Making monsters in unique ways is what the Monster Rancher series is known for and Monster Rancher DS (aka Monster Farm DS 2) is no exception. Players can create monsters out of drawings, words, and even their voice.
Koichi Yamaguchi, Producer at Tecmo, outlines the technology in Monster Rancher DS for us and hints at one feature he’s working on for the future.
It’s been awhile since the last Monster Rancher game. Can you tell us how Monster Rancher DS fits into the series and share a bit of the story?
Koichi Yamaguchi, Producer: This story takes place in different provinces of the same world as previous games in the series. The breeder assistant, Cleo, and Colt from previous games in the series are also in Monster Rancher DS.
What new monsters will we see in this game?
There are 3 new monsters in Monster Rancher DS.
Abyss – the tool of the god of death
Falco – the muscle wrestler
Zenon – A feared monster from the pantheon
Gali is my favorite monster. Though it was considerably difficult to reproduce Gali on the DS, the designer did a great job and almost exactly replicated the monster.
The magic pen monster making system is neat. Technically speaking, how did you create this?
An advanced algorithm is used to recognize the drawn figures. As a result, a different monster is born depending on the size, shape and location of the drawing.
What about the magic word system that uses the microphone. How did you develop this? Did you have to alter it to support English?
It was not that difficult to develop the magic word system, because there is a standard voice recognition program for the DS. However, the dictionary file had to be devised different from the usual way to correspond to all of the possible words that can be spoken. Of course, we also had to tune the system to support English.
I remember the Japanese version, Monster Farm DS 2, has a kanji to monster making system too. How is this going to be adapted for North America?
Unfortunately, the Kanji entry system is not available in the North American version. However, there is an English word entry system instead, where certain words will create powerful monsters.
I feel that we have taken full advantage of the features of the DS. The only other thing would be something similar to the monster creation system we did with the Game Boy Advance cartridges.
Outside of the DS hardware, we are working on a project to create monsters based on your Wi-Fi access point information.
Will we ever see Monster Rancher on a console again?
I believe and hope we will have a chance to bring the series to a console in the future…I will be very sad if it doesn’t happen.
However, it might be slightly different methodology on the console than what everyone would imagine it would be.