Monster Hunter Tri is one of the most strikingly beautiful games ever created for the Wii and brings to life a living breathing ecosystem where man and monster co-exist. The title’s single player story mode sees gamers taking on the role of a hunter whose village is beset by a series of violent tremors that threaten to destroy it. Charged by the village chief to discover the source of the earthquakes players will embark on a series of quests where they must face gigantic beasts that inhabit both land and sea.
WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank and occupation!
I'm Ryozo Tsujimoto, and I'm the lead producer on Monster Hunter Freedom Tri.
WP: Monster Hunter Freedom Tri marks the first time that the series is coming to the Wii. Aside from the motion controls, what was the decision to bring it to the Wii instead of keeping the series on the Sony systems, where it has started and grown?
RT: It's actually the biggest reason. You mentioned "aside from the motion controls," but actually, the controller part of the Wii version is the biggest focus that we had, the main element that we wanted to present to the new users.
WP: What about the communication aspects? With the PSP, for example, you could play in a group and everybody would talk back and forth. With the Wii, it's not likely that you're going to have four Wii consoles in a room. What have you done to make communication between players easier on the home console?
RT: If you talk about multiple players, the comparison you can make is between PSP player and the Wii console gameplay is that on the PSP, you see another player sitting next to you, and you can directly communicate with the player. On the Wii, the console is going to be located in various places but you will be connected online, and you won't see that person, but then you will be extra cautious of what to say and what not to say. You can have a different kind of quality of communication through the online gameplay, and that's also a very unique feature.
The mentality behind the players in both the portable game and the home game console is quite different. When you play on PSP, you can carry it around so you can play for maybe just 20 minutes or 10 minutes or whenever you would like to play. In a home game console like the Wii, you have to sit down and prepare yourself some time to actually sit down and play the game. That kind of mentality is actually a big difference between the portable game and the Wii console.
WP: Has there been any more focus on the single-player aspect for the Wii, or is it still heavily multiplayer-focused, like the PSP game?
RT: The online play feature has been established throughout the series, so that's equally as important as the single-player mode this time. We could say that we succeeded in having the single-player mode, as I mentioned earlier, just to sit in your room and play by yourself. That kind of environment and the whole game system links together, so it's both equally important.
WP: What about basic gameplay items? What extra new items and weapons can the players use, and what have you added in terms of the monster arena?
RT: One added feature is the weapon, the switch ax, which has two different functions: one is a sword, and one is an ax. There's also a combo with a big finish in the attack that you can use when you hunt the monsters. It's very risky because you keep combining attacks, and you might have a monster attacking people from different directions, so it's also your strategy when to stop or keep going until the final finish. That's also a new challenge for the players, and it's one of the big elements that add to the weapons.
WP: This is a very game-specific question. One of the things about Monster Hunter that's been a little bit of an annoyance is the constant loading screens. Have you guys ever thought about moving the game to the PlayStation 3 or the Xbox 360, where you can have larger arenas rather than the smaller, detailed ones that you have today?
RT: That part has been improved with Monster Hunter Freedom Tri. Even those people who played the PSP version and thought the loading time was a little bit long and annoying, but it's been reduced in a big scale so people won't feel as strongly about the length of the loading scene. The game has a lot of different elements, so that's not the only issues that we might have to consider. We can't say specifically that we'll make each map bigger or anything specific at this moment.
If you were, to say, expand the whole map in one scene without loading, that would ultimately change the whole game experience as well, so if we were to expand, we need to reconsider how we should make the game work in that map.
WP: Where do you draw the creative inspiration for the monsters? After multiple games, how do you keep coming up with fresh ideas for new monsters?
RT: Each monster plays a role in the ecosystem of Monster Hunter. It's not just because of the cool design or any surface elements, but let's say we need some monster that runs really quickly and runs away. Then we'll think about what would be the best to describe that kind of characteristics. Based on the characteristics of each monster, we'll start considering, "We need to add this monster or that monster," so we work from the characteristics that is necessary for the game itself.
WP: If you had to sum it up in two to three sentences, what really makes Monster Hunter Freedom Tri a game that's worth playing?
RT: The biggest experience is that you are actually putting yourself as a hunter in an environment that is totally unique. It's a virtual environment that seems like a lot of animals are living, and a lot of monsters interacting with each other. As a hunter, you customize your weapon and put yourself totally into the environment and then you will experience the whole world of Monster Hunter. That's the most fun that you would experience throughout the gameplay. The fun part is that you can become a hunter!
WP: Is there anything about the game that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?RT: We've mostly talked about all the things that we wanted to talk about, but some of the people have asked about the online feature. We'll be releasing more information as we get closer to the launch date, so we want people to keep an eye out and check out the information.
More articles about Monster Hunter 3