In preparation for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, Siliconera recently had the opportunity to get in touch with Monster Hunter series producer, Ryozo Tsujimoto, and ask him a few questions regarding the series.
In our short interview, Tsujimoto talks about popular weapons, how the development team comes up with monster designs, and how Capcom gauge fan feedback.
Monster Hunter began in 2004, and we’ve seen several games in the series since. What would you say the defining trait of each game is?
Ryozo Tsujimoto, series producer: The Monster Hunter series can roughly be divided into experiences for consoles and portable machines. The console experiences focused on utilizing online Internet capabilities in order for users to interact and cooperate.
The portable experiences were designed for players to be able to enjoy the game without the need for internet connections, as they are able to carry the game around with them and enjoy the co-op action on the go. Titles that have the “G” moniker appended to them signify upgraded versions of previous entries to the series.
Since Monster Hunter is such a community-driven game, what kind of feedback do you collect from players for deciding on future developments for the series?
Various Monster Hunter-related events take place in Japan throughout the year, and members of the development staff make it a point to attend as many as they can in person. From attending these kinds of user events, we are able to speak to players directly and find out their honest opinions about the titles. Also, we often receive messages from overseas users that we use as reference as well.
Over the years, how has the Monster Hunter community changed, as more and more people have joined in? For example, have you seen players favouring certain weapons more over the years, and how does this influence the new weapons you come up with?
In terms of weapons, the Long Sword and the Great Sword are among the most popular armaments. The Dual Blades have always been a popular weapon for female gamers, and this has not changed in the past few years. One of the charms of the Dual Blades is that there is less of a focus on defending, and more on the beautiful attacks that can be performed, which is why female gamers might find it more appealing.
With regards to weapon and armor design, we always strive for the greatest amount of variation possible. We realize that each player has their own preferences when it comes to these kinds of choices, so be it cool, cute, or comical; we try to put in as much choice as possible for users to enjoy.
Do you have any particular process you follow while coming up with ideas for new monsters and how they’ll behave in the game?
There are different processes we go through when it comes to monster creation. When creating the main monster for a new title, the design, concept and specifications are decided on its unique traits, in addition to the field environment that we designate the monster to appear in.
We also just let our imaginations run wild sometimes! One example is the monster named Jhen Mohran; we came up with the idea for this monster based off an image illustration that showed a gigantic monster fighting with a character riding a sand boat. We were instantly hooked by the imagery and did our absolute best to implement that kind of action into the game to match it.
So from a game design perspective, the two main ways we create the monsters in the game are through exciting designs and situations.
When you developed the original Monster Hunter Tri, which is the basis for 3 Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, what did you hope to achieve that you hadn’t been able to in the past?
There have been a number of entries into the Monster Hunter series up until now, and we are always thinking of ways to evolve the gameplay with each new title. For instance, in one title, we added in support characters to help users playing alone, and in another, we added in more things for players to do in villages.
Looking at Monster Hunter Tri, instead of focusing on the monster types and characteristics, we focused more on improving the action and combat experience and taking it to new heights. The concept of monster stamina was also introduced in Monster Hunter Tri. In this way, we are able to evolve the gameplay with every title, and it helps us constantly push the boundaries of what is possible within the series.
What was the goal for Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate?
The 3DS version was developed first, and one of the goals was to utilize the dual-screen properties of the hardware to the fullest. That is where the inspiration to include the Target Camera features came from.
As for the Wii U version, it was important for us to have the title work together with the 3DS version of the game, as well as take advantage of the larger screen space available. We were also able to implement internet multiplayer for the Wii U, as well as voice chat functionality, which was a feature that was widely requested by overseas users.
Eighting (Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, Fate/Unlimited Codes) have worked on Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate as well. Could you tell us what they did?
They were involved as co-developers for the title. Capcom provided the majority of the direction for the title through the Director and the core team staff, and a lot of the actual implementation of that vision was handled on Eighting’s side.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate will be released on March 19th in North America and March 22nd in Europe for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.