Forging the Gear of Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak

Jan 12, 2023 // Shibata

Hello everyone! Koichi Shibata here, reporting from the Monster Hunter Rise dev floor!

For our next round of Monster Hunter Rise interviews, I’ll be talking to Sakata-san and Hashimoto-san, who designed the weapons and armor you can create using Malzeno’s materials!

A Valstrax icon made by Sakata-san, An Espinas drawing made by Hashimoto-san


Q1: All of Malzeno’s weapons have a sort of metallic look with characteristic red crystals. Did you have a particular motif or theme in mind when you designed them?

A1. Sakata-san:

Yes, the concept for Malzeno was “weapons that draw energy from congealed crystals.”

I’ll get to the congealed crystals later, so let me start by commenting on the shapes of the weapons themselves.

We were very particular about using beautiful curves for the weapons, to give them a general Westernized appearance. We also made proactive use of its three-pronged tail in the designs.

There are several reasons for this: in addition to giving each individual part a unique shape, it also creates some “openings” in the silhouette.

I’m going to have to get a bit technical here, but if you create openings in a silhouette, that means the weapon ends up looking lighter when compared to silhouettes without openings.

After checking with the design team, they agreed that this also matched Malzeno’s image, so we collectively decided to use three-pronged protrusions in a variety of ways for all of Malzeno’s weapons.

For blade-type weapons, this lends it a nice, sharp image, fit for severing. For long-range weapons like the bow, this allowed us to represent the tensile strength of the materials.

Q2: Which parts of Malzeno (like its claws or its horns, etc.) are these weapons made of?

A2: Sakata-san:

They’re made of Malzeno’s claws, which are its primary weapon, and the three spikes at the end of its tail.

In the early design stages, some of the artists wanted to include a red membrane as well, but we ended up not using that idea, in order to make the red color of the congealed crystals stand out more.


Q3: The series has had equipment based on Western-style armor before, so how did you go about to make sure the Malzeno series stands out from the rest?

A3: Hashimoto-san:

For the Malzeno series, we based the design on Western armor motifs, to create contrast with the Japanese designs of Monster Hunter Rise, and then we added a “vampiric” element to it, to represent the monster.
We did this by adding a cape with a stand-up collar, using red membrane, to an armor set made of Malzeno’s silvery white carapace. We also looked at tailcoats and the jabots (the frilly things) around the neck of aristocratic clothing, to represent Malzeno’s noble appearance.

We then added some red in between the individual carapace parts, and gave the decorations on the hands and feet the same shape as the monster to make sure that it didn’t just look like regular old Western armor.

It’s basically a sort of “Vampire Knight” motif, but since this is the equipment for the flagship monster, we used heroic colors like white and red, and tried to keep elements of “evil” and “night” to a minimum.

The Malzeno armor series & great sword 

Q4: What kind of differences are there between Type 1 and Type 2?

A3: Hashimoto-san:
Both of them are Western armor first and foremost, but Type 1 is a bit more orthodox, whereas Type 2 was made for players who want a bit more of a vampiric element to their armor.

■ Type 1
We wanted to establish a clear image of “Western-style armor”, so we gave it a full-face helmet, big round shoulder pads, and a chest plate. By adding a big cape on the back, we gave it a more stylish look, while also giving some grandeur to the silhouette.

■ Type 2
This one uses a circlet, so the face is visible. Type 1 has a big silhouette for the upper body, so for Type 2, we added some volume to the lower body by creating a Western dress silhouette.

Weapons & Armor:

Q5: Malzeno is known for becoming extra violent once it absorbs a certain amount of life force, so how did you incorporate this element into the designs of the weapons and armor?

A5: Sakata-san:

As I mentioned before, the concept for Malzeno’s weapons was “drawing energy from congealed crystals,” so we incorporated an effect where a red line runs along your weapon when you sheathe it, as if the energy flowing from the crystals is running through the grooves etched into the weapon itself.

At first glance, they look like pretty silver-and-gold weapons, but once you sheathe them, there’s kind of an evil aura to them. This also ties into the duality of Malzeno itself.

We also made a point of placing the crystals on the parts that form the openings I mentioned for Q1.


I incorporated several design elements, like red holes between the armor’s carapace for storing life force, and red slits that serve as passageways for that energy. However, the motif for the Malzeno armor series is based on Malzeno in its regular state. When it becomes more violent, it changes its form, and this form was used for the design of the “Formal Dragon” armor series which can be unlocked with an amiibo. It’s even more vampire-like than the regular Malzeno armor series.

Q6: What kind of themes did you use for the Buddy weapons and armor?

A6: Sakata-san:

Since Malzeno is the flagship monster, we tried to come up with a design that would be appealing to a wide variety of players. I think we managed to create something that looks worthy of Buddy armor based on the flagship monster.

Felyne Malzeno
Canyne Malzeno
“I especially like the weapon on the Palico’s back.”

If you look closely, it has tiny cat ears at the top of the handle. Did you notice this?

I can’t go into too much detail, but every piece of equipment in the game was designed using all of the designers’ knowledge of the game. It’s really worth it to sit down and have a close look at them when you’re taking a break between hunts.

Felyne weapon
Canyne weapon

– Closing Comment from Shibata:

Thank you, Sakata-san and Hashimoto-san!

It’s very interesting to know that the weapons and armor made with Malzeno’s materials were created to match the concept and ecology of this flagship monster. Like the monster itself, this equipment is unique and detailed, and really fits the world of Monster Hunter, even if it’s based on a vampire. You can really feel the passion of the designers!

Next time, I’ll be talking to the environment leader, Yuya Endo, about the design of the locales!