While the Monster Rancher series has its core group of fans, its sudden re-emergence may need some added context to fully understand. To get all the information about the upcoming games, we were able to speak with the Executive Producer on Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX Kazumi Fujita about the game’s release and what fans can expect.
Spencer Legacy: What made you decide that now was the time to bring Monster Rancher 1 and 2 to modern consoles?
Kazumi Fujita: We came to the conclusion that now would be the perfect time to bring back the series as we are about to welcome in its 25th anniversary in 2022. Our team also received a ton of feedback from fans asking us to bring back the series so they could enjoy it one more time.
SL: This new collection has high-speed mode and other quality-of-life upgrades. What inspired you to add these to this release?
KF: We based this on requests fans have had seen both games were released back in the 90s. Our goal was to stay faithful to the original titles while also providing a new powered up Monster Rancher to our fans.
As a result, we added in various features to make the monster raising experience smoother than ever.
SL: Was there anything you had hoped to add to the collection but were unable to?
KF: I think we were able to incorporate all of the features from the original, while maintaning everything that made it fun and interesting.
SL: Monster Rancher is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Why do you think the series has resonated with fans for such a long time?
KF: I think our unique system that allowed players to take their favorite songs or songs they are very attached to and obtain monsters from them really captured the hearts of many fans.
SL: If this collection does well, could further collections or new Monster Rancher games be a possibility?
KF: We don’t have anything to announce currently, but as 2022 marks the 25th anniversary for the Monster Rancher series, the team and I are doing our best to meet the expectations of all of our fans.
SL: Do you feel the games lost anything by changing the physical side of the CD-summoning mechanic to an online database?
KF: We wanted to ensure that we met the needs of the current generation of players, so we worked hard to develop a system which allows players to have the same kind of fun they had back in the 90s using all of their CDs to obtain monsters.
The system we developed for this version of Monster Rancher and Monster Rancher 2 was an original database including roughly 600,000 songs. Now that you can choose whatever song you like, I feel the game is now more enjoyable than ever.
SL: Games involving monsters often draw comparisons to franchises like Pokémon. Are you concerned this might happen to Monster Rancher now that it’s being brought back?
KF: I think that the unique system we developed for the Monster Rancher series, which I noted previously gives players the ability to obtain monsters from their favorite songs, allows us to set ourselves apart from other series.
SL: What advice would you give newcomers to the Monster Rancher series before they play these games?
KF: I’d let them know just how fun it is to obtain monsters, raise them and slowly build a fondness and attachment to them!
Monster Rancher’s most appealing aspect is that it allows players to obtain monsters from a variety of different songs and then raise those monsters and battle with them. I hope players can have fun seeing which monsters they can obtain from songs you have fond memories of, songs they listen to all the time, or even songs they’ve been really interested in lately.
SL: What would you say to Monster Rancher fans who have been around since the beginning?
KF: I’d want to let them know that 2022 marks the big 25th anniversary for the Monster Rancher series, and that we are all working hard to meet their expectations.
SL: If you could borrow a monster from any franchise to include in this collection, which would it be?
KF: That’s a secret! Even in the original titles we included a number of monsters from other companies’ games, and we are working towards making that a reality again in the future.
Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX is available on Nintendo Switch and iOS and Android devices on December 9, 2021. In case you want to know more, check out our review.
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