrier is often as strong as geographical ones.

      Often what we see of other countries is limited to what selective tidbits are brought over by media and multilingual netizens. The average person in the US still probably has some stereotyped notion of what Japanese people are like, perhaps being thought of as extremely polite and passive, or perhaps Japan being this ultra-progressive wacky place of technology and fashion.

      As for the image of the US… well, we tend to project that image, especially with our military and movies.

      Anyways, I think the real answer to player behavior in game is due to the structure and rules of the game itself. MH has pretty harsh consequences to messing up, so it’s really in players’ best interests to play cautiously — they’re simply adapting to the conditions and choosing the best playstyle.

      • Ni ~Algidus~

        >Japan being this ultra-progressive wacky place of technology and fashion.

        hahaha. that is true. i really want to see someone’s face when they happen to know how the Japan that isn’t Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka is

        • HarakiriKami

          Imagine their surprise when fax machines are still in use, but everyone roams with their Suica cards about the town

    • Kaijumaster

      My thinking is more on those who are tasked with presenting a product to as large an audience as possible.

      For example when SAO hit it big in 2012. in early 2013 The creator came over for Sakuracon, while there he asked questions to identify what SAO we got and what we wanted, he asked if we had/wanted the novels for instance. And said he would speak to his publisher when he got back, now we have the novels coming out.

      What could the average japanese gamer say about us and vice versa. certainly there would be a lot of ignorance there. but 10 years into the Monster Hunter franchise the people responsible for marketing it should be aware, and advising the people creating it.

    • HarakiriKami

      Yeah because the majority of us are fucking idiots and casuals

  • Thomaz Barros

    In the eyes of the world all Americans act like a 90′s action movie star

    I can’t say its not true.

    Hasta la vista baby

  • Zazon Zenzy

    Hahaha, talking out loud isn’t only Osakan’s nature. Even me and my friends shouted out loud all the time while playing in panic and “immersion”.

  • Hyero

    My friends and I might as well move to Osaka then. Whenever we play together we’re always yelling about things and having a great time.

  • 하세요

    After playing with both communities for awhile, I can say it’s really not that different. There are plenty of skilled hunters on both end, as well as newbie and troll ones (I cannot find a decent Daren lobby anymore, I swear.)

    The only real difference I’ve noticed is Japanese players don’t really trash you for gear – they trust you know what you’re doing and just play. As long as you play your part and don’t die, it’s all good.

    • Pyrotek85

      Oh God, I still remember the gear trashing way back when FFXI first launched in NA. The NA players were horrible, you’d be all but required to have expensive and rare equipment, and they’d be obsessed with trying to pull and fight higher level mobs for big xp (which was risky), versus quickly killing lower level stuff efficiently. I always preferred staying up late and playing with the Japanese players, it was generally a much better experience, at least during the time I played.

      • AndyLC

        I remember getting into a JP party in XI. I thought we’d be going to Qufim to level through the 20′s but instead they chose an obscure, deserted locale to fight beetles. Everything worked so smoothly the exp chains just kept on coming. Nice days…

        • Pyrotek85

          Yup, I remember the beetle place. Not only did they know the good spots, but they knew how to play with little downtime needed, so once you got a rhythm going it was the best. They really seemed to appreciate competent players too, it was great.

          By contrast, most NA players wanted to fight Very Tough or Incredibly Tough mobs, which you could sometimes just barely kill. You’d have tons of downtime, and God help you if you get an extra by mistake. Plus the tank really needed to know his stuff and have good gear, there just wasn’t much room for error.

      • 하세요

        When I was on XI, I started off as White Mage so as long as I healed correctly, people didn’t give me crap as I was the lifeline of the group, lol.

        But starting off as a DD or a tank, yeah you’re gonna get hell.

        • Pyrotek85

          I was a red mage myself, which meant I got pushed into the healing role too, until level 40 that is, then I was the refresh bot lol. But yeah I remember what a hard time the melee guys had.

          I remember many groups expected them to have expensive +acc gear (sniper rings I think? It’s been a while) which you needed for fighting higher level stuff. The gear generally didn’t have level requirements so it was possible to have them, but it wasn’t something you could just afford unless you had higher level jobs and it was your alt you were leveling.

          And thanks to the demand, the rare spawns that dropped them were camped 24/7 and the economy got ruined by people paying real money for gil in order to afford the ridiculous prices on gear they ‘needed’.

    • Namuro

      Oh lordy, the dreaded “Daren Quest”!

      Sometimes, I got so mad that I just stood my ground and tried to keep the troll from messing up (usually by just upswing them off the ship), but they always managed to commit suicide first.

      I got so close one time, though! Beating a trolled Daren Quest would be so satisfying! But it’ll never happen…

      Dammit, I hate those guys so much.

    • Black Heaven

      People trash talk you just because of your gear?? That does not sound pretty fun.
      Is that still present in MH3U now? I have yet to see those kind of people there. (Just got the game and am still playing)

      • 하세요

        Gen 3 was easy enough to the point where as long as you had the defense, your skills really didn’t matter since even elder dragons would tickle you.

  • AndyLC

    >>“This isn’t based on hard data, but just anecdotally, our assumption was that Americans would be more aggressive in their playstyle,”

    Translation: “I read those early reviews of Monster Hunter on the PS2 by American games journalists that got frustrated they couldn’t drink potions in the middle of being tail slapped by a wyvern, but am pleasantly surprised my US fanbase isn’t actually that dumb”

    Seriously man, the day I read those PS2 monster hunter reviews 10 years ago from mainstream american game journalists is when I realized there was a drastic divergence in taste between me and them going on.

    • GameTaco

      Even just glancing at a Metacritic rundown of the series, it seems plausible that it took until Freedom Unite for critics and at-home gamers to finally notice what Monster Hunter is and grasp what it’s all about. Now it’s one of Capcom’s hottest franchises.

      As I think someone mentioned in another topic, game magazines were the same way about Armored Core. That’s a series that steadily, vastly improved as it moved from the Playstation into the PS2, but each installment nearly always got middling scores because, for some reason, reviewers couldn’t figure out the controls. :/

      (If this double posts, it’s because Disqus screwed up a little on submitting it the first time)

      • planetofthemage

        In their defense, the controls for AC are super effed up without dual analogs, and even then they’re hard at first.

        • AndyLC

          The series came out before the dual shock controller, and it was a giant robot. I was an early import adopter though and actually thought the dual analog setup felt weird heh.

          • GameTaco

            The only thing I found weird about the controls was, if I remember AC2 correctly, it never actually used the analog sticks for *movement*. Maybe that’s the main complaint reviewers had.

            Everything felt natural to me though, even using the shoulder buttons to look up and down. Clicking the sticks in to activate Overboost was the best part, though.

            In fact, not having Overboost (or a decent booster in general) was the most painful thing about going back to the first game. There I’d be, beefed up with my heavy core and tank tread legs, and the mission would involve, like, the longest hallway ever or a step by step ascent up a tower. I think there was even one part that attempted some (pretty poor) platforming. :P

      • http://yaminoseigi.blogspot.com/ Yami no Seigi

        Armored core is one of those game that have very steep leaning curve but once you figured out it is really rewarding. Gotta be proud of myself for beating Zinaida in PSP

    • HarakiriKami

      Impatience lol

    • Eilanzer

      …not 10 years ago…pick a bunch o reviews of this year and you can see these “journalists” talking noob crap about any game.

  • SetzerGabbiani

    Interesting comments from Tsujimoto. The general perception of Americans from overseas always gives me pause.

    Anyway, I just got into Monster Hunter with 3 Ultimate, but it has already created a massive paradigm shift in my gaming tastes. Where it was primarily RPGs, survival horror, Assassin’s Creed (sandbox) and Mass Effect, Monster Hunter came along and really planted itself within my gaming psyche. I knew there was a change when all I could think about at work was how I could efficiently take down different monsters. Also, I feel like the adaptable nature of the Switch axe (and presumably the Charge Blade) really synch with my personality. Finally, it got me to start playing online…I’m typically a solo gamer, but MH has opened that door.

    Real life insights can be gleaned from playing this series.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      I actually agree with this. To take Tsujimoto’s fighting game comparison a little further, like you said, Monster Hunter’s weapons do bring out aspects of your personality, just like fighting games tend to do that with their characters.

      I’ve had an interesting progression in terms of weapon usage in MH. I got my start in Tri like a lot of people, and at first, the only weapon I was really comfortable committing to was the Sword & Shield, because it’s a relatively quick weapon that affords you a lot of manoeuvrability. Eventually, I found SnS’ low range and low damage simply wasn’t worth the effort, so I ended switching to the Light Bowgun in 3 Ultimate, which became my primary weapon for about 70 hour of my time with that game.

      Bowguns are great because you have the manoeuvrability, but you can also put out some really satisfying damage, especially if you have Rapid Shot on your guns. It was perfect. Ultimately, though, I began to miss the risk and impact involved with up-close-and-personal weapons, so I began looking through all the melee equipment again, and ironically ended up settling on Switch Axe, which is the farthest you could possibly get from SnS.

      It really is interesting how Monster Hunter will do that to you. While each of the weapons are very distinct, experience definitely travels across weapons to an extent. Using Bowguns taught me a lot about positioning and distance and allowed me to get a feel for monster movement, which I now apply to the Switch Axe.

      • SetzerGabbiani

        I never got into playing with ranged weapons, but I clearly see their advantages for part-breaking and grounding airborne monsters when I fight with people online (Diablos and Rathalos raids come to mind).

        You are absolutely correct about experience transfer. The few times I’ve used other melee weapons, I’ve found it easy to adapt to the new style…Broadsword and Hammer being the easiest because of their similar maneuverability restrictions to the Switch Axe.

        • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

          Yeah, I’m very curious to see if SnS and Switch Axe skills transfer over to the Charge Axe in MH4. And there’s been absolutely nothing like the Insect Glaive up until now, so I’m very curious to try that, too, especially because of the increased mobility. Gah, so many neat weapons in MH4. The only thing I miss is the Medium Bowgun, haha.

          • http://oneweakness.com/ PRIZZA

            If you become a SB (Stylish Bomber) with the SnS you’ll see its true power. This guy has a great write-up: http://bombch.us/mbx

            When I last played I focused on Charge Blade and some HH, but I haven’t given it much time lately.

    • Zalin

      Nice to hear that monster hunter has done so much to change you’re gaming tastes. I wish more people would try out more games like this and others that japan has to offer, because they have so many games that are top notch but go vastly unnoticed.

  • MaidKillua

    Speaking from experience (both personally and from seeing others online) I would say the most aggressive MH players are probably European. Though to be fair a lot of them don’t know what they’re doing, cart 3 times and make us drop the quest, I see a lot of EXTREMELY aggressive dual sword users taking every possible opening and always staying close and dishing out tons of damage (my own personal playstyle too). I’ve been booted from a lot of American lobbies because of gear (some people mentioned people being assholes about gear further down too) but not by anyone from ANY other region

    • http://www.uraportfolio.net Lieke

      That’s actually quite a big assumption from your part. Because what I have experienced is nothing like this. I personally have not gotten to play with US-gamers until MH3U came out and from my experience EU or NA is no different from each other in style of gaming. But I have to say that through Wii to Wii U in general we have alot more younger players, who are not interested in the “meta-game” aspects of the game or otherwise and this I personally experienced in MHtri. That might quite well what you have experienced. The only minor thing that might effect EU players in this is that we have so many countires here that I for example do not want to or am not wanted to join a room with people from italy or germany.

      • MaidKillua

        Which is why I said based on personal experience, not that it is just objective fact. Other peoples experience may have been different definitely. But most of the time when I play, fellow Europeans are much more aggressive. Not that that means they’re better of course. Like I said, a lot of them fuck it up

  • HarakiriKami

    Americans play lots of Streetfighter and Dark Souls.

    Monster Hunter is like that :>

  • Kornelious

    I agree with the fighting game part at least, But I don’t see MANY hardcore hunting game fans, but I know for a fact that a lot of people LOVE Japanese games (Me included)….So maybe we aren’t that different after all (Except for CoD head’s :P)

  • MaskedHeroxx

    Lol im a big fighting game mybe thats why I like monster hunter so much…

    I find alot of my friends know nothing about monster hunter and how amazing it is..I remember buying the first one wasent into it as much but when it hit psp and became portable , ,playing with friends that shit was the best

  • Ultimaniacx4

    But…In a game with a bunch of monsters with set attack patterns and weapon classes that have set abilities, you’d think it wasn’t “we play similarly” as much as “some people just understand how the game works.”

    I can see how styles come into play during fighting games because it’s pvp but not so much in pve.

    • Pyrotek85

      Exactly. Against the CPU you’re going to have people independently coming to the same conclusions since it’s actions are more limited. And of course the designers intend for the game to be played a certain way, that’s how they test and balance it.

  • Armageddon

    I wonder what whould happen if MH had PVP.Just wondering.

  • ShadowDivz

    “who would have thought the gaijins like monster hunter!”
    Board of directors start laughing.

    Probably how it really went down…
    Just kidding. xD

    • Ric Vazquez

      LOL

  • Ric Vazquez

    There are more MH fans than he think he knows, the MH4U hype is killing me XD

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