19 Years Ago, Capcom’s Biggest Franchise Changed Video Games Forever


It took almost a decade, however Monster Hunter has finally turn into a worldwide phenomenon.

2018’s Monster Hunter World and its sequel Rise are probably the most profitable games Capcom has ever launched, selling a combined 30+ million copies worldwide. The “easy to grasp, powerful to master” method of searching drakes, baboons, bugs, and a rotating assortment of beasts began out as a regional delicacy in Japan. But the sequence took fairly a while to get to its spot on the prime of Capcom’s totem pole.

The first Monster Hunter launched on the PlayStation 2 in Japan in March 2004, and already contained the core fundamentals of the franchise. Players take up quests to hunt beasts, collect materials, or simply explore. With every successful defeat or seize, you collect supplies that can be used to upgrade your weapons, armor, or stats. With the assistance of your bipedal cat sidekick, often identified as a Felyne, you’ll be able to eventually take on the daunting end-game bosses, often recognized as elder dragons.

Monster Hunter World is still Capcom’s most successful title.


The first entry was a pioneer in online play — one of three titles designed by Capcom’s Production Studio 1 to test the waters on online-focused games. Players might group up with up to three different hunters to go on unique hunts only out there for a limited time. Though that’s commonplace in today’s living sport ecosystem, it was a rarity again if you wanted to plug your PlayStation into a modem.

The sport was an immediate success in Japan, shortly turning into considered one of Capcom’s most profitable franchises there. But western audiences had been slower to develop an affinity for Kulu-Ya-Ku meat.

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Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, a remaster of Monster Hunter 2 for the PSP, sold 3.5 million units in Japan and is still in the top 25 most purchased Capcom games of all time. But in a 2009 monetary evaluation, Capcom USA wrote that Freedom Unite “struggled” within the west. Fourteen of the franchises’ titles, together with Monster Hunter G, Monster Hunter 2, Monster Hunter: Frontier Online, and Monster Hunter 4, never made it out of Japan of their authentic types. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate didn’t come out within the states until a yr and a half after its base launch.

“When you take a look at the historical past of the Monster Hunter franchise in the west, you presumably can’t actually say that it’s been a huge success,” Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto informed Polygon in 2013.

It took Monster Hunter 3 fairly a bit to come to US shores.


The early Monster Hunter video games weren’t significantly friendly to newcomers, with a tough studying curve and a finicky digicam that requires the D-pad to lock on. Players additionally needed to develop an uncomfortable “claw grip” to carry their controllers and PSPs, utilizing their thumb to move the analog stick and their index finger to press the D-pad.

What’s extra, a few of the greatest early Monster Hunter video games have been unique to the PlayStation Portable, a handheld system that, while well-liked, by no means actually had the same cultural impact as the Nintendo DS within the west. Lacking on-line infrastructure was also a major factor — not everybody within the US had web fast enough to raid in World of Warcraft, not to mention murder monsters in high-stakes combat.

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It additionally didn’t help that Monster Hunter by no means really had the same cultural recognition as other titles in Capcom’s library. The sequence never had a singular main character, changing towns and including beasts with every new entry. Everyone knew who Mega Man and Ryu had been, however Rathians and Felynes by no means managed to achieve that degree of ubiquity.

There was even a Monster Hunter film, even if it wasn’t very spectacular.

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But all of that modified with the discharge of Monster Hunter World in 2018. Bringing high-intensity fights to the Xbox, PS4, and PC, allowing a whole new generation of players to jump into the hack-and-slash adventure. You didn’t need to know what all of the monsters had been, tips on how to rotate your assaults, or even tips on how to use the claw grip. Simplified controls helped newcomers get into the groove, making World essentially the most successful title in Capcom’s historical past. In response, there was even a Monster Hunter live-action film in 2020, however the much less stated about that the better.

Rise has been almost as successful, becoming a staple title on Xbox’s Game Pass whereas building on the foundation of its predecessors. At its core, it’s nonetheless only a sport about slaying monsters and crafting their components into gear. It’s very rare to see a franchise’s core gameplay loop stay so similar over a nearly 20-year evolution, but Monster Hunter managed to do it.



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