Monster Hunter

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Monster Hunter
Monster Hunter logo.png
Genres Action role-playing
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Platforms PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, iOS
Platform of origin PlayStation 2
Year of inception 2004
First release Monster Hunter
March 11, 2004
Latest release Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate
August 28, 2018

The Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター, Monsutā Hantā) franchise is a series of fantasy-themed action role-playing video games that started with the game Monster Hunter for PlayStation 2, released in 2004. Titles have been released across a variety of platforms, including personal computer, home console, portable consoles, and mobile devices. The series is developed and published by Capcom.

The games are primarily action role-playing games. The player takes the role of a Hunter, slaying or trapping large monsters across various landscapes as part of quests given to them by the locals. As part of its core gameplay loop, players use loot gained from slaying monsters, gathering resources, and quest rewards to craft improved weapons, armor, and other items that allows them to face more powerful monsters. All main series games feature multiplayer (usually up to four player cooperative), but can also be played single player.

As of January 2018, the series has sold more than 45 million copies worldwide, principally in Japan and other Asian countries, where it has flourished due to the popularity of the series' ad hoc multiplayer features on portable consoles. Monster Hunter has been critically well received in Western markets, but has generally languished in sales, in part due to the game's high difficult learning curve. However, with Monster Hunter: World (2018), Capcom aimed to attract a global audience using the power of advanced home gaming consoles and computers, and released the title simultaneously worldwide; World became the best-selling Monster Hunter game within 3 days of its release and within a few months, became Capcom's best-selling game with more than 10 million units shipped by August 2018. The series has shipped over 50 million units across all games.

In addition to games, the franchise has an anime based on the spin-off game Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village, Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On based on Monster Hunter Stories, a manga Monster Hunter Orage, and a book Monster Hunter Episode.[1]

Gameplay[edit]

Monster Hunter games are action role-playing games, set in a fantasy genre. Players take the role of a Hunter that serves to help protect a village or help research the large monsters that roam the various areas near the village. This is generally presented through a series of quests to slay or trap a monster, but can include numerous optional challenges.

The core feature of Monster Hunter is its compulsion loop. A player's Hunter does not grow as in traditional computer role-playing games, and has no intrinsic attributes. Instead, the Hunter's abilities are defined by what equipment they select prior to leaving on a mission. The games have more than ten weapon archetypes, such as sword, axe, and bow, each with various combat abilities, and a vast array of specific weapons that provide attack power and the ability to inflict elemental or status effects on a monster. Multiple pieces of armor can be worn, providing defensive value, providing resistances to certain types of attacks or status effects, and additional skills that boost the Hunter's attributes while in the field. Additional equipment atop armor can be worn to also boost those skills. While the Hunter starts the game with basic equipment and can buy some equipment, most of the gear must be made by collecting resources from the field, including parts that are carved from downed monsters or given as rewards from completing quests successfully. The gameplay loop becomes one of selecting the best equipment to defeat a specific monster, and using the parts from that monster to make better gear as to face even tougher monsters. However, as the monster parts that are obtained are distributed based on certain rarity factors, a player may need to grind, hunting the same monster repeatedly to get the right parts.[2]

Once a quest is selected and the player equips their Hunter, they enter one of several fields and must track down the monster, as well as collect other resources used in crafting weapons, armor, and restorative items. While in the field, the player must watch their Hunter's health and stamina. The Hunter will faint if they lose all their health and be returned to the field's base camp where they can continue the mission, but fainting three times will fail the mission. Stamina is consumed by most attacks and actions, but can be regained quickly by standing still. However, should the Hunter use all their stamina, they will be unable to react until they fully recover, leaving them vulnerable to any attack. The games offer a number of tools and other equipment that can be used to help defeat a monster and recover health and stamina while in the field. Combat is centered around watching for a monster's tells prior to an attack to able to dodge it and/or make a counter-attack, and looking for openings to unleash strings of attack combos, depending on the Hunter's current weapon. In addition to monster parts for completed a quest, the Hunter is rewarded with Zenny, the in-game currency.

Nearly all Monster Hunter games have a single-player mode; in these, the Hunter is often accompanied by a Felyne or Palico, a sentient cat-like creature that provides support and limited offensive abilities in combat. More newer games support four player cooperative online modes, allowing the group to hunt down stronger versions of monsters. The games typically have a main quest line, frequently called "Low Rank" quests, which can take up to fifty hours to complete. Once completed, the game opens up with new "High Rank" quests, featuring stronger versions of monsters they have previously faced, as well as new monsters yet seen and unique variants of these monsters, all which provide better components for more powerful weapons and armor sets, providing hundreds of hours of potential gameplay following the main quest.[3]

History[edit]

The first Monster Hunter game was one of three titles Capcom had developed to take advantage of the processing power and online capabilities of the PlayStation 2, which according to Ryozo Tsujimoto, who has been the series' producer since Monster Hunter Freedom 2, had begun to match arcade games in capabilities; the other two such titles were Auto Modellista and Resident Evil Outbreak.[4] Tsujimoto considered Monster Hunter to be the culmination of the work of these other two titles once it was released.[4] He also felt that the game was intended for such co-operative play so that players of any skill level, working with others, could feel accomplished in taking down giant creatures.[5] Monster Hunter proved a success, selling over 1 million copies, principally in Japan.[5]

The series took off explosively in Japan with Monster Hunter Freedom on the PlayStation Portable, and even more so once its sequel Monster Hunter Freedom 2 was released which supported up to four players via the unit's ad-hoc networking.[6] Handheld systems are generally more popular in Japan, and due to the country's high population density, it was easy to find players to hunt cooperatively with, making it a phenomenon there.[7] James Miekle, writing for PC Gamer, had worked for Q Entertainment and lived in Japan during the release of Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, which was the best selling PlayStation Portable game of all time, and described how even during work, impromptu Monster Hunter sessions would break out between employees, and there was extensive marketing of Monster Hunter branded consumer goods.[6]

While Monster Hunter had been successful in Japan, its popularity in Western markets (primarily North America and Europe) languished. In contrast to the Japanese culture, Western markets favored home consoles and computers during the mid-2000s, and because of a thinner population density, most players relied on Internet-based gaming rather than local ad hoc networking.[7][6] The series also struggled with a difficult learning curve that had made the games off-putting in Western markets.[8]

The series had little popularity in the West until the release of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate on the Nintendo 3DS, a console that had gained a sizable foothold in Western markets. While Monster Hunter's popularity in the West was still to a niche group, Capcom saw the potential for more growth there and took steps to better localize the next few titles to make the series more attractive; Monster Hunter 4 was the first game in the series to break one million sales in Western markets.[7] Capcom recognized there was still room for further growth of the series there; in an October 2016 interview, Capcom chairman Kenzo Tsujimoto said they are looking towards increasing the popularity of the games in the Western markets, recognizing that gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have dominance in these regions over handhelds.[9] Monster Hunter: World, the series's first major entry targeting home consoles and computers, was developed to be more alluring for Western markets without trying to make the game simpler.[8]

Games[edit]

Below is a list of games in the Monster Hunter main series. Each generation has a number of entries that are derivative of the original release.

Main series[edit]

Title Original release date

Japan

North America

PAL region

Monster Hunter March 11, 2004 September 12, 2004 May 27, 2005
Notes:
Monster Hunter 2 February 16, 2006 August 28, 2007 (PlayStation Portable) September 7, 2007 (PlayStation Portable)
Notes:
Monster Hunter Tri August 1, 2009 April 20, 2010 April 23, 2010
Notes:
Monster Hunter 4 September 14, 2013 February 13, 2015 February 13, 2015
Notes:
  • Released on Nintendo 3DS
  • Developed by Capcom
  • An enhanced version was released for Nintendo 3DS in North America and Europe titled Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
Monster Hunter: World[10][11] January 26, 2018 January 26, 2018 January 26, 2018
Notes:
  • Released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and first in series to be released worldwide simultaneously.
  • Developed by Capcom
  • A Microsoft Windows version was released on August 9, 2018.
  • Multiple changes in standard gameplay enabled by home consoles and computers, such as elimination of loading screens between map zones, while designed to be more approachable by new players to the series.

Spin-offs[edit]

Title Details

Original release date(s):
  • JP: June 21, 2007
Release years by system:
2007 – Microsoft Windows
2010 – Xbox 360
Notes:
  • The first full-fledged MMORPG spin-off.
  • Released only in Japan.



Original release date(s):
  • JP: August 26, 2010
Release years by system:
2010 – Released on PlayStation Portable.

2011 - An expanded version called Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village G was released on PlayStation Portable.
2015 - An enhanced port called Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village DX was released on Nintendo 3DS.

Notes:
  • A game based on the series' catlike "Felyne" creatures, known as the Airou (アイルー, Airū) in the Japanese language games.
  • The subtitle of the game can be translated into English as "Warm Felyne Village".
  • The game has only been released in Japan.



Original release date(s):
  • WW: June 1, 2011
Release years by system:
2011 – iOS
Notes:
  • First game in the series to be on the iOS system
  • A fighting spin-off.



Original release date(s):
  • JP: April 17, 2013
Release years by system:
2013 – Released on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U
2014 – PlayStation Vita.

2016 - An upgraded game called Monster Hunter Frontier Z was released on Wii U, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita and Xbox 360.[12]

Notes:
  • Another MMORPG spinoff.
  • Frontier G was not released outside of Japan.


Monster Hunter Online

Original release date(s):
  • CHN: August 18, 2013
Release years by system:
2013 – Microsoft Windows
Notes:
  • Third Monster Hunter MMORPG game as a collaboration between Tencent and Capcom
  • Uses Crytek's CryEngine 3
  • Free-to-play business model
  • Beta in Cancini began on July 6, 2013
  • Planned to be released only for Windows
  • Though developed primarily for Chinese players, and solely uses the Chinese language, the game is not region locked, and only limited by the language limitations. Tencent has approved the distribution of an English-language patch created by a fan group in May 2016.[13]


Monster Hunter Spirits

Original release date(s):
  • JP: June 5, 2015
Release years by system:
Arcade



Original release date(s):
  • JP: September 3, 2015
Release years by system:
2015 – iOS
2015 – Android[14]
Notes:
  • Name was changed from Monster Hunter Smart



Original release date(s):[a]
  • JP: November 28, 2015
  • NA: July 15, 2016
  • EU: July 15, 2016
Release years by system:
2015 - Nintendo 3DS
2017 - Nintendo Switch
Notes:
  • Plays with more emphasis on action and customization.
  • Released in Japan as Monster Hunter X (cross-)
  • Announced in a Nintendo Direct presentation on May 31, 2015
  • Added new "Hunting Styles" and "Hunter Arts" abilities to make Generations the most customizable and personalized Monster Hunter yet.
  • An enhanced version was released for Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch; this was titled as Monster Hunter XX in Japan and released August 2017, while the worldwide release will be titled Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and scheduled for release on August 28, 2018.[16]



Original release date(s):
  • JP: October 8, 2016
  • NA: September 8, 2017
  • EU: September 8, 2017
  • AU: September 9, 2017
Release years by system:
2016 – Nintendo 3DS[17]
Notes:
  • Plays more as a traditional RPG and less focus on action elements.
  • Has turn-based combat.


Reception[edit]

Since the series debuted, it has sold 28 million units as of March 31, 2014.[18] As of February 17, 2015, the series has sold 32 million units.[19] By June 2017, Capcom reported over 40 million units sold.[8] As of March 2017, the series is Capcom's third highest-selling series, following Street Fighter and Resident Evil.[20]

In the three days after release, Monster Hunter: World shipped over five million units (including digital sales), according to Capcom, and bringing the total series' sales to over 45 million by the end of January 2018.[21] By early March 2018, World had reached a combined retail and digital 7.5 million units shipped, making it Capcom's best-selling game in its history.[22] By mid-August 2018, following World's release to personal computers, the title had shipped more than 10 million unites, and bringing total sales in the series to over 50 million units.[23]

Total worldwide sales for Monster Hunter games exceeding 1 million units, through March 31, 2018, are listed below:[24]

Title Sales (millions of units)
Monster Hunter World 11.6
Monster Hunter Freedom 3/Portable 3rd 4.9
Monster Hunter X/Generations 4.3
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate 4.2
Monster Hunter 4 4.1
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite 3.8
Monster Hunter Tri G 2.6
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 2.4
Monster Hunter Tri 1.9
Monster Hunter Double Cross 1.8
Monster Hunter Freedom 1.3

Other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

A female Monster Hunter appeared as a playable character via downloadable content in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite. The game also features a stage called "Valkanda", which combines Val Habar from the fourth installment with Wakanda from the Marvel universe.

Rathalos, one of the series' mainstay monsters, appeared as a special event monster to fight in Final Fantasy XIV as part of a cross-promotional event with Monster Hunter World.[25] Rathalos will also appear as boss character and assist trophy in the Nintendo Switch crossover fighter, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.[26]

Anime[edit]

A series of anime shorts titled MonHun Nikki Girigiri Airū-mura Airū Kiki Ippatsu (ja:モンハン日記 ぎりぎりアイルー村) was broadcast beginning August 10, 2010. A sequel, MonHun Nikki Girigiri Airū-mura G, was produced.[27] An anime series based on the franchise premiered on October 2, 2016.

Manga and comics[edit]

A manga titled Monster Hunter Orage was published jointly by Kodansha and Capcom in April 2008. The author of the manga is Hiro Mashima. There are four volumes total with the last volume published on May 4, 2009. An English release of Monster Hunter Orage first took place on June 28, 2011. Elements from Monster Hunter were later included in the Worlds Unite comic crossover from Archie Comics, which featured several other Capcom and Sega franchises making guest appearances in the previously running Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man comic lines.[28]

Card game[edit]

A trading card game titled Monster Hunter Hunting Card was released in October 2008 with periodic updates planned.[29]

Film[edit]

In 2012, it was reported that director Paul W. S. Anderson might direct a film adaptation of Monster Hunter.[30] During the September 2016 Tokyo Game Show Capcom producer Ryozo Tsujimoto stated that a live-action Monster Hunter film is currently in development within Hollywood.[31] Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, who both helped to bring Capcom's Resident Evil game to a series of films, have obtained the rights from Capcom to adapt Monster Hunter after about five years of discussion. They foresee a series of Monster Hunter films. Anderson said he was drawn to the Monster Hunter property because of the series' popularity and for the "incredibly beautiful, immersive world they've created". Anderson has written a script, which would involve an American being dragged into the parallel universe that the Monster Hunter series is set in, learning how to fight monsters, and having to deal with the situation when monsters cross back into the real world and start attacking, such as a final climactic battle at Los Angeles International Airport.[32] Constantin Film has confirmed they will be producing the film, with the aim of going into production in late 2017 or early 2018.[33]

During the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, Constantin affirmed that the film is set to start production in September 2018 in and around Cape Town and South Africa, with an estimated US$60 million budget. Milla Jovovich has been cast for the film. Special effects studio Mr. X, which also worked on the Resident Evil films, will also be involved in production. Constantin worked with several international distributors for release rights, while Constantin will finance the film's production.[34]

Animated special[edit]

Capcom and Pure Imagination Studios announced that they are working on a 3D animated special Monster Hunter: Legends of the Guild, to be available in 2019. The special will be written by Joshua Fine, and feature a fledgling hunter taking down an Elder Dragon.[35]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Per the developer, World is the fifth game of the main series. Generations is a spin-off.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MONSTER HUNTER|モンスターハンター 公式ポータルサイト" (in Japanese). Capcom(Japan). Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  2. ^ Mackey, Bob (January 25, 2018). "The Gateway Guide to Monster Hunter: Where Should I Start?". US Gamer. Retrieved February 13, 2018. 
  3. ^ Kim, Matt (December 18, 2017). "Monster Hunter World is Kind of Short With Its 40 to 50 Hour Story Mode". US Gamer. Retrieved December 18, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b MacDonald, Keza (February 21, 2018). "Call me Mr Monster Hunter: the man who turned a Japanese curiosity into a global smash". The Guardian. Retrieved February 21, 2018. 
  5. ^ a b Yin-Poole, Wesley (March 11, 2014). "As Monster Hunter turns 10, can Capcom finally make the west listen?". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved February 23, 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c Miekle, James (January 30, 2018). "How Monster Hunter rose from niche import to an international sensation". PC Gamer. Retrieved January 30, 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c Oxford, Nadia (January 25, 2018). "How Monster Hunter Went From Japanese Phenomenon to Global Success". US Gamer. Retrieved January 25, 2018. 
  8. ^ a b c Webster, Andrew (June 23, 2017). "Monster Hunter World could finally be the series's breakout global hit". The Verge. Retrieved June 23, 2017. 
  9. ^ Saed, Sharif (November 3, 2016). "Capcom wants Monster Hunter to grow in the West, knows handhelds alone aren't enough". VG247. Retrieved November 3, 2016. 
  10. ^ Frank, Allegra (12 June 2017). "Monster Hunter World coming to PS4 and more (update)". Polygon. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  11. ^ Wright, Steven (June 15, 2017). "Q&A: 'Monster Hunter World' Leads Answer All the Big Questions". Glixel. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  12. ^ 2013-09-18.TGS: Monster Hunter: Frontier G Announced for Vita, IGN
  13. ^ Whitaker, Jed (May 23, 2016). "The beautiful Monster Hunter Online is getting an English patch on May 30". Destructoid. Retrieved May 24, 2016. 
  14. ^ "モンスターハンター エクスプロア【MHXR】 公式プロモーションサイト". www.mh-xr.jp. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  15. ^ https://www.polygon.com/2017/11/1/16585780/why-monster-hunter-world-isnt-called-monster-hunter-5
  16. ^ Webster, Andrew (May 10, 2018). "Monster Hunter is coming to the Nintendo Switch this summer". Polygon. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  17. ^ "Monster Hunter Stories Announced For Nintendo 3DS - Siliconera". siliconera.com. 11 April 2015. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  18. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (8 May 2014). "Dead Rising 3 sales rise to 1.2m as Capcom enjoys profit boost". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  19. ^ Matulef, Jeffrey (February 17, 2015). "Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has shipped over 3m copies worldwide". Eurogamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved February 17, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Game Series Sales". Capcom. March 31, 2017. Retrieved June 24, 2017. 
  21. ^ Handrahan, Matthew (January 29, 2018). "Monster Hunter World shipped 5m units in its launch weekend". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved January 29, 2018. 
  22. ^ Kerr, Chris (March 5, 2018). "Monster Hunter: World is now the best-selling title in Capcom history". Gamasutra. Retrieved March 5, 2018. 
  23. ^ Moyse, Chris (August 20, 2018). "Monster Hunter: World passes 10 million units thanks to PC port". Destructoid. Retrieved August 20, 2018. 
  24. ^ "Platinum Titles". Capcom. March 31, 2018. Retrieved May 10, 2018. 
  25. ^ Wales, Matt (June 11, 2018). "Monster Hunter World is coming to FFXIV this summer". Eurogamer. Retrieved June 12, 2018. 
  26. ^ Moyse, Chris (August 8, 2018). "Monster Hunter's Rathalos joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, alongside new Pokemon assists". Destructoid. Retrieved August 8, 2018. 
  27. ^ "Monster Hunter Nikki Anime Shorts Get Sequel". Anime News Network. 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  28. ^ Schedeen, Jesse (26 February 2015). "Capcom and Sega Join Forces for Worlds Unite Comic Book Crossover". ign.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  29. ^ "Monster Hunter becomes a card game". andriasang. August 22, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2010. [dead link]
  30. ^ "Paul W. S. Anderson to direct Capcom's 'Monster Hunter'?". www.punchdrunkcritics.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  31. ^ Ashcroft, Brian (September 15, 2016). "Hollywood Is Making A Monster Hunter Movie". Kotaku. Retrieved September 15, 2016. 
  32. ^ Fleming, Jr., Mike (November 21, 2016). "As 'Resident Evil' Nears $1 Billion, Paul W.S. Anderson & Jeremy Bolt Set 'Monster Hunter': Q&A". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 21, 2016. 
  33. ^ Hopewell, John (May 21, 2017). "Constantin Drives Into Tentpoles With 'Monster Hunter,' 'Resident Evil' Reboot". Variety. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
  34. ^ Hopewell, John (May 11, 2018). "Constantin Sets September Shoot for Paul W.S. Anderson's 'Monster Hunter'". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2018. 
  35. ^ Frank, Allegra (July 11, 2018). "Monster Hunter getting 3D animated special in 2019". Polygon. Retrieved July 11, 2018. 

External links[edit]