Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: Localization & The Jaws of Life!

Feb 03, 2015
2015 Feb 03
Andrew Alfonso

Hey everyone! We’re less than two weeks away from the release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate! I hope all of you guys got your preorders all settled, and I bet there are more than a few of you who were lucky enough to bag themselves a New Nintendo 3DS/Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate bundle. If you were one of those lucky kids, make sure you take extra special care of your little piece of history and take pride in the fact that you have one of the coolest pieces of Monster Hunter merchandise around!

 

Gravicool Options

Before we start talking about monsters, I want to write about a couple of nifty features that were introduced into the Japanese version of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and of course, are intact for the Western version. The first is an option to change the dialogue text speed from Normal to Instant. If you’ve played a Monster Hunter game before, you know that the text displays one letter at a time and while some players are okay with this, some players are pretty quick readers, so switching the option to Instant will display the dialogue all at once, allowing you to get through the conversation quickly.

The second option is something the localization team and I proposed to the Monster Hunter team once the localization started, although I suspect they had the same idea when we talked about it. We wanted an option to turn off Palico conversations during multiplayer because it felt intrusive when playing with other people because you and your partner’s Palicoes would be talking constantly. The option in the game is a slight compromise; you can toggle your partner’s Palico conversation on and off during multiplayer, but your Palico will still communicate with you.

 

  

Some new options were added to the Japanese and Western versions to streamline your gameplay experience

 

Finally, there’s also an option to turn off a portion of the tutorial messages found in the game. This was another request that the localization team and I sent to the team and we were very happy that they not only said yes, but even included it into the Japanese version of the game! Our work on this feature was more involved than the other ones; Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate’s lead designer Tokuda-san asked us if we could help mark all of the tutorial messages that should be hidden if this option was selected, so one diligent member of the localization team (thanks Graham!) took the time to sort out all of the tutorial dialogue to figure out what was necessary and what wasn’t. We discovered that there is a lot of story-related content, and you’ll see those no matter what, but tutorials teaching you about vitality, weapon sharpness, etc., won’t be displayed with this option turned on. For first-time Monster Hunter players I highly recommend NOT using this option, but if you’re a seasoned veteran you can use it without worry.

 

Fun in the Sun

Let’s talk about yet another new location you’ll visit frequently during your time in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate—Sunsnug Isle! This islet is located just off the coast of Cheeko Sands, and is where your Reserve Palicoes will train or rest up when they’re not with you on a quest. Sunsnug Isle also houses the Casting Machine and the Meownster Hunters. The former is a giant, net-flinging machine that you and your Palicoes use to catch fish, which are used for various purposes. If you’re lucky, you might even get a special visit from everyone’s favorite hip-checking fishie!  Meownster Hunters are for special Palico-only quests where a group of Palicoes will go off and hunt up to three monsters in a row. Your Palicoes will bring back unique materials called Scraps that can be used to forge new Palico equipment, so it’s time well spent!

 

 

The name Sunsnug is pretty much consistent with the Japanese name Pokapoka (ã½ã‹ã½ã‹), which means “warmth throughout your body.” In fact, the Japanese phrase pokapoka shiite kaiteki (ã½ã‹ã½ã‹ã—ã¦å¿«é©) means “snug as a bug in a rug,” so we thought, heck, this IS a nice sunny island; Sunsnug would sound totally on point. We hope you agree!

 

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

Before you can send out a troop of Meownster Hunters from Sunsnug Isle, you’ll have to venture to the Frozen Seaway to save them from the jaws of doom—literally. You’ll first encounter the fearsome Zamtrios just as it’s about to devour a group of brave, but tasty, Palicoes. Mmmm! Zamtrios is a walking shark-like monster (NOPE) that can fire beams of pure ice at a hunter (NOPE x 2), swim underneath the ice and attack a hunter from below (NOPE x 3), and don an armor of solid ice when angry (NOPE x 4).

Did I mention it also balloons into a giant, rolling ball of ice-spewing shark flesh as a last resort?

 

 

Unlike monsters like Seltas and Tetsucabra, naming Zamtrios wasn’t all that difficult. Zamtrios came about because we liked the Za sound in the Japanese name, Zaboazagil , but we wanted to replace the gil part because it sounded too much like a fish in English, whereas the Japanese name was a combination of frozen and demon. You can see here how the Japanese name if Romanized would mean something totally different from what was intended. We kept the Za part of the name and then tacked on a Monster Hunter-esque os suffix at the end…and that was it. Pretty simple, eh?

The other name we came up with was Gnathalos, a combination of gnash and another Monster Hunter-esque suffix, thalos. We weren’t feeling that name too much, so I’m VERY happy that Zamtrios got approved. Once Zamtrios was settled on, naming the juvenile form was easy work. Again, we kept the Za part of the name and added mite because of its small stature to make Zamite.

 

Tigerstripe Zamtrios

The Zamtrios subspecies is one of my favorite monsters to fight in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. It’s fast, powerful and switches between its two forms constantly, unlike the original species, so the fight always stays interesting. It also gave me my favorite weapon in the game, the Desert Rose Charge Blade. Believe it peeps, that weapon is FINAL BOSS status.

 

 

We had three ideas for the name of the subspecies to start off: Dune, Tiger and Bronze. We thought Dune would work well since in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate we had Sand Barioth, which was based on the habitat of the monster rather than characteristics or color. The subspecies can only be found in the Dunes, so we thought it was a good fit. Director Fujioka-san didn’t like this name or Bronze, but he liked the Tiger prefix since it matched the Japanese kanji name of the monster ( torazame , 蒎鮫), so he wanted us to keep working on that. We came back with Tigerstripe as an idea, which he liked a lot, and that was that!

That’s it for this week. Thanks for reading everyone! Next week I’ll talk more about some more little tweaks we made to the western version of the game, plus a couple of end-game monsters!