How Monster Hunter has evolved – Interview with Ryozo Tusjimoto
Monster Hunter has made some huge leaps and innovations since it was first introduced on the PS2. The Monster Hunter 3 producer now talks about how Monster Hunter has evolved and gives us some more insight on the series.
Capcom’s Ryozo Tsujimoto reveals how Monster Hunter has evolved on Wii
For Monster Hunter Tri producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, the imminent arrival of the Wii exclusive title in Europe represents
what he calls the “next step”. After helping to lay foundations for the future success of the series outside of his native Japan, it is his hope that gamers in the west will soon be embracing the upcoming adventure with a measure of the feverish enthusiasm exhibited by his compatriots.
As grand as that ambition may seem, Tsujimoto-san has reason to be optimistic. For while Monster Hunter Tri is considered the next step in the process of captivating a wider audience, it could, perhaps, be described as more of a giant leap forward in terms of how it builds on the core gameplay at the heart of the franchise.
The fundamental aim of overcoming multiple monsters remains intact, but the manner in which you get the job done has clearly evolved. For starters, Monster Hunter Tri features an actual single player campaign rooted in an involving storyline that casts you as a hero coming to the aid of the troubled Moga Village. When the once peaceful settlement is thrown into turmoil by the effects of an earthquake and the presence of a terrifying predator lurking in the nearby waters, you are sent to protect the villagers and help them rebuild. As your skills and hunting knowledge grow in the wild, you’ll find yourself becoming a key part of the community and, ultimately, their only hope in the face of grave danger.
On top of a new narrative element, hunters can also expect to stalk their prey underwater for the first time, face scores of freshly created foes (a whopping 15 of the game’s 18 bosses are brand-new for Wii) and take hold of powerful new weapons such as the Switch Axe. With the power to morph between two forms and a capacity to unleash elemental powers such as fire and ice with each attack, the Switch Axe offers experienced hunters a devastating new way to lay ruin to the enemy.
And there’s more. Building on the experience of previous Monster Hunter games, Monster Hunter Tri boasts a wild world that feels less like it revolves around you and more like a natural environment in which you must fight for your place in the food chain. For Tsujimoto-san and his team, there was a great deal of trial and error as they worked to construct a believable and balanced world that served up novel experiences at every turn.
“It was a hard process, because although this is a continuation of the franchise, we created the game from scratch for Wii. In previous Monster Hunter games it was a much simpler game world – hunter versus monster. However, in the breathing ecosystem of Monster Hunter Tri, both hunters and monsters are on an even keel. So whilst the hunters have to hunt to survive, monsters themselves will interact with each other. For instance, smaller monsters may form groups and gang up against larger monsters if those larger monsters stray into their territory. In general, the interactions you’d expect to find in a real ecosystem have been put into Monster Hunter Tri.”
“For example, you could go into a savannah field and watch a herd of herbivores as they simply feed on the grass – then, sometimes, a larger monster will approach and the herbivores start to act differently. They get nervous and jumpy, and you can watch the natural interactions going on in the world. Another example is the new torch item we’ve incorporated. Obviously you can take the torch into a cave or use it during the night to provide light. But soon you’re going to start realising that certain small monsters are afraid of the fire, so you’re not going to get attacked by them when you’re using the torch. Things like that add subtle depth and new dimensions to the game.”
As well as experiencing this unique and visually alluring world by themselves, Monster Hunter Tri players will also have access to a free online multiplayer mode that utilises Wii Speak to allow direct communication with fellow hunters. From chatting with up to three other players in the safe confines of an online City to exchanging battle cries in the heat of the hunt, Wii Speak takes the communal experience of Monster Hunter Tri to another level. Online gameplay will also offer unique new Quests, items and monsters for hunters to get their teeth into, all the while recognising the skills each person has acquired in the single player game.
These extensive online options, coupled with a revamped game world and the addition of stacks of newly created items have helped transform the Monster Hunter series into a whole new beast on Wii. Soon players in Europe will experience the phenomenon for themselves – hunting alone or together as they delve into a sprawling world that feels truly alive. For Tsujimoto-san, the satisfaction of seeing the game’s transformation has been every bit as big as some of the behemoths players will soon be locking horns with. But despite playing a huge part in instigating the wholesale changes that shape Monster Hunter Tri, he’s still found some of his greatest satisfaction in the game’s simple pleasures:
“Obviously, there are various control options for players such as the Classic Controller, but one of the things I’ve enjoyed most is controlling the game with the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. It’s refreshing, because with action games you tend to get really tense, but now I can recline and relax as I play! I recommend everyone tries the game this way!”
Monster Hunter Tri will be in shops 23 April, only for Wii.
[Source: Nintendo UK]