Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate: Localization & A Helping Hand

Feb 11, 2015
2015 Feb 11
Andrew Alfonso

Hey everyone, Andrew Alfonso, Localization Director on Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, here again. We’re only three days away from the release of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, so make sure your Nintendo 3DS systems are charged and ready to go!

Let’s talk about even more changes made to the Western version of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate that we hope will make the playing experience better for everyone, especially for new players.

The first issue we dealt with was finding a new font to use for the game. Based on feedback from the Monster Hunter community, we made finding a new font a top priority. It took about a month to get everything finalized; the entire process involved not only myself, but the rest of the localization team (including the European translators), and our contacts at Capcom USA and Capcom Europe. We wanted to make sure the font had good readability and was scalable enough that it would still look good on the Nintendo 3DS screen. We had to worry about issues such as certain windows being much smaller than other areas, as well as those special characters that are commonly used in the European languages. While I gave the final stamp of approval, it really was a decision by committee, with Capcom’s European translators giving the most feedback. You fans out there have them to thank for improved readability!

Moving on, the UI in the Japanese version of the game is well-designed, but during the localization we found some places where our translations simply couldn’t fit without abbreviating them down to single letters. Thankfully the Monster Hunter dev team was open to modifying the UI for us whenever it was required. An example of this is in your status screen that displays your health, defense, resistance, etc. Most of the time our translations were easy enough to implement, but the weapon’s element is represented by a single kanji character in Japanese, so that meant we only had 1 or 2 letters worth of space to deal with. In a game like Monster Hunter that has close to a dozen elements, this is really tough to deal with, so we used the elemental blight icons instead of text. It may not seem like a big change, but for new players their time is better spent hunting monsters rather than hunting down what the heck “FI” or “TH” means.

 

 

The status screen for the western and Japanese versions.

Notice how the attack element is an icon rather than simple text.

 

Another small but important UI change is in the lobby search menu. When you search for lobbies in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, you’re shown a lot of information on just one line. If a player is ready to depart it’ll show the quest name or quest type, and if they’re in the middle of a quest it’ll show the quest name plus time elapsed. Obviously this really makes things hard for the localization team because our quest names are generally twice as long as the Japanese, so we had to come up with a way to get all of the info across to the player without having it look strange.

Our way around this was to have the text switch between different status messages, much like a blinking ticker. The info will now display the quest name or quest type, and then quickly display other pertinent info like time elapsed, if players are ready to go, if the quest is finished, etc. Unlike a simple color or window size change, the back and forth about this change took a week or so because we had to get the timing just right. If the text switched too fast, no one would be able to read it, and if it switched too slow, you might not be able to join the lobby in time because someone would’ve joined before you. I’m very thankful that the dev team went the extra mile to get this done for us!

You switch me right around baby right round

We made a couple of other changes to gradually introduce new players to the world of Monster Hunter. To help them out, we stocked the in-quest item box with Hot and Cool Drinks depending on the locale, just in case you forgot to bring your own. I know when I was a fledgling hunter I forgot to bring these items with me all the time, so this should be a welcome addition that helps new players. This happens not only in single player but in the Gathering Hall quests, too. Now you have no reason to complain that you forgot your Hot Drinks while trekking through the Frozen Seaway!

 

     

The Man will give you the heads up on certain types of armor.

 

We also added special NPC text when you talk with The Man, you know, the, uh, man who runs the Smithy and forges all of your gear. After you clear certain quests and talk to The Man, he’ll give you the run down on new armor that you can forge and what kind of buffs you can expect once the full set is complete. We hope adding this kind of content makes it easier for new players to come to grips with the skill system of Monster Hunter without being too intrusive to advanced players who already know what’s up. And if you advanced players do find it intrusive, remember to press the B Button to fast-forward through a conversation!

Now then, let’s move on to more monster names, shall we?

 

Dah’ren Mohran

The first monster you get to fight in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is the bigger, nastier cousin of Monster Hunter 3’s Jhen Mohran. He’s a bit more aggressive than Jhen, with a penchant for launching spear-like projectiles from his back that can incapacitate any ballistae in the area.

 

 

The decision to Romanize Dah’ren’s name was an easy one since Jhen had already been Romanized. We were careful with the spelling because the Japanese name (ダレン) is typically used for the name Darren/Daren, so we came up with something more exotic-looking. I know it’s seen as a little stereotypical to sprinkle a dash of apostrophes onto a name to make it look more exotic-looking, but we also added it so people put more emphasis on the first part of the name rather than saying the whole thing at once.

 

Brute Tigrex

One monster that existed before Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate but ultimately didn’t make it into the game was a new subspecies of Tigrex. It appeared in Monster Hunter Portable 3 rd, but both the original and sub species didn’t make an appearance in MH3U . Thankfully (?) both fearsome beasts show up in Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and are in fine form.

 

 

The kanji name for the Tigrex subspecies is kurogouryu (黒轟竜) and contains the word black, but we wanted to avoid simply slapping on that word and calling it a day. We already have a Black Diablos and a Black Gravios, and I like to avoid using the same moniker for different monsters. When we talked to director Fujioka-san about what he wanted for the monster names, he indicated he wanted a name based on appearance rather than characteristic. We came up with a couple of dark names such as Dusk Tigrex, Dread Tigrex and Bruised Tigrex, but we all felt that the name lacked oomph . It didn’t really represent how the monster fought, which was with a brutal , physical style. Oh, wait a mi…

 

I really liked the name Brute Tigrex because it encompassed everything this monster was compared to the original and rare species. It attacked with more ferocity than the original species, and all of its attacked are purely physical, unlike the Blast-based attacks of the rare species. I remember my first quest against this monster; I saw it suck in a huge gust of wind and let loose a thunderous roar. I remember thinking, “jumping Jiminy Cricket that was NUTS.”

I also remember getting one-shotted by it because I was standing too close, har har. Very funny, Sir Tigrex.

That’s it for this week! I have two more entries to go, and hopefully they’ll come with a couple of surprises of their own!