A recent feature in online publication Venture Beat talks about Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate‘s success in the West and its journey through localisation. Since its launch one year ago today in the West, the title has become the fastest selling Monster Hunter game outside of Japan, with over 1 million copies shipped to retailers within two months of its release.
The feature talks about the long localisation process, including everything from translating the tons of dialogue in the game, to adding icons to help in areas where text menus could not be expanded. Game director Kaname Fujioka mentioned that the icons were used where the Japanese word would fit, but changing it to English with the same font size would impact readability:
“For example, the Japanese word for ‘fire’ is only one letter, but in English it’s four, and we couldn’t change the font size to accommodate the translation without impacting readability, so we switched it to an easy-to-understand icon,”
The team who worked on localisation of the title also worked on making Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate more user friendly for beginners. This involved adding more tutorials for players as well as reminders and prompts within the game.
Other changes also included the creation of Palicoes that helped out Hunters within the game, this helped aid players even further by having them fight for them and also the extra dialogue about types of armour that can be forged.
“We wanted to make the most intuitive Monster Hunter title that we could, so we reviewed the action portions and game progress, and planned more intuitive tutorials to help player progression.”
Fujioka also spoke with Venture Beat about the addition of online multi-player to the title. One of the previous titles, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the 3DS, did not have online functionality but the Wii U version did. This time around the team were keen to introduce online multi-player for the 3DS in the western release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
“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.”
Founder and CEO of Capcom, Kenzo Tsujimoto, also adds that the demo prior to release contributed greatly to the title’s success in the West, he believes that this was partially due to the fact that it allowed players to realise that the gameplay was beginner-friendly. The team had acted on previous feedback from overseas and made it easier to find monsters in MH4U.
Finally, Tsujimoto and Fujioka also stressed the importance of community events and growing groups of loyal fans of the franchise. They mentioned that going to these events themselves helped get an honest and invaluable opinion from the fans on the game and its development.
“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!”
You can find more details in the full feature over on Venture Beat.