Interview: Steve Black Jr. & Carly Houle (The Hunt - A Monster Hunter Handbook)

What is this monster weak to?  Where does it usually spawn?  Can you cut off the tail?  Why do I always forget Cool Drinks when I go to the Sandy Plains during the day?  Well, that last one is because I'm an idiot.  The other questions are often things that are asked in the world of Monster Hunter.  Capcom's lastest installment, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, is seeing a lot of use on the Wii U and the 3DS and undoubtedly new players are being attracted to the series.  To help them along a team launched a Kickstarter campaign for a book titled "The Hunt - A Monster Hunter Handbook"

The response was impressive as the project met is modest goal of $700 within 36 hours of being launched.  The minds behind "The Hunt" are Steven Black Jr. and artist Carly Houle.  The book will be released in both digital and physical form.  It is over 90 pages long and includes the monster's elemental weaknesses, breakable parts, and weak points per weapons.  Additionally, the full color publication will feature original artwork of the monsters.  So you won't be seeing screen shots of the monster in gameplay.  These are never before seeing pieces by Carly Houle.

Carly started hunting in Monster Hunter Tri, ironically the same game that introduced me to the series.  She shared her enjoyment of the game with Steve.  Quickly they saw the benefit of a quick reference guide that would help new hunters go into a quest armed with the most deadly weapon, information.  The two were planning on launching a different project, but decided to switch focus on "The Hunt".  Nintendo Feed had the chance to talk with both of them about the project.

Nintendo Feed: The world of Monster Hunter has a huge amount of content so even focusing on only the monsters would involve a large amount of data.  Exactly what information will “The Hunt” have on each type of monster? (body carves, drop rates, weaknesses, etc)

Black: The book will contain a break down of the best part to hit per weapon type, and the part of a Monster’s body to stay away from if you can per your weapon. It will also feature what can be cut and broken on each Monster. We are also including weaknesses of course. Finally, we are planning to include advice from other hunters. Anything else planned is extra on top of what I just listed. Carly and I want to hit on those key points first before adding something like carves or drop rates. 

Nintendo Feed: I’m always making lists of materials that I need for armor/weapons.  Will the physical copy of the publication have a section for Hunter Notes that a person could write these lists like that into and note when the gets them?

Black: I was playing with the idea of leaving room for notes... to keep it short and sweet... that is still up in the air. Personally, I wouldn’t want to write in my own book unless I had two copies... I’m weird like that... but I understand the appeal.

Nintendo Feed: Let’s turn to Carly and talk a little about the art work.  Which monster did you find yourself wanting to put the most amount of time into and why?

Houle: A monster that's in the previews right now is the Rathian- I think some of the monsters I could imply their main features and it would be fine, as long as I got the general impression of them down. But when I started sketching out the Rathian I found myself drawn to the detailing in it's appearance. I felt like it was important to get all of the different shapes in it's head and neck down as they are. While looking over what we have planned for the book, there's some monsters that have very striking shapes and attitudes, and I know that giving them the dynamic poses they deserve will be a time investment I will enjoy putting forth.

Nintendo Feed: Your Kickstarter Project met its goal of $700 within 36 hours of launch, congratulations on that by the way, so now you can turn your attention to stretch goals.  What ideas are you entertaining?

Black:  I couldn’t believe we hit our goal so quickly. I had no following of Monster Hunter. I run a Pokémon podcast, and recently on the show talked about Monster Hunter, but besides 2-3 fans, there was no interest in that community letting me know they play. So when we hit launch for Kickstarter, we were going in blind without a solid following... but I guess we set things up right. The main stretch goal right now that we will do for sure is a Hardcover book, other ideas are still up in the air. 

Houle:  Thank you! We tossed a few ideas around but that we can continue to develop as it comes by. Whatever's planned, I'm down for it.

Nintendo Feed: I’ve learned a lot of helpful tips from hunting online and for the the $75 backer one of the rewards is to have advice and tips for hunter included in the book.  What are you thoughts on how the Monster Hunter Community is about sharing tips and strategy?

Black:  I’ve backed a lot of Kickstarter projects, and thank you’s published go a long way, hence why are $50 award has very limited spots left. I thought the $75 award of Hunter advice, while a bit higher, we ensure that we got some serious hunter’s advice. So when making this award... I thought... wouldn’t it be cool if Hunter “xyz” gave you advice on how to take out a Rathian... and in a random meeting up online you met Hunter “xyz” in a party. I don’t think enough thanks is given with any video game advice, so that’s where this reward shines.

Houle:  If my friends who love it dearly are any reflection of the community, they hold a boastful amount of knowledge that they are always willing to share and for that, I am glad.

Nintendo Feed:  So one final question.  Are you multiple weapon hunters or are you specialists with one in particular?

Black: When I started playing Monster Hunter I knew I didn’t want to do Sword & Shield because it was the default, but Dual Swords pulled me in right away. Once got comfortable with Dual Swords, I tried all the other weapons. I fell in love with the Hammer and have been working to master that. Honestly right now it’s 98% of the Hammer with me. I do plan to attempt to master the Lance next because I do dislike the lack of “cut”.

Houle: There's something really satisfying about landing a hit with a sword but I like experimenting with everything I can get my hands on. I don't have a particular favorite at the moment!

Nintendo Feed would like to thank Steve and Carly for spending some time with us and we are looking forward to seeing how the project comes together.

The campaign will close on June 28 and is currently 332% funded with the stretch goals still being decided.  Be sure to visit "The Hunt - A Monster Hunter Handbook" and become a backer to enjoy some excellent rewards.  $10 gets you the pdf version while $25 gets you the hard copy, but for $50 you get both as well as your name published in the credits.  You may want to hurry as there are only nine of the $50 offers remaining.

I hope one of the stretch goals is a Monster Hunter thermos decorated by Carly for me to store my Hot Drink in when I quest in the Tundra.  Maybe I would remember I need them more often.

What do you think of this project?  Let us know in the comment section...

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