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Capcom talks Monster Hunter future: 'there are still so many people who don't know about the franchise'

IbizaPocholo

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At PAX West, I caught up with Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, one week prior to Iceborne's release. We spoke about players tackling Master Rank hunts for the first time, what to expect from upcoming title updates, and where Monster Hunter fits in with PlayStation 5 and Xbox Scarlett.

"There's definitely a general vibe of like 'Oh, I wonder how players will feel, we hope they like it,' Tsujimoto said, speaking through a translator. "There's probably going to be a moment of relaxing [at launch], just a little bit, but we're already moving forward with developing the upcoming title updates."

"Having worked on all the different updates for World, we do have that knowledge base and a lot of things we learned along the way. We have that benefit going into Iceborne – what works and what doesn't. We did experiment and figure out some different approaches [with World's title updates], so in that regard, it's the same kind of approach. It's also going to be about looking at player feedback. We have a general idea of how we want to approach it, but that can always change."

Aside from all the new monsters beating me to a pulp, one of the main things I focused on during Iceborne was the story. Simply put, it's stronger. The main quests and characterization are a step up. "We tried to shine a spotlight a little bit more and see how their narratives intertwine," he explained.

"With Monster Hunter: World, because this is a brand new title to the franchise that a lot of new players are coming into, this was the first introduction to a lot of these characters, so we felt like this wasn't the place to build a deep narrative on all the characters, especially because you don't know anything about them. With Iceborne, you have that history. We figured this was a good opportunity to be like 'Hey, you know that roster of characters? This is how they all come together.' You get to know them better."

That said, Iceborne's heightened sense of challenge is definitely the other focal point. For instance: the new elder dragon, Velkhana – it was one of the craziest, most draining fights I've undertaken in a video game in recent memory, and I mean that as a compliment. Master Rank doesn't mess around. Learning the fight, gearing up, and making full use of my entire toolkit got the job done.

According to Tsujimoto, Capcom "didn't want to stress on making [Master Rank] flat-out more difficult. We wanted to make sure that it's not about just raising the difficulty, it's about offering the player more variety in gameplay. For example, the elements associated with the monsters and yourself – what element is effective against which monster? What kind of armor and weapons do I have to wear? By strategizing around that, it definitely makes the experience smoother."

Looking further out, I asked Tsujimoto what he made of next-gen – PS5, Scarlett, the potential for cross-generation compatibility – and where Monster Hunter might come into play. "We're very much in the thick of things finishing up Iceborne," he prefaced. "All of our focus is on getting this done."

"Nowadays, you're looking at so many different kinds of hardware. Games are not [always] a single purchase. There's so many business models out there. I think it's important that you don't shoehorn something in for the sake of it. It's all about taking a look at the concept of the game, your ideas, making sure that those fit in with the hardware or the environment or the business model you're looking at, and making sure it's coming together in a very natural [way]. That's the general approach I take with any franchise, not just Monster Hunter. It's all about coming up with concepts first, and once we feel like that's a sound idea, figuring out where 'where do we take this?'"

"Regardless of the success of Monster Hunter: World, we've always taken the approach of focusing on two things: action and communication," said Tsujimoto. "Regardless of what we work on in the future, I feel like that's a foundation we're probably not going to change. We also understand that we do have a bigger player base, and yet, there are still so many people who don't know about the franchise."

"I think our approach to the games isn't going to change, but it's a matter of figuring out how to broaden our audience. For example, more events, different entertainment tie-ins such as a movie, kind of looking at it from a broader perspective."
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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I'm glad so many normies got into it. MHW was a necessary leap forward and I hope the franchise keeps gaining popularity for many more years. Flexing on monsters never gets old.

Monster Hunter Stories 2 and Portable 5, please? Thanks.
 
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Hinedorf

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There's still so many people who don't know about the franchise BECAUSE YOU ASSHOLES KEEP IT ISOLATED IN JAPAN

As a pretty diehard MH guy there's 2 big problems going for the MH franchise in USA.

1. Up until MHW these games were just not very intuitive or user friendly in ways games should generally improve over time. I'm talking basic quality of life improvements like being able to eat once you've started a mission. Most versions of the game in the past would punish you if you didn't remember everything you needed to prepare prior.

2. Iceborne already fixing MHW's mistakes - Clearly Capcom learned from the poorly optimized starting area from MHW as the new Iceborne hub is so much more convenient for getting around.

Going forward if Capcom wants people to recognize the MH franchise they need to clean up what poorly optimized messes they are compared to all the major quality of life improvements made with MHW/Iceborne

It would be an absolute disservice to Capcom to show off their old MH games because the only thing an American audience is going to do is say, 'wow these games were fairly shitty prior to the changes in MHW' and I say this as a guy who played those MH games on 3DS
 

ShawpLeeftor!

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Jul 1, 2019
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There's still so many people who don't know about the franchise BECAUSE YOU ASSHOLES KEEP IT ISOLATED IN JAPAN

As a pretty diehard MH guy there's 2 big problems going for the MH franchise in USA.

1. Up until MHW these games were just not very intuitive or user friendly in ways games should generally improve over time. I'm talking basic quality of life improvements like being able to eat once you've started a mission. Most versions of the game in the past would punish you if you didn't remember everything you needed to prepare prior.

2. Iceborne already fixing MHW's mistakes - Clearly Capcom learned from the poorly optimized starting area from MHW as the new Iceborne hub is so much more convenient for getting around.

Going forward if Capcom wants people to recognize the MH franchise they need to clean up what poorly optimized messes they are compared to all the major quality of life improvements made with MHW/Iceborne

It would be an absolute disservice to Capcom to show off their old MH games because the only thing an American audience is going to do is say, 'wow these games were fairly shitty prior to the changes in MHW' and I say this as a guy who played those MH games on 3DS
I remember my friends and I got really hype when Portable 3rd was announced but that died quickly cause it wasn't going to be released in the west. It was weird as Freedom Unite did so why not Portable 3rd? Thank goodness for fan translations though. We still got to play it in English, although only through less reputable means.
 
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Lanrutcon

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I think the series has a ton of room to grow, but is still stuck in the dark ages in certain aspects. If MHW2 just does the same thing again (and this is what they've done in previous generations: essentially released the same game over and over) then there will be no growth.
 
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Despite some flaws MHW has, it definitely contained what it needed to attract new players. I can't stand the story missions and find some of the mission mechanics to be a little unintuitive, but releasing it on all of the big platforms certainly made a massive difference. Playing on a 3DS was just an awful experience in my opinion.
 
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Spaceman292

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I don't know why they're surprised by this. Most of their design decisions seem to be purposefully making the series as impenetrable as possible.
 
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The biggest factor that put off my friends was having to see the cutscene of a monster before beign allowed to fight it with friends/send an S.O.S flare.

Given that hurdle is only there to facilitate the story elements, it seems totally counter productive to the game itself. If players don't want that, there should be an option to turn it off.
 

Ahjumbie

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I hope more do find it soon because it seems to be a pretty barren wasteland ant the moment online, for me and my friends at least. Since Iceborn released I haven't been in a room with more than 3 people max and almost all waye Japanese . S.o.s take a while to get at least one more player and I've had more than a few go unanswered. If I didn't have a group of 3 others to play with I'd be a$$ed out
 

Lanrutcon

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I like to spend my time joining that HR check hunt with the two tempered bombers.

And then failing a few minutes in as the guy with the dual blades carts repeatedly.

It's like some sick experiment.
 

Saber

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If anything they should a lot of quality life changes to the game.

Otherwise its gonna be just like me. Dive to the game and then quit to never touch it again.