During a recent interview with VentureBeat, series executive producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and producer Shintaro Kojima shared their thoughts on adding new featuring while keeping its MonHun feel, and about not aiming for an annual release.
Here are some highlights from the interview:
With Generations, you brought in a lot of old elements and old monsters and mixing them with new things. What were some of your development goals? What were you hoping to accomplish?
Ryozo Tsujimoto: It’s been more than 10 years since the series started in 2004. We wanted to celebrate the series’ history, now that we’ve passed that anniversary. We wanted this to have a festival feeling, a special event. That’s why we introduced some classic environments and monsters that veterans will pick up on, something to give it a nostalgic feel. But we’re also adding completely new monsters and areas at the same time.
We’ve also found that over the 10-plus years of series history, we’ve seen a lot of play styles out there from different hunters. Everyone has their own preference and we wanted the gameplay to reflect that in its mechanics, so everyone could play in a specialized way that suits them. That’s why we introduced new gameplay elements like hunter styles and hunter arts. That requires you to drill down into not just choosing one of the 14 weapons, but choosing one of the four styles as well. You can really say, “This is what suits me as a hunter.” You can show off your uniqueness.
What’s one thing that you would like to see in future Monster Hunter games, something you tried to do in the past but maybe couldn’t fit in?
Tsujimoto: We’ve been able to put just about everything we want into each project as we’ve gone along through the years. To be honest, even if there was something on the back burner that was coming up for a future title, I wouldn’t tell you. [Laughs]
Shintaro Kojima: I worked specifically on Monster Hunter Generations, and I’m really pleased that I was able to get all of my ideas into the game.
That was something I had wondered about as well, but you really nailed the feeling of making these moves look awesome without dumbing-down the game. What did you do on the development side to find that balance between bringing in these great-looking new moves and having them fit in the Monster Hunter universe?
Tsujimoto: We spent a lot of time on getting that balance right. As we mentioned, if you get the impression that they’re just big and flashy and they’re not Monster Hunter—just to reassure people, this is absolutely Monster Hunter gameplay. You can’t just go up and hit a move and it’ll blow a monster away. It’s still a game of reading the monster reactions, finding the right timing, dodging at the right time. It isn’t just a hack-and-slash game. You feel really cool, but it’s still up to you to be skillful. The game isn’t doing it for you.
We want to bring out a new kind of accent, a new kind of approach, while keeping true to the series. Capcom has done that before with games like Street Fighter. That’s a very long-running series, and after a certain amount of time you want to bring the action to a different level. You want to add more cool visual effects, or even totally change the visual style like in Street Fighter Alpha. But we’re always careful to make sure that when we reinvent a series, we don’t reduce it. We always stay true to the series’ core.
With Generations, we’ve seen two years in a row now that the U. S. has been lucky enough to get a Monster Hunter game. Is one of your goals going forward to make this an annual series?
Tsujimoto: Even in Japan, we’re not dogmatic about whether this is an annual franchise. We don’t have to release one every year. With the number of games that have come out in Japan, it may have wound up being annual, more or less, but it isn’t because we decided to make that a deadline.
Talking about the west, as you say, this is the first time we’ve had two years in a row with a new Monster Hunter game, which is great for our fans. We’ve seen a lot of feedback from players about the amount of time it takes us to bring a new game over from Japan. Localization has to be done. We’ve tried to refine that process and make it more efficient, so that we’ve been able to make that gap shorter and shorter. This is the shortest wait we’ve had so far. It’s still a matter of months, but in the past some titles have taken up to a year. We’re getting closer and closer to the Japanese release time frame.
In the future, I’d love to be able to reduce that wait even further and get Monster Hunter out simultaneously in the U. S. and Japan. We’ll keep doing our best to bring our games to western players as fast as possible. We appreciate everyone’s patience.
You can read the full interview over at VentureBeat.