The Future Of Monster Hunter Rise - Interview With Producers Genki Sunano, Ryozo Tsujimoto
By the time you’re seeing this you will have two reviews of Monster Hunter Rise to devour, my own from 2021, and most recently, Player 2 EIC Matt Hewson’s review of the upcoming PC port. Monster Hunter Mania is still hitting feverish levels, levels established with the release of 2018’s Monster Hunter World, but how can that be maintained? Thankfully a big expansion for Rise is on the way for both Switch and PC players called Sunbreak, and I was fortunate enough to get to chat to Monster Hunter Rise PC version Producer, Mr. Genki Sunano, and Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak Producer, Mr. Ryozo Tsujimoto to discuss the future of Rise in this very special interview.
About Monster Hunter Rise
PJ: Thank you both very much for your time – Monster Hunter Rise has been incredibly successful on the Nintendo Switch, but bringing the game to the PC is a whole other beast. Are there any particular opportunities that couldn’t be explored due to handicaps imposed by the Switch, that you’re excited to tap into now that you’ve got more powerful hardware at your disposal?
GS/RT: Monster Hunter Rise is a title that started development with Nintendo Switch as a starting point, so when developing the Steam version, additional development is necessary since PC games will be newly performed separately. In other words, after the optimization of “how to prioritize performance on Nintendo Switch and expand the range of expression of image creation?”, “what can be done with a PC?” is reconsidered. Therefore, in terms of scrutinizing such contents and examining how to deal with it, there were also difficulties that were different from normal PC game development.
For PC titles, you can increase usable graphics memory based on the specifications of the equipment, so we have added functions that can enhance the visual sense in the graphics options. In particular, the optional function “Image Quality” allows you to change the quality of the rendering resolution, thus it can greatly change the overall image creation. Also, in the process of developing graphics for the Nintendo Switch version, we first created high-resolution textures, and then decided how to handle them while considering the balance with actual performance. The texture used in the current Nintendo Switch version (in the Steam version, the texture with the graphics option “high-resolution texture” turned off) is used, but in the Steam version, you can switch back to the high-resolution texture by turning the option on in setting.
In addition, various measures have been taken, such as making it possible to dynamically draw the baked shadow (dynamic shadow) and canceling the culling of monster animations under distant view.
PJ: Are there any particular PC features that players should be keeping their eyes out for? Even any specific additions for the Steam release?
GS/RT: Monster Hunter Rise is a title that started development with Nintendo Switch as a starting point, so we need additional development for PC games.
The main elements are high-resolution support up to 4K, optimal graphics with high-resolution textures for monsters, and more (can be switched from options setting), and changing the upper limit of frame rate. In addition to compatibility with ultra-wide displays, it is also possible to operate with a keyboard and mouse as well as a gamepad. We have expanded the option setting so that detailed setting changes can be made according to the PC environment of all users, so I hope that you can play in the most comfortable state for yourself. But, if possible, I hope you can enjoy more detailed expression by setting the graphic setting to “High”.
In addition, the PC (Steam) version also has a “voice chat” function that is convenient for online multiplayer, and a “various filter” function that allows you to take pictures and screenshots in various atmospheres. Please enjoy Monster Hunter Rise by utilizing the elements unique to the Steam version.
PJ: What do you learn from the PC launch of Monster Hunter World, and even the simultaneous launch of Stories 2 across PC and Switch, that can be applied to the Steam release of Rise?
GS/RT: Of course, the experience with the Steam version of Monster Hunter World is very useful in developing this title when considering “what can be done with a PC?”.
The Steam version of Monster Hunter: World (and Iceborne) definitely sets a precedent for how to apply various action operations using all 14 weapon types to keyboard and mouse operations. We also make use of our experience in the development of this title. However, even though it is the same Monster Hunter series, the concept is different depending on the title, and the operation feeling is different accordingly, so how to apply an appropriate action operation to keyboard & mouse operation is still a goal to us. We see it as a task and keep working to figure it out.
For example, in Monster Hunter Rise, we have added new actions using Wirebug. It was one of the difficult parts as it had a different setting compared with past titles. For that reason, the operation feeling is different from Monster Hunter: World, and we need to make changes on assignable keys due to key collision. We hope players can understand this change.
PJ: Monster Hunter for the longest time was a hard franchise for new players to penetrate, until Monster Hunter World and Rise both broke that barrier of entry down significantly. What else, if anything, do you believe can be done, to further open the franchise up to new communities of players?
GS/RT: The current Monster Hunter series is planned and developed by deciding the theme and concept for each work, and it is reflected in the title name.
For example, in Monster Hunter: World, we had the desire to “draw the ‘WORLD’of Monster Hunter using the latest technology” and “let more people to play ‘WORLD’ ‘WIDE’.”
In “Rise”, the image of light action and moving around the field with different heights freely, as well as the desire to “make a game that people all over the world get excited about” are reflected in the name.
And we did a review of elements that may have become too complicated in past titles as the series continues, and adjusted game balance making the best use of past experiences, to make the environment more friendly to play. So that the newcomers and users who are not playing recently can jump into the game more easily.
In addition, after the announcement of the Nintendo Switch version, we have decided to produce the PC (Steam) version of Monster Hunter Rise as a result of many requests from PC gamers in various regions. We must give credit to the PC (Steam) version of Monster Hunter World which made many PC gamers around the world become fans of the Monster Hunter series. It is the major factor encouraging us to develop PC (Steam) version.
We will continue to develop the Monster Hunter series and set themes for each title, to let more players enjoy the series. We look forward to your continued support to the “Monster Hunter” series.
About Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak
PJ: What should players be most excited for about the Sunbreak expansion?
GS/RT: In Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, the massive expansion of Monster Hunter Rise, I cannot tell you the details yet, but many elements will be added to make Monster Hunter Rise even more enjoyable, including new stories, quest ranks, locales, monsters, and unexperienced actions, etc.
To start the new story of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, you need to clear Hub Quest ★ 7 “Thunder Serpent Narwa”, the final quest as of the release date of the Nintendo Switch version of Monster Hunter Rise (Ver.1.0). Whether you’re starting Rise on the Steam version or haven’t got there yet on the Nintendo Switch version, we hope you’ll clear it and look forward to Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak.
PJ: Will players have the opportunity in more, longer-form style encounters similar to World’s Zorah Magdaros which spanned multiple locations, and even had its own unique “level”?
GS/RT: In Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, we are working hard to develop more playful content. We are planning to prepare monsters resurrected from the series, action elements, new replay contents, etc., so please look forward to future updates. We are working hard to deliver new information around spring, so please look forward to it.
PJ: Should players expect any further collaborations and crossovers? Sonic is on the way, but are there any further planned collaborations?
GS/RT: The Steam version of Monster Hunter Rise is scheduled to be released in the form of including the contents up to the update data Ver.3.6.1 distributed on the Nintendo Switch version at the time of release. So for example, you can play additional monsters and additional endings delivered in Ver.2.0 and Ver.3.0, and various event quests delivered in Ver.3.6.1 from the time of release. Of course, you can also play CAPCOM collaboration quests such as “Okami” and “Street Fighter”, and collaboration quests with ” Sonic the Hedgehog”, so we hope you enjoy it.
In addition, we plan to release an update to synchronize the contents already delivered to the Nintendo Switch version at the end of February 2022. Until this update, there will be no new event quests delivered to the Steam version, but the event quests, etc. that had been delivered to the Nintendo Switch version up to that point will be available at once when the update released. After that, new event quests will basically be delivered at the same time as the Nintendo Switch version.
There are no plans to develop a collaboration unique to the Steam version, but for example, the Nintendo Switch version is currently in Ver.3.7.0, and the announced collaboration quest with “Universal Studios Japan” will be delivered in the future. We plan to deliver these contents to the Steam version at the timing after the above-mentioned update coming at the end of February 2022.
PJ: What can you share about the new monster of Sunbreak which debuted in the trailer you released at TGA last year?
GS/RT: Tsujimoto Producer: The new monster that appeared in the PV is called Lunagaron, which will be making its debut in Sunbreak. However, that is not all for it in this video. I hope you look forward to it as it will drive hunters into the corner with unexpected actions. Also, this title will have a new base Elgado, which was already shown in the video. Elgado is the base of the character who helped the hunters in the video, and it is also a place related to Rondine that appeared in Monster Hunter Rise. We hope that you will stay tuned for the further information on what kind of story awaits you in Elgado.
About The Future
PJ: Fans are clamouring for more and more Monster Hunter. Beyond the launch of Sunbreak, what is the teams feeling about the future direction for the core franchise?
GS/RT: Although it partially overlaps with a previous answer, we hope that we as well as our fans will continue to enjoy the Monster Hunter series. To achieve that, we are preparing the Steam version of Monster Hunter Rise on the 13th of January this year, and Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak in summer. We hope you enjoy the two titles to the fullest.
PJ: We’re all excited for Sunbreak, when can players expect to be playing it?
GS/RT: The development of Steam version was decided in response to players’ requests after the announcement of the Nintendo Switch version, so the release date is different from the Nintendo Switch version. But the Steam version “Sunbreak” will be released in 2022, on the same day as the Nintendo Switch version in the summer. Like “Rise”, some content such as Amiibo will not be available for Steam version, but basically, we are working on development to deliver the same content on both [platforms]. We hope that all PC game users can enjoy “Rise” first while looking forward to Sunbreak.
PJ: Is there anything else you would like to say to your players?
GS/RT: In Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, we are working hard to develop more playful content. We are planning to prepare monsters resurrected from the series, action elements, new replay contents, etc., so please look forward to future updates. We are working hard to deliver new information around Spring (AU Autumn), so please look forward to it.
PJ: When can we get further news of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak?
GS/RT: We are working hard to deliver new information around spring, so please look forward to it.
Thank you very much to Mr. Sunano, and Mr. Tsuhimoto as well as Capcom for providing us their time and wonderful insights