How did online development for the Wii go? Monster Hunter is much more intensely connected than a lot of other examples of networked gaming on the Wii.
RT:When we were making the online environment, we considered a lot of aspects about how users would interact online and how they would want to interact with each other and things like that. So far, the reaction from Japan has been really positive. We've had more players online than we expected, actually, you know, initially.
Luckily, nothing has gone wrong. The service has been working really well without a hitch. The experience of online, at least in Japan, the reaction has been very favorable. People have felt that it's very easy to get online, it's very easy to manipulate, and it's very easy to get around and do what you need to do online.
With the Wii, it's true, there's no infrastructure like Xbox 360 or whatever. But for us, we had the experience of doing PS2. When we did Monster Hunter Dos on the PS2, we had to make our own infrastructure. We had to set up up our own servers. We had to do everything ourselves. Actually, it was really a blessing that we had that training and experience. This time, actually, it's been a much, much easier, much smoother experience because we were already experienced in setting up our own infrastructure, so it actually wasn't that big of a deal [laughs].
Monster Hunter is so popular in Japan that there's a wide variety of merchandise available -- I think one of the weirdest ones is the cutlery, but what do you think? Which one's your favorite?
RT:[laughs] One of the things that I really like the best is this $3,000 statue of a character. I don't know how to describe it. It's about a yard long, three to four feet long. Pretty big. My dream is to one day buy this and put it in the front hall of a big house. [laughs] That's my dream.
[laughs] That answers both questions.
RT:One of the reasons we have such a variety of goods, even the cutlery, for example, as silly as it may sound, is one of the things we try to do with it is we try to get people into the game through our goods.
We don't make it look so much like a game good. We're not like, "This is game merchandise." We actually just make it sort of stylish, something people would normally want. You look at it, you think that's cool, you want it. And then when you buy it and you look at it, you're like, "Oh, this is actually from Monster Hunter. I wonder what kind of game it is." In that sense, it's sort of like a promotional tool. At the same time, you're not embarrassed, necessarily, to have it either. That's why we have such a variety and different styles of merchandise.