"I am NOT calling them 'monsties,'" wrote one obviously irritated player earlier this year on a Steam board for Capcom's Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin. "That's just stupid. Monsties may sound cute but I know of no other monster collecting series that does it."
In the world of Monster Hunter Stories, a more kid-friendly and JRPG-styled Monster Hunter spin-off whose well-received sequel released in late June on Switch and PC, the creatures are called "monsties." This person did not want to call them monsties, but facts are facts. They were monsties in the original Monster Hunter Stories, and monsties in the sequel.
(Side note: Google Docs keep trying to correct "monsties" as "monsters." I've added it to my dictionary, and this is something I cannot and will not undo. This is now a formal addition.)
"The word for Monstie in Japanese is Otomon," said English localization editor Joseph Detwiler in a recent conversation with Waypoint. "This is a combination of the words Otomo, which means 'companion,' and Monsutā, which means 'monster.'"
One of the key choices for localizers is deciding how to keep the spirit of the original language. Sometimes that means keeping the original text, literally translated, but more frequently it means making judgment calls on the best ways to express the same idea.
"In the same way that it is a blend of two words in Japanese, we wanted to be faithful to the source," said Detwiler. "Therefore, we combined the terms 'monster' and 'bestie' (as in 'best friend.'"
Detwiler said the idea came about a long time ago, when the team was tasked with not localizing the original Monster Hunter Stories, but the design document outlining what the game would be. This one-off idea ended up a hit, and, according to Detwiler, "it stuck."
"They're monsters, that's what I'm going to call them," wrote the same Steam user.
The discussion went on, somehow, for another nine pages.
And because I don't have anywhere else to share it, I'm also going to take this opportunity to share a few great anecdotes from my recent conversation with the Monster Hunter Stories 2 development team. I peppered game director Kenji Oguro and art director Takahiro Kawano with questions about their ability to carry an egg and...butt soreness while riding horses?
It'll make sense in a second, promise. Hopefully.
Waypoint: You have to walk and carefully carry an egg in Stories 2 in order to retrieve it and use it. Have you ever tried carrying an egg and dropped it? What happened?
Kenji Oguro: While I don’t have any interesting stories about carrying eggs, it was my idea to turn the act of grabbing eggs into an interesting game element. I think that the so-called "gacha-gacha" style of games are interesting on their own, but I made it so that carrying the gacha is a sub-element that makes the moment of opening the eggs even more enjoyable.
Takahiro Kawano: For me, all I can think of is there was an incident when I came home from the supermarket and I found most of them broken in the bag.
Related, what's your favorite way to eat an egg?
Oguro: Egg over Rice!! It’s a common Japanese dish, but the quality of the egg and brand of soy sauce can dramatically impact the flavor!
Kawano: Half-boiled eggs!
I do not think I would be very good at trying to climb a monstie in Stories 2. The last time I tried to ride a horse it did not go very well. Have you ever tried to ride a horse? Did it go well?
Oguro: I've done horse riding in the past when I worked in Los Angeles (not for Stories 2). It was comfortable and fun.
Kawano: I once went horseback riding in Los Angeles. At that time, I rode over one mountain. My butt was really really sore....