Monster Hunter: World
During E3, Monster Hunter: World proved to be one of the biggest surprises of the show, as the series finally makes its way back to home consoles after spending a few years on portable devices. We talked with producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and creative director Kaname Fujioka about bringing the series to PS4, making it more accessible for a wider audience, and what we can expect from Monster Hunter: World's beautiful but deadly environments.
How long has Monster Hunter World been in development?
Tsujimoto: Three and a half years.
What made you finally move from a mainly portable focus to home consoles? And why choose PlayStation 4?
Tsujimoto: It’s a bit of a combination of facts. After having a few years of the series mostly being on portable devices, we’ve received a lot of feedback from players from all over the world that wanted to play Monster Hunter on their home console. The current generation of hardware is so powerful and high-spec that the timing really felt right to bring Monster Hunter to console for the first time in a long time.
Monster Hunter is often presented as a multiplayer-focused game. Will Monster Hunter: World be a strong single-player experience as well?
Fujioka: Absolutely. We’ve brought down the wall separating single-player and multiplayer quests. It’s all one group of quests now and it’s up to the player to make a choice on how they want to play the game. In single, you can do everything by yourself. You can also call in other people during single-player if you want to change things up or have gotten in trouble with an SOS flare to have friends or anyone playing on the server help you. The difficulty scales as well, depending on if you choose to play alone or with others. If you want to play as a lone hunter, you can totally do that and enjoy the story by yourself.
We want to make sure players have the option to play the game the way they want to.
Can you talk about your DLC plans? Do you have substantial story DLC coming? Previous Monster Hunter games have had cosmetic DLC crossovers with other franchises, like Nier Automata and Metroid. Will we see more of that?
Tsujimoto: We’ve got DLC coming after the game launches. Monster Hunter has always been a series that supported free DLC and you can expect us to continue in that tradition. We’re doing it a bit differently this time since it’s a home console release. With previous games, since they were mostly portable, we had to make quests downloadable since it wasn’t reasonable to expect you to be online every time you left the house with the game. However, with a home console, that it seems fair to expect most players will be online while they’re playing, so we’ve gotten a bit more creative—especially with event quests.
As for collaboration with other developers on DLC: we’ve had lots of great success with those in the past and we’re thinking about doing some interesting new ones in that vein as well but we’re staying tight-lipped on that. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.
How many biomes are in the game? We’ve seen the rain forest area. Are there frozen plains? Some deserts?
Tsujimoto: We started off showing off the ancient forest because I think it demonstrates what’s special about the environments. Even the smaller creatures we’ve thought through what kind of humidity would be in that location and what sort of creatures would find that hospitable and how would they behave.
It isn’t all just green forests. We’ve also just revealed The Wildspire Wastes, a multi-spire stage that’s a desert-like sandy expanse with some swamps. It’s just totally different what monsters will live there and how they interact, so it’s more than just a graphical change—it’s a whole new world when you unlock a new biome. There’s more to come down the line and we’ll reveal when the timing is appropriate but you can rest assured there’s plenty of variety in the map.
Monster Hunter is a series that has a hardcore reputation. With World becoming more accessible for a wider audience, are you afraid of losing players who have played the series for years with accessibility changes?
Tsujimoto: We understand the hardcore Monster Hunter fans concern when we say we’re opening up to a wider audience, that somehow we’re diluting the essence of Monster Hunter but nothing could be further from the truth. We’re creating this action experience in which you have to learn how to play the game to get skilled, and it’s super satisfying: learning how to hunt and how to use your weapons and hunt different monsters in the game.
We want everyone to get to that place and the problem isn’t that the place is wrong, it’s that the steps you need to take to get there have been a little too steep until now. There have been hurdles you’ll have to complete to get to the fun and sometimes people have had issues overcoming those hurdles. This is what we’re making accessible and a bit smoother. We’re not making the action into a button-masher. It’s always going to be the same great core action. We want to just make sure that as many players as possible have the opportunity to enjoy Monster Hunter.
I really want to reassure Monster Hunter fans: this is the game you know and love, it’s just that it’s no longer quite so difficult to get to the point in the game where you’re having fun. There’s plenty of opportunity for people to enjoy the game no matter their skill level.
For more on Monster Hunter: World, check out Dan Tack's glowing impressions of the game so far.