The director for Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak has revealed that the voices of the Palico cat companions in the series were provided by Capcom's actual cats. Delightfully, there's also a "main cat" that provides the bulk of the noises.
How are Monster Hunter Palico noises made?
Animal companions are a huge part of the Monster Hunter series. Whether it's doggo friends (even occasionally ones from Mega Man) or Palico sidekicks, you've almost certainly seen an animal buddy in Monster Hunter if you've played it or watched someone play it. Now, in an interview with VG247, Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak director Yoshitake Suzuki breaks down how the team creates the sound effects for Palicos: they use actual cats. Suzuki says that the cats are "owned by the dev team", and that when you hear a Palico noise in Monster Hunter, it's probably one of those cats you're hearing.
According to Suzuki, cats are "not necessarily that cooperative", so the team has to take what it can get when recording noises. Suzuki says the team has used the same cat sounds "from the original Monster Hunter to the current Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak", with new sounds being recorded for new actions. Amusingly, Suzuki also says there's a "main cat in charge": Migya, the original cat that first provided noises for Palicos (or Felynes, as they were called then). Migya is owned by original Monster Hunter sound director Takeshi Kitamura, and in the VG247 interview, Suzuki makes it sound as if Migya is still around, which would make it a rather long-lived kitty.
Of course, Suzuki also points out that some sounds aren't possible to get with real cats (i.e. cats being attacked by monsters), so the team instead manipulates the sounds it already has to get these new ones. Even when the team is trying to get regular cat sounds, it's not easy; Capcom tries to record cats "when they're in a good mood" so they make some adorable meowing sounds, and then those are recorded and uploaded to Monster Hunter. Next time you hear a Palico mewing in Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, it's likely to be one of the developer's cats. Aww.
What's going on in the world of Monster Hunter?
It's a good time to be a Monster Hunter fan right now. Capcom is gearing up to release Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak, a huge expansion for the original Monster Hunter Rise. Launching on June 30th, the expansion will add all-new monsters, gear, narrative elements, and quests, as well as extra Master Rank hunts so you can test your mettle. There's also a new hub area and new hunting areas for you to get to grips with. If you're a Monster Hunter Rise fan, then Sunbreak is shaping up to be unmissable.
You can pre-order Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak right now on Nintendo Switch or on PC via Steam. If you're still working your way through Monster Hunter Rise, then you should know that you won't just be able to walk into Sunbreak; you'll need to reach a certain point in your save first. Make sure to check out our Sunbreak preparation guide to see everything you'll need to do in order to enjoy this significant chunk of new Monster Hunter content later this month.