Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate producer – factors behind western success, lengthy localization
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the franchise’s most successful entry in the west. How did that happen exactly? In an interview with GamesBeat, series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto touched on some of the factors that led the game to become a hit in North America and Europe.
Localization changes helped lead Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate to overseas success. But even more importantly, Fujioka says online play “was huge”.
Fujioka told GamesBeat:
“… More than anything the addition of online play on the 3DS was huge. Obviously in Europe and North America it’s very difficult to play with others locally due to everyone being so spread out, so having online multiplayer in the game really showed the appeal of Monster Hunter’s multiplayer to a wide range of players.”
“Given that Japan is a small island country, there are more opportunities for people to meet directly, so the barrier for local play is low enough that lots of people can take advantage of it. This time around, especially outside of Japan we had a lot of people asking for online multiplayer, which of course was a big thing for players.”
Also important was Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’s eShop demo. As Fujioka said:
“First, I think the demo we released was a big factor. We got feedback from our overseas branches, and we made it easier to find monsters compared to previous games, and in general made it easier to play for beginners. Second, we had a lot of cooperation from our overseas marketing leads and our localization leads, who feverishly came up with idea after idea just for this title, and that was a huge reason why this game was as successful as it was.”
Monster Hunter isn’t as successful as it is in Japan. Still, Fujioka is appreciative of the fans who have also played a role in getting the series more recognition in the west.
“Finally, while we haven’t reached the numbers that we see in Japan, the fans who have stuck with us have helped us out a lot. They’ve created their own communities for the game and spread the word out for us. We really appreciate the hard work of those fans!”
If there’s one downside to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’s overseas release, it’s that it took so long for the game to be localized. Fujioka unfortunately doesn’t see this changing anytime soon, in part due to the huge amount of text included in each of the series’ entries.
“Monster Hunter is considered an action game, so we’re fine-tuning those bits of the game until the very last minute. Because we’re tweaking the Japanese version until the very end, this affects how fast we can localize the game. Compared to other action games there’s also a lot of dialogue and text in Monster Hunter, so I’m very sorry to say this to our overseas users, but still it takes a lot of time to localize the games no matter how quickly we start the localization.”