Monster Hunter Rise may be all the rage these days (it even includes a little Rush easter-egg), but Monster Hunter World remains alive and kicking. That said, a series of videos were recently brought to my attention that chronicle the creation of the World's Palico Mega Man armor.
The videos, accompanied by a lengthy article on Naver, disclose the trials and tribulations of Sohn Seok-min; the sole individual charged with translating Mega Man's iconic 8-bit sprite into 3D. Early versions of the model are on full display, including several unused facial expressions. It's a really interesting story, one that I've gone ahead and paraphrased (with videos!) after the break below. Check it out!
In late 2019, Capcom character modeler Sohn Seok-min was a speaker at NDC (Nexon Developer Conference). There, he unraveled the burden of designing the Mega Man-themed Palico armor. When he was first assigned the duty by his senior, he was under the impression that it would be a somewhat realistic take on Mega Man's armor. Something, in Seok-min's words, that resembled the Mega Buster from Devil May Cry V. He was wrong.
Seok-min's senior wanted the armor to be a 3D replica of Mega Man's "dot graphics" from the NES games. Given the time constraints of the job, Seok-min was concerned it wouldn't be possible. Nevertheless, he got right to work.
Seok-min started by creating a series of cubes of varying sizes. He theorized that, if he were to create different-sized cubes, he would eventually settle on a respectable character model. Smaller cubes were created first with the intention of building a model capable of great articulation. Early experiments were successful... but they deviated too far from the product the vision laid out by Seok-min's senior. The Mega Man Palico armor was supposed to be simple. These experimental models were far too detailed.
Seok-min went back to the drawing board. He returned with... an unexpected redesign. Monster Hunter World director Yuya Tokuda replied, "cute." In other words, get back to work.
Seok-min continued to experiment with different proportions and shaders. The task before him was difficult. Even translating the famous E-Can into 3D proved challenging. But he was determined to get it right! After much trial and error, Seok-min got it. He presented the finished model to his senior. It was approved!
Just before Seok-min could call it a day and finally relax, his senior charged him with one FINAL task: "How about giving it some facial expressions?"
Tired but still very much grateful that the final model was approved, Seok-min returned to work. Here's what he came up with: