Did you sit down and think about making the game appeal to the Western market, or did you simply develop the strongest game you could and hope that those features translate well to new audiences?
RT:When we sat down to develop Monster Hunter Tri, we did actually consider some of the Western needs and wants for the game. Originally, when we sat down and looked at this...
You know, this is the third, of course. This is Tri. Wewere looking at the first two that were on consoles and even like the portable games, and we realized that if we just built upon the previous game, we'd hit a limit eventually on what we could do. Because you look at it, and you're like, "Well, we've done this so far. We're now tied to what we've done."
What we did with Tri is we actually just went back and just remade it from the ground up and said, "What new features do we want in it?" So, we've had a lot of different ideas going into it. Among those new ideas, we took into consideration, for example, play controls. A lot of Western players mention the camera controls, for example. On portable Monster Hunter games, it was always tied to the directional pad, so it was very hard to control. We've now made that the right stick on the Classic Controller. That should make it easier for people to get into it even controller-wise.
And we've paid attention to a lot of the little details because we realized that Western gamers are very sophisticated, in the sense that they want every little detail to be satisfying and intuitive to their style of playing.
What details did you think were important?
RT:Well, first of all, one of the things that we've done to really appeal to Western users is... We've also thought not just about the Classic Controller layout, but we also considered how we wanted to do the Nunchuk controller layout. We know that Western users don't necessarily like their controls to be complex. They want it to be easy and intuitive.
That's pretty much anywhere, but we've made it so with the Nunchuk controller, you don't use so many buttons. It's only like three or four different buttons, and that's it. It's very like, if you want to swing your sword, you just swing the Wii Remote. In that sense, we think that we've made it easier for beginners to get into because they can just pick it up, and you pretty much already know that if you're going to swing something, just swing the Remote. So, that kind of stuff,we think, is one of the aspects that make it easy to get into.
Another thing is, Western users are much more into realism. Realistically, in the real world, if you have monsters and they're fighting each other, and you've got some monsters that are scared of other monsters and things like that, we've replicated that sort of environment in Monster Hunter Tri. It's not just the hunter and the monster.
In previous games, you'd go into the area, and the monsters only reacted to you. But now the monsters actually react to other monsters. You are literally just a hunter. You can stand there and watch them. Sometimes, you'll see the herbivores. They may see a carnivore coming, and then they're scared, and run off to another area. Or you might see a herbivore standing in a herd, and nearby there's a bunch o fcarnivores, so the herbivores will actually be nervous. You can see them be nervous. So, it's these little details and the sense of realism that you can really immerse yourself in the game. And that's something that we think Westerners will really appreciate, coming from a more realistic standpoint.
In conjunction with the realism thing, one of the other things is that the monsters themselves, you can read their thoughts and movements now. Before, it was like you memorize this pattern, it's going to do this; it's going to do that. But now, the monsters move themselves. They lose stamina, or they get hungry, or they're tired. So, you can actually read how they're reacting to the environment. So, if you've done a lot of damage to them and they're getting really tired, you can see that.
There's much more thinking involved in this game. Now you can actually read the monster, know what the situation is, then react to it yourself. You can say, "Oh, now I should do this or that." Because it's not like the previous games where it's just pattern after pattern, it keeps it a little more entertaining because now you actually have to understand how the monster works and how the monster thinks.