The Monster Rancher series is experiencing something of a comeback. Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX are about to appear on multiple platforms around the world again. These will be updated versions, complete with PocketStation features. The Monster Rancher 25th anniversary is coming up. To help find out what went into the new ports and could happen, Siliconera spoke with Executive Producer Kazumi Fujita.
Jenni Lada: How long were the Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX ports in the works? How involved was the process?
Kazumi Fujita: From the time we created the official Twitter account for the series it’s been over two years now.
We incorporated a lot of feedback from fans in order to make the game even more fun, and I feel like we were able to create a version of Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2 that we are really proud of. I think just how satisfied we are with the end result outweighs all of the time and effort we put in.
How did you pick and prepare the new monsters that appear in Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX?
Fujita: The monsters that were exclusive to the Japanese and global versions of the game are all included in Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX.
We created new monsters based on what we thought would be really interesting to have in the game, and discussed amongst the team to get everyone’s different ideas while creating them.
Rather than CDs, Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX uses a music database to create monsters. How did you make that summoning transition and how difficult was it to implement?
Fujita: It was quite a challenge to develop the new database, all the way from the time we came up with our initial plan for the game to the actual implementation of the system. However, ultimately we were able to create a database of songs that I feel meets the needs of the current generation of players. You can still experience all the fun of obtaining monsters from songs without the need for physical CDs. There are roughly 600,000 songs in this original database, and anyone can choose whatever song they like to obtain different monsters. I feel like this has only made the game more fun to play.
The PocketStation mini-game is available in this release. What made you decide to include it and how is it integrated into the game?
Fujita: The main reason for including this was that we wanted to ensure that players could enjoy everything that was included in the original titles. Now players can enjoy all of the mini-games with just the game itself.
What kind of fan feedback did you see when it came to asking people to offer CD database suggestions for monsters in Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX? Did any suggestions come across as especially interesting or surprising?
Fujita: We received a ton of different feedback from fans. After hearing all of their different opinions, I thought it was vital to ensure they could enjoy obtaining monsters from songs, as that is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Monster Rancher series.
As I noted previously, we added in a new song database to accommodate this, which allows players to enjoy the same fun they had in the 90s without the need for physical CDs. Also, I was really surprised by just how attached users were to each of the monsters. Judging by all of their feedback, I felt like they all really cared for them.
What kind of rebalancing of monsters did the team end up doing for Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX?
Fujita: We made sure to respect the parameters and data of the original games when developing this version of Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2, while also incorporating various feedback we received from fans as well.
What are the chances of Monster Rancher 3, 4, and EVO getting similar treatments?
Fujita: While we don’t have anything to reveal just yet, as we are approaching 2022, the 25th anniversary of the Monster Rancher series, the team and I are working really hard to ensure we can meet all of the expectations of our fans.
If you had a chance to create Monster Rancher 6, how would you like to change the series? What new feature would you like to try and implement?
Fujita: I don’t have any particular comments to make about that at the moment. I think the lifeblood of the Monster Rancher series is all of our communication with the fans. I think systems that allow all of the players to get really excited on social media are very important. As I noted previously, we are approaching the 25th anniversary of the series, so we hope to bring more news that can meet the expectations of our fans in the future.
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX will appear worldwide on the Nintendo Switch, PC, and Apple iOS devices on December 9, 2021. It is available on mobile devices in Japan. The Monster Rancher series 25th anniversary will fall on July 27, 2022.