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Yoshinori Ono discusses Capcom's future online direction and the mysterious Chinese Monster Hunter

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Capcom isn't an outfit known for online-only games too much, at least until now, the company's general manager Yoshinori Ono told Famitsu Magazine.

Ono spent time in the Famitsu interview discussing what he sees himself and Capcom doing in the future when it comes to online gaming. The way he sees it, his company is open to pretty much anything, even running free-to-play MMOs. "That's a kind of service as well," he explained. "To put it bluntly, even if the service is free, it still won't last if customers don't enjoy it. Meanwhile, even if you charged 6,800 yen a month, if customers see that as a value, then you can keep that going. We try to provide content that matches with the service. If that produces positive feedback, we keep going with it; otherwise, we need to change it. For example, we're in an era where, if a newly-released quest isn't being played much, the provider can very quickly see that it isn't matching the needs of the players."

As Ono put it, it's important that his company stays ahead of the curve in this market, one that's changing more rapidly than any other sector of gaming. "If people think that something should obviously be there, that goes a long way towards making it an obvious thing to have," he said. "If it becomes the obvious thing to use a tablet while playing a game with a controller, I'm fine with tackling that idea. Online games are lots of fun, after all, but they weren't nearly as endemic ten years ago as they are now. They weren't an obvious field at the time."

Ono refenced the Monster Hunter Online game coming out in China, one undergoing beta testing right now.

"It is, of course, an online game under the Monster Hunter brand, something developed in tandem between Capcom and Tencent in China," he said. "When you talk about online games, you're talking about providing a service, and to do that, you need to 'culturalize' your product for each nation or environment. Even if we launched that in Japan, we would need to change it to a service that suited Japan, something that's the Monster Hunter players in Japan like. I want to tell people that it's not just a simple localization or remaking the graphics in HD."

"It's based on MHFG, so we in the MHFG team are cooperating in the project," added producer Kazunori Sugiura. "We released a preview video, but you might not be able to see the differences in the video by itself. However, development is proceeding along as something optimized for China, so there may be parts of it that make hunters in Japan go 'Huh?' Once more information is released, I think you'll be able to see what I'm talking about."

Trying to get on top in the online market is a challenge Ono seems ready to accept, even if MHGF is their only major effort in the field as of yet. "Capcom's been able to keep making online games thanks to all of the people playing MHFG," he closed. "I can't thank them enough, and I think we can repay their thanks by continuing to make fun games. I think we also need to eliminate boundaries between hardware in order to get as many people involved as possible. We're putting so much work into MHFG right now that, if you haven't played an online game before, I definitely think you want to start with that game first."