While this interview may seem a little bit belated, I recently had the opportunity to ask a few questions to Haru Akenaga, CEO of Idea Factory International. After launching in the latter half of 2013 with the focus of “providing general and overall information regarding video games, animation and social apps to Idea Factory fans worldwide”, Idea Factory International surprised everyone earlier this year by announcing an English localization of Monster Monpiece published directly by them.
Monster Monpiece is a PlayStation Vita JRPG that has just been released, so if you are sitting on the fence or just want some interesting insight on the game, please read on!
First of all, congratulations on announcing your plans to release Monster Monpiece! What made you decide to publish this title to the international market?
Thank you very much! We are excited to bring Monster Monpiece to Western markets. One of our reasons for selecting Monster Monpiece as our first title was that we had received so many requests for this particular game from our overseas fans. Since the title was not picked up by any third-party publishers, we thought it would be a great surprise to the fans if we were to announce that we were bringing it over ourselves.
With several “card battle games” now available on mobile devices in particular within the international market, what do you think will set Monster Monpiece apart from the others?
Monster Monpiece will be available on PlayStation Vita, and fans of Idea Factory titles are familiar with that game console. That being said, we believe that this new genre being explored by Idea Factory will be easily accepted by IF fans. Monster Monpiece’s gameplay is definitely fun, with its light-hearted story and vividly drawn characters.
The game features a unique level-up system called the “First Crush Rub,” in which the player holds the Vita vertically and touches the touchscreen to level up the Monster Girls. This system then unlocks another feature called “Extreme Love.” This is a very unique way of levelling up your characters, and Monster Monpiece sets itself apart from other card-battling games with interesting twists such as these.
How long do you expect a standard playthrough of the game to take?
It’s very hard to estimate the length of a standard playthrough, but I’d say between 20 and 30 hours. If you’re looking to collect Monster Girls, or assemble the best of the best units, that will add several hours to your game time. You can also train your units in the “Card Gym,” and take your cards into battle against other players online in either Ad Hoc or Network games!
Outside of the main storyline, what are some of the other features / modes that players can take advantage of?
It looks like I jumped ahead while I was answering the last question! Other than what I’ve previously mentioned, there’s a “Museum,” in which you can listen to music tracks and watch event scenes and movies from the game. This feature is very nice for those who enjoy the game’s music and want to see events that they’ve viewed before. An in-game Shop is also available for players to purchase card packs and items.
How much of a learning curve do you expect players will find in Monster Monpiece?
The game’s rules are very simple, so it’s really easy to get a handle on it. However, please don’t underestimate the game’s depth! While you’ll easily learn the basics, you’ll definitely have to put your strategy hat on to tackle the enemies! I think one of the greatest things about Monster Monpiece is how the game system is simple, yet requires a strategic mind to master it. Also, each unit has unique elements and skills, so a player must understand the units under his or her command in order to build a strong battle plan and see it through to victory!
With Monster Monpiece already available on the Japanese market, was has been in your opinion, the most well received feature of the game?
Idea Factory developed Monster Monpiece for the most niche fans, which is why the systems like First Crush Rub and Extreme Love were included. I believe these features were very well-received by niche fans in Japan. The card battle system itself is very well structured. So, it seems like the game was received well altogether, and not for just one system.
To end with a bit of a fun question, with over 100 Monster Girl’s available to collect in the game, what is your personal favourite?
She’s not one of the Monster Girls, but my favourite character would be Leanne, the principal at the Kunaguva Academy. She’s mature and caring, but also a little off… so I enjoy her personality.
Do you have anything else you would like to add for those sitting on the fence about purchasing Monster Monpiece when it is released later this year?
Monster Monpiece is a unique card-battle game. Even if you’re new to the genre, the combination of simplicity and complexity will be sure to provide a fun game experience! You can find more information about the game and a trailer at Monster Monpiece’s official website (http://ideafintl.com/monmon/index.html)!
Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about Monster Monpiece!
I would like to pass on my thanks to Mr. Akenaga for taking the time out of his busy work schedule to do a second interview with me. For the first, which took place when Idea Factory International first opened its doors, click HERE. My thanks also go to Nao Miyazawa for helping me organize this Q&A.
Monster Monpiece is currently available in the North American PlayStation Store for the reasonable price of $29.99. A release in Europe has been delayed until early next month, while unfortunately Australian’s have missed out this time around. IFI’s next release ‘Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1′ will be available in the region however as I mentioned earlier today.