For a long time now, the monster hunter had a slight obsession with cats – look at any official merchandise, the apparel line Capcom has collaborated on with Uniqlo, or any marketing for recent games, and you’ll see cats. Capcom even sold them on toilet paper holders. Yes really.
In the Monster Hunter universe, however, these furry companions aren’t called cats, they’re called Felynes; they are small in stature (but big in personality), similar in appearance to domestic cats in our world, fully sentient, bipedal, and speak our language.
Once upon a time called Felyne Comrades, these adorable creatures have been called Palicoes since Monster Hunter generations of the 3DS. From the Chief Meowscular in Monster Hunter: World to the oddly flirtatious version of the character that appeared in the live-action movie, these mascot characters have become an integral part of the Monster Hunter world.
But making them look so cat-like in-game comes with some difficulties.
“It’s true that we record the sounds of the cats – which belong to the development team – in order to get the sounds you hear in the game,” Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak director Yoshitake Suzuki laughs when we ask him if the developers are indeed using their own cats to form the base of the Felynes.
“Some of the cats from the development team appeared in commercials for the game back then here in Japan – that’s a long time ago now!” he explains. “Unfortunately, as you well know, if you’ve ever seen a cat, it’s not necessarily that cooperative. So you kind of just have to take what you can get in terms of performance recording and directing .
“So generally we try to register them when they’re in a good mood, and they’ll make nice meows.”
I told the Monster Hunter team that I would probably publish an entire article about it – and why not, it’s a great insight into some obscure development! – and the whole room burst out laughing. It seems the developers themselves are as amused as we are by the practice of (trying) to record uncooperative chats. We just needed something about Sunbreak to make it relevant…
“From the original Monster Hunter to the current Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, we basically used the same cat sounds,” Suzuki added. “The original cat belongs to the original sound director of Monster Hunter – his name is Migya.
“When additional sounds are needed for new actions etc., we use some of the sounds we originally recorded, or use other staff members’ chats. However, it is not possible to make live to a real cat all situations that occur in the game (eg being attacked by a monster), so we took the base voice and arranged it to use that instead.
“So to sum up, some of the sounds are from other cats, but the main cat in charge is still the same cat.”
So this is it ! Whenever you hear your poor little Palico pal meow in pain as a Seregios absolutely beats him in a Master Rank hunt, think poor little Migya providing the noises.
Monster Hunter Rise – Sunbreak releases June 30 on Steam and Switch.