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Designing  Monster Hunter: World  around the conflict of empathy and violence

Designing Monster Hunter: World around the conflict of empathy and violence

June 18, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

June 18, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon
More: Console/PC, Design

“We want to try and separate the idea of necessary violence and unnecessary violence, and focus it on the former, so that it doesn't feel weird to players.”

- Executive director and art director Kaname Fujioka explores how empathy affects the design process.

Vice Games sat down with producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and executive director and art director Kaname Fujioka to discuss Monster Hunter: World, and the resulting conversation offers developers an interesting dive into the design considerations the development team keeps in mind when creating the world and creatures of the game.

In Monster Hunter: World, players naturally hunt down the different monsters throughout the game to gather resources, obtain crafting materials, or complete objectives. It’s a loop that requires a certain level of violence, made more apparent by increasingly realistic reactions from injured creatures as the battle progresses.

Fujioka tells Vice Games that this can make for a difficult balance to find as games have gotten more realistic, and something the team tries to address through the overall design of the game and its world.

“We try to design the game so the setting is telling you this is a necessity of the life of a hunter. It's not just a massacre of things minding their own business in the world. We try and structure it so that it's a necessity to stay alive to get resources, or to get food, to stay alive in this harsh environment,” says Fujioka. “The quests are positioned as these necessary actions, whether it be story-based stuff where you're being attacked or requests are being made by people for you to do.”

He goes on to say that he’s heard stories of parents playing the game with their children, only to have the children speak up in defense of the wounded monster when it starts running from battle.

“In a way, it made me happy to hear, because it meant I achieved my goal of verisimilitude of depiction of creatures,” said Fujioka. “But I agree, there's a balance that needs to be had there so it doesn't just come across as cruel."

The full Q&A over on Vice Games offers a decently detailed breakdown of how the Monster Hunter: World team approaches creating new monsters for players to hunt as well, exploring how those concepts evolve to fit certain gameplay needs or environments throughout the design process.

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