Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin is just a few days away. A demo will be out tomorrow on the Nintendo eShop and if you couldn’t wait, you can find our impressions of the first hours of the game here. We took the chance to sit down with Ryozo Tsujimoto (Producer, Monster Hunter series), Kenji Oguro (Director, Monster Hunter Stories 2) and Takahiro Kawano (Art Director, Monster Hunter Stories 2) and ask them some questions.
We talked about why fans have to wait so long for a sequel, what changes and adjustments were made to the gameplay, what is the future of Monster Hunter and if we can expect completely new monsters in Monster Hunter Stories 2. And of course we asked them if there’s a chance to get the first game ported on Nintendo Switch.
Question: Monster Hunter Stories focuses on RPG elements, not so much on the popular hunting. Nevertheless, it should also appeal to traditional Monster Hunter fans, I guess. How will this be achieved? Or is that not something you want to achieve?
Answer: I definitely think that Monster Hunter fans can enjoy this game, even as you said, there is a change in system, hunting action to JRPG-style system, first and foremost the monsters themselves are thought to be the most beloved characters in the series. And I think everyone that plays the main series will have their own favorite monster, the one they love to see on screen. And that is carried over fully to Monster Hunter Stories and Monster Hunter Stories 2.
You have a different way of interacting with these monsters, you are going on a journey, adventure, alongside the monster, going to raise and train it as well. I think it will help you see the relationship between hunters and riders differently. Traditionally, bringing an RPG style to the series, really adds a lot of depth to the world, to the lore. And I think anyone who played along with the action games over the years, is really going to get a kick out of this world from a different perspective.
Compared to other Monster Hunter games, Monster Hunter Stories lagged far behind the main series in sales figures. It still found many fans who were disappointed for years that there was no sequel. Why is the spin-off series being continued now regardless?
As you said, there is a lot of passion and a lot of fans and supporters for the original title over the years. So for the reasons we have, taking a little longer than maybe they would have liked for bringing a sequel, is that by looking at the reception of the original game, we really wanted to make sure that the sequel would be able to reach a wider audience and a broader type of gamer. One of the things we knew we had to do to achieve this was to bring a new concept to the visual style and atmosphere of the game.
So we took some extra time to figure out what that concept is going to be, what the game will look like. So this perhaps added some time to the development period, but we think hopefully people see that this was worth it. Because that way, Monster Hunter Stories 2 is really shaping up, and I think you agree that Monster Hunter Stories 2 looks gorgeous and like something that will be appealing to a really broad style of players, even if they haven’t had experience with the first title.
Its being great to see how the community and fans are discussing how the first title was and people explaining it to other fans and saying to go check it out. At the same time, we definitely want to reassure anyone who hasn’t played the first game, they don’t need to catch up in order to enjoy Monster Hunter Stories 2. We designed Monster Hunter Stories 2 to be playable and enjoyable regardless of your experience with its predecessor. Although, that’s not to say that there aren’t a few things that of course make you smile in recognition if you are familiar with the first game.
Monster Hunter Stories 2 features a turn-based battle system, just like the first game. Personally, I’m really into this kind of battle system, since I love traditional JRPGs. Also, I think it’s more accessible. Can you name any improvements or changes compared to the first game?
One of the main things about the [Monster Hunter Stories] series is that we want to take the monster hunter style action which is really about reading the monsters‘ behavior, understanding the behavior and kind of tell what they’re going to do and then using that to be able to strategize your moves in return. We’ve tried to transfer this into a turn based system and I think we did a really good job.
One thing we have adjusted from the first game is that there was a slight random element in the first game in terms of monsters having their own type in the triangle relationship between speed, power and tactical attacks. But sometimes a monster would casually step forward with a move which wasn’t part of its expected move sets. So, for example, a speed type monster might have got a technical attack sometimes in the first game. So this randomness was intended to keep players on their toes a bit.
But we felt for the second game, it would be better to keep things more consistent and allow players to make more consistent strategies so that if you do take damage or get hit in a battle, you feel like you need to improve your strategy, not just think that something random happened. I think that is going to make the turn-based system even more satisfying. Additionally, of course, we have coop battles as well. Being able to team up with a friend and strategize together to take down monsters is something that is even more fun.
The current annual report says Capcom wants to further push the influence of successful brands. They are making Monster Hunter more broadly available. Now with Monster Hunter Stories 2, but also with a motion picture directed by Paul Anderson and starring Milla Jovovich. What else is planned for Stories 2, can we look forward to an anime or something else?
We definitely want to create titles which feel like they have a purpose, so while we do want to expand the brand in the future, it’s not just for the sake of it. For example, when it comes to Monster Hunter Stories and Monster Hunter Stories 2, what can we achieve through an RPG set in the Monster Hunter World? How would that make players feel? What role can the game have in the series? That’s the background of Monster Hunter Stories 2’s position.
In the future, when we consider adding more titles which could have a different position compared to the main line action or the Stories‘ RPG-style, we consider this on a title-by-title-basis. We don’t want to add things just because we can, we want to make sure that the product has a really good purpose or a really good role to fill to players.
Will new monsters from Monster Hunter Rise appear in the game, such as Magnamalo or Goss Harag? I know, you just announced Palamute – but he does not feel like a monster. Are there monsters that were developed especially for Monster Hunter Stories 2?
Yes, we just announced that the popular Palamute buddy from Monster Hunter Rise is going to be appearing in Monster Hunter Stories 2. As you know if you played Monster Hunter Rise, the Palamute is a buddy who lets you ride on him and get around in the stage in a very free and easy fashion. And given that Monster Hunter Stories 2 is a game about riders, it just seems like the perfect fit. It was the most obvious choice of monsters from Monster Hunter Rise for bringing it to the world of Monster Hunter Stories 2.
As for monsters, we are focused on showing lots of monsters from the series as a whole and bringing them together in a way that might not be possible in the action-based titles, by having a large variety of them and new ways to fight them in turn-based form. You may conquer something you haven’t seen before. But I don’t want to give away all the details, so I have to ask you to play the game and see what you might come across!
If there is time for one more question… and I think the answer might be short… High definition remasters are very popular. There have also been a lot of ports of 3DS games for Nintendo Switch. If the demand is high enough, would an HD remaster of the first part for Nintendo Switch be a possibility?
(Laughter in the room.) We have no specific plans at the moment, but we never rule anything out. So… let’s see in the future! At that time, there’s nothing to announce.
Thank you for your time!
Bildmaterial: Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, Capcom