Gung Ho Online Entertainment has been expanding the Ragnarok Online franchise by blending the series’ history with different game genres. They created the strategy RPG title Ragnarok Tactics for PSP and the PlayStation Vita hunting action game Ragnarok Odyssey which Xseed will release in October.
When Capcom brought Monster Hunter to PSP they started an ad-hoc hunting game craze in Asia, but this phenomenon hasn’t caught on in the West. What would make hunting games, like Ragnarok Odyssey, more popular here? We asked the game’s director, Kazuhiro Irie.
There really haven’t been many cases where titles that have grown popular in Japan performed just as well overseas. Ordinarily, I’d say you’d need to take a title that’s doing well, make it into a series and run a long-term promotion on it, and only then would it do well – so maybe one shouldn’t expect instant sales on games like this. Rather, I think it’s best just to build up the series’ reputation and create a good rapport with the fans, allowing the genre to grow naturally.
Also, when thinking of the North American and European markets, one tends to think of online play as being more important than the single-player campaign. The single-player game needs to be good, of course, but having exceptional multiplayer is absolutely essential to success, I believe.
And finally… this isn’t just limited to overseas fans, but for fans of hunting games in general, I think being able to play on a big screen is pretty important. The bigger, the better, especially in a game like this with enormous screen-filling bosses. I’m sure there are many people who would prefer a big screen to enjoy the intense, showy action this genre is known for, and there may be other players who would really prefer to play games like this with a controller, too.
Going beyond advertising and releasing more MonHun, what do you think can grow the hunting genre in the West?