Monster Hunter producer, Ryozo-san talks to PlayStation.com about bringing the PSP Japanese gaming phenomenon to our shores.
Could you describe Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite for those people who may not know much about the series or what to expect from it?
Basically, it is an action game where the player is immersed into the epic, natural environments of the Monster Hunter world to live as a hunter, and to hunt huge monsters using huge weapons! Up to four players can enjoy the Ad Hoc Mode co-operative play mode.
The game has had such a hugely successful following in Japan, what do you think has been the secret of this?
I believe it was our continuing promotional support that made it a success on the PSP. We organised official events across the country and the fans would respond to this by organising their own local events, large and small, actually making the phenomenon a collaborative achievement by both Capcom and the fans. Of course in the beginning we tried to speak to individual potential fans, one by one, in order to convey the message about this brilliant game.
Do you think Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite can change all that when it is released in Europe, Australia and New Zealand?
Considering how wide the player demographics are for Monster Hunter, I do believe it would be accepted by the mass in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Until recently Capcom was not ready for a global promotion but this time, also with help from Sony Computer Entertainment, we will be launching major promotions worldwide. I am adamant that Monster Hunter will be a successful title in Europe, Australia and New Zealand this year.
In Japan, players have grouped together to play Monster Hunter, something that might not happen as much in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Do you think that can change with Freedom Unite?
Well actually, the situation was exactly the same in Japan before Monster Hunter and it was rare to see people playing PSP together. However, through continuous promotions we have managed to change, to some extent, the way people use PSPs. As a result it is now a common to sight people playing PSP together in public. With this experience in hand, I do believe in the possibility of making this happen in Europe, Australia and New Zealand too.
Have you faced any challenges in bringing the game to our shores?
The most difficult part was the localisation process. Monster Hunter has a huge text data and to localise it to the high quality we wanted, in five languages, was not an easy task.
How many different kinds of monsters will players face off against when they play the game?
There will be over 80 unique monsters, big and small, in all sorts of shapes.
And what about the weapons they will use to hunt the monsters. How many are there and can you discuss any of the particularly exciting ones that players might get their hands on later in the game?
There are 11 weapon categories and well over 1,300 in total.
Can you explain a little bit about how players take on tasks and venture out into the open for the hunt?
You can receive quests either from the village elder or from the guild in the gathering hall. Quests can vary in their objectives such as Gathering, Slaying and Hunting. Once successful you will be rewarded with money and items and, by using these, better equipment can be made. By repeating this process with hundreds of different quests available, slowly but surely you will be able to take on higher ranked quests.
How many different options will players have when choosing to create their character at the outset of the game?
After picking your name and gender you may choose from eight different inner wears, 32 faces, 27 hairstyles with fully customisable hair colour, and 17 voices.
Can you talk about the multiplayer modes available to players in the game?
Up to four people can play together using the PSP system's Ad Hoc Mode.
Download the Monster Hunter: Freedom Unite demo from PlayStation Store now.