Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has sold more than four million copies worldwide, but Capcom saw more importance in the fact that it became the first title in the series to sell over one million copies in Europe and North America alone.
With Monster Hunter X now seeing similar success in Japan, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has taken time to reflect on how the publisher was able to make a greater impact in western markets.
The first reason he gave was online multiplayer, which had been absent in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate‘s Nintendo 3DS version.
“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,” Tsujimoto discussed with VentureBeat. “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.”
His next reason was the demo version, that had allows players to experience three different quests alone or in either local or online multiplayer. While suggestions from Capcom’s overseas branches had also played a part in making the game more approachable to newcomers.
“First, I think the demo we released was a big factor,” Tsujimoto explained. “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 localisation 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.”
And then there are the fans themselves, who have not only spread word about the Nintendo 3DS exclusive, but also arranged and attended community events that have helped to drive enthusiasm.
“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,” Tsujimoto added. “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!”
He closed, “We stress the importance of user community events whether they’re done in Japan or in other countries, and there are very few titles where we as developers can participate in events and directly communicate with our fans. When you’re deep into game development, it can be difficult to gauge a user’s honest reaction, but working on Monster Hunter allows us to go to events, and acts as a stimulus for us. It reminds us who our games are for, which we think is invaluable.”