GameStart 2018: Meeting Monster Hunter World’s Kaname Fujioka & Yuya Tokuda

In town for the recent GameStart 2018 were Kaname Fujioka (Executive Director/Art Director) and Yuya Tokuda (Director) of Monster Hunter World (MHW), a game which has sold millions of copies across the PC, PlayStation and Xbox. At a session with members of the media, Kenneth Wong and Ken Koh finds out more from the duo about the initial stages of developing the game, challenges they faced along the way and if everyone’s “favorite” Bazelgeuse is supposed to be this annoying.

GameStart 2018 Monster Hunter World Kaname Fujioka Yuya Tokuda

One of the biggest challenges the development team had was working with the online matchmaking system. With Monster Hunter World releasing on three different platforms, it meant working with three different online matchmaking systems and considering they are new to Steam, that added to the challenges as playing with others is as important with going solo in the Monster Hunter series and Monster Hunter World is no different.

There were also initial communication issues between the different teams due to the style difference resulting in multiple changes along the way with the creation of the world and environment. As the direction was to have a prototype world first without monsters, this took a while to get things right.

When asked about the design of the Handler, they shared that she is meant to compliment the player’s avatar who doesn’t express any emotions during the various in game events. Be it meeting new monsters or new characters in the game, the player’s avatar is usually emotionless thus the Handler’s role is to showcase these emotions. For now, they couldn’t say much about any further character development for her except for the costume DLCs that are currently available.

GameStart 2018 Monster Hunter World Kaname Fujioka Yuya Tokuda

Moving onto monster design, each of monsters went through a design process that took an average of two to three months where the main design themes were destruction and regeneration as can be seen with the fight mechanics of Nergigante. In fighting this elder dragon, the strategy revolved around taking note of its spikes with white ones being its weak points while the black ones would rebound most melee weapons unless a special skill was used. These spikes would also break off when Nergigante used any of its special attacks and would regrow back after some time. An interesting point shared was also that real world examples were used in the development of the monster such as the porcupine in Nergigante’s case.

On a more light-hearted note, the two were happy that players were giving monsters pet names such as B52 for Bazelgeuse and Pickle for Deviljho. Although they noted that in Japan, everyone’s “favorite” green monster was called bitter gourd instead. Probably a western and eastern audience context but the idea is the same!

With regards to the B52, they shared that Bazelgeuse is working as intended to give players a different experience when it comes to the same map but at different rank. In low rank, players just have to concentrate on completing the objective but in high rank, they will have to deal with one monster who would appear with a scream and rain bombs on them like bombers of old. They also added that Bazelgeuse is designed to look for combat between players and monsters to engage and add to the “fun”.

GameStart 2018 Monster Hunter World Kaname Fujioka Yuya Tokuda

Sadly (or as expected) the two were non-committal about new content coming to the game outside of what has already been announced through official channels such as Mega Man, Final Fantasy, Devil May Cry and Horizon Zero Dawn. Even Arch Tempered Nergigante was up in the air and there was no mention on the state of the PC version catching up with console.

While it is expected that both Kaname Fujioka and Yuya Tokuda would give the usual “please look forward to it” when they can’t reveal too much about future plans, the whole session was a still an enjoyable one. As a treat for fans of the game, the two appeared for a stage segment, answering questions such as what their favorite weapon in the game was and playing a game of “scissors paper stone” with fans to give away Monster Hunter World merchandise.

Thank you for coming down to GameStart 2018!

© POPCulture Online 2018

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