Monster Hunter Rise interview: Creating the Malzeno gear
Get a look behind the forge
As part of his recent interviews, Koichi Shibata has sat down once again to talk to the devs of Monster Hunter Rise to get more details about the design process. This time, he talks with Sakata-san and Hashimoto-san, designers of the gear you get from Malzeno’s materials.
Question: All of Malzeno’s weapons have a sort of metallic look with characteristic red crystals. Did you have a particular motif or theme in mind when you designed them?
Yes, the concept for Malzeno was “weapons that draw energy from congealed crystals.”
I’ll get to the congealed crystals later, so let me start by commenting on the shapes of the weapons themselves.
We were very particular about using beautiful curves for the weapons, to give them a general Westernized appearance. We also made proactive use of its three-pronged tail in the designs.
There are several reasons for this: in addition to giving each individual part a unique shape, it also creates some “openings” in the silhouette.
I’m going to have to get a bit technical here, but if you create openings in a silhouette, that means the weapon ends up looking lighter when compared to silhouettes without openings.
After checking with the design team, they agreed that this also matched Malzeno’s image, so we collectively decided to use three-pronged protrusions in a variety of ways for all of Malzeno’s weapons.
For blade-type weapons, this lends it a nice, sharp image, fit for severing. For long-range weapons like the bow, this allowed us to represent the tensile strength of the materials.
Q: The series has had equipment based on Western-style armor before, so how did you go about to make sure the Malzeno series stands out from the rest?
For the Malzeno series, we based the design on Western armor motifs, to create contrast with the Japanese designs of Monster Hunter Rise, and then we added a “vampiric” element to it, to represent the monster.
We did this by adding a cape with a stand-up collar, using red membrane, to an armor set made of Malzeno’s silvery white carapace. We also looked at tailcoats and the jabots (the frilly things) around the neck of aristocratic clothing, to represent Malzeno’s noble appearance.
We then added some red in between the individual carapace parts, and gave the decorations on the hands and feet the same shape as the monster to make sure that it didn’t just look like regular old Western armor.
It’s basically a sort of “Vampire Knight” motif, but since this is the equipment for the flagship monster, we used heroic colors like white and red, and tried to keep elements of “evil” and “night” to a minimum.
Q: Malzeno is known for becoming extra violent once it absorbs a certain amount of life force, so how did you incorporate this element into the designs of the weapons and armor?
As I mentioned before, the concept for Malzeno’s weapons was “drawing energy from congealed crystals,” so we incorporated an effect where a red line runs along your weapon when you sheathe it, as if the energy flowing from the crystals is running through the grooves etched into the weapon itself.
At first glance, they look like pretty silver-and-gold weapons, but once you sheathe them, there’s kind of an evil aura to them. This also ties into the duality of Malzeno itself.
We also made a point of placing the crystals on the parts that form the openings I mentioned for Q1.
I incorporated several design elements, like red holes between the armor’s carapace for storing life force, and red slits that serve as passageways for that energy. However, the motif for the Malzeno armor series is based on Malzeno in its regular state. When it becomes more violent, it changes its form, and this form was used for the design of the “Formal Dragon” armor series which can be unlocked with an amiibo. It’s even more vampire-like than the regular Malzeno armor series.
As usual, we’ve only shared some of the most interesting portions of this interview, but if you’d like to read it in full, we highly recommend going to the official Capcom USA site to do so, as they go in more detail about what parts of the Monster they use, the Buddy armor, and more!