Monster Hunter

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Monster Hunter
Monster Hunter logo.png
Logo for Monster Hunter
Genre(s) Action role-playing
Developer(s) Capcom
Publisher(s) Capcom
Platform(s) PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, iOS
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.

Fantasy genre of literature, film, television and other artforms

Fantasy is a genre of speculative fiction set in a fictional universe, often without any locations, events, or people referencing the real world. Its roots are in oral traditions, which then became literature and drama. From the twentieth century it has expanded further into various media, including film, television, graphic novels and video games.

Action role-playing video games are a subgenre of role-playing video games. The games emphasize real-time combat where the player has direct control over the characters as opposed to turn or menu-based combat. These games often use action game combat systems similar to hack and slash or shooter games. Action role-playing games may also incorporate action-adventure games, which include a mission system and RPG mechanics, or massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) with real-time combat systems.

<i>Monster Hunter</i> (video game) video game

Monster Hunter is an action role-playing game for the PlayStation 2. The game was developed and published by Capcom. Monster Hunter was released in North America on September 21, 2004. It was remade and expanded in Monster Hunter G, which was released in Japan and was brought to North America and Europe as Monster Hunter Freedom for the PlayStation Portable.

Contents

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.

A compulsion loop or a core loop is a habitual, designed chain of activities that will be repeated to gain a neurochemical reward such as the release of dopamine. Compulsion loops are deliberately used in video game design as an extrinsic motivation for players, but may also result from other activities that unintentionally create such loops.

As of December 31, 2018, the series has sold 53 million units worldwide, [1] 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 with more than 70% of those sold outside of Japan.

Learning curve

A learning curve is a graphical representation of how an increase in learning comes from greater experience ; or how the more someone performs a task, the better they get at it.

<i>Monster Hunter: World</i> video game

Monster Hunter: World is an action role-playing game developed and published by Capcom. A part of the Monster Hunter series, it was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in January 2018, with a Microsoft Windows version in August 2018. In the game, the player takes the role of a Hunter, tasked to hunt down and either kill or trap monsters that roam in one of several environmental spaces. If successful, the player is rewarded through loot consisting of parts from the monster and other elements that are used to craft weapons and armor, amongst other equipment. The game's core loop has the player crafting appropriate gear to be able to hunt down more difficult monsters, which in turn provide parts that lead to more powerful gear. Players may hunt alone, or can hunt in cooperative groups of up to four players via the game's online services.

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. [2] A feature film is scheduled for release in 2020.

<i>Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village</i> video game

Monster Hunter Diary Poka Poka Airou Village is a spin-off installment in the Monster Hunter series, developed by FromSoftware and published by Capcom for the PlayStation Portable. It was released in Japan on August 26, 2010. The word airou is the Japanese equivalent of felyne, a fictional sapient cat species that appears in the Monster Hunter games. The player gives orders to the felynes to progress to the end of quests instead of having direct control over them. The game uses a more cartoonish art style as opposed to the realism seen in other Monster Hunter: games. More emphasis is placed on style and village management. A few Hello Kitty items are also available in the game.

<i>Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On</i>

Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On is a 2016 Japanese anime television series based on Capcom's Monster Hunter series entry Monster Hunter Stories. The series is produced by David Production, directed by Mitsuru Hongo and written by Natsuko Takahashi, featuring character designs by Takuya Saito and music by Masaru Yokoyama. It began airing on Fuji TV on October 2, 2016.

<i>Monster Hunter Orage</i>

Monster Hunter Orage is a shōnen manga written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima. Loosely based on the Monster Hunter series of video games by Capcom, Monster Hunter Orage premiered in Kodansha's Shōnen Rival in April 2008.

Gameplay

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. [3]

In video gaming, grinding is performing repetitive tasks for gameplay advantage. Many video games use different tactics to implement, or reduce the amount of grinding in play. The general use of grinding is for "experience points", or to improve a character's level. However, the behavior is sometimes referred to as pushing the bar, farming or catassing.

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 most cases, once the player has initiated an action, such as a combat maneuver or taking a recovery item, they cannot cancel that move until its animation cycle is complete (a method called "animation priority"), which also may leave them vulnerable to a monster's attack in mid-maneuver. [4] 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. [5]

History

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 . [6] Tsujimoto considered Monster Hunter to be the culmination of the work of these other two titles once it was released. [6] 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. [7] Monster Hunter proved a success, selling over 1 million copies, principally in Japan. [7]

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. [8] 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. [9] 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. [8]

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. [9] [8] The series also struggled with a difficult learning curve that had made the games off-putting in Western markets. [10]

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. [9] 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. [11] 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. [10]

Games

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

TitleOriginal release date

Japan

North America

PAL region

Monster Hunter March 11, 2004September 12, 2004May 27, 2005
Notes:
Monster Hunter 2 February 16, 2006August 28, 2007 (PlayStation Portable)September 7, 2007 (PlayStation Portable)
Notes:
Monster Hunter Tri August 1, 2009April 20, 2010April 23, 2010
Notes:
Monster Hunter 4 September 14, 2013February 13, 2015February 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 [12] [13] January 26, 2018January 26, 2018January 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

TitleDetails

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. [14]

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. [15]
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 [16]
Notes:
  • Name was changed from Monster Hunter Smart

Original release date(s): [lower-alpha 1]
  • 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 is titled Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate and was released for the Nintendo Switch only on August 28, 2018. [18]

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 [19]
Notes:
  • Plays more as a traditional RPG and less focus on action elements.
  • Has turn-based combat.

Reception

Since the series debuted, it has sold 28 million units as of March 31, 2014. [20] As of February 17, 2015, the series has sold 32 million units. [21] By June 2017, Capcom reported over 40 million units sold. [10] As of March 2017, the series is Capcom's third highest-selling series, following Street Fighter and Resident Evil . [22]

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. [23] 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. [24] By mid-August 2018, following World's release to personal computers, the title had shipped more than 10 million units, and bringing total sales in the series to over 50 million units. [25] More than 70% of World's sales were outside of Japan, a major milestone for Capcom and helping to lead its profitability during the 2018 fiscal year. [26]

Total worldwide sales for Monster Hunter games exceeding 1 million units, through December 31, 2018, are listed below: [27] The total series has sold 53 million units worldwide. [28]

TitleSales (millions of units)
As of Dec. 2018
Monster Hunter World11.9
Monster Hunter Portable 3/Freedom 34.9
Monster Hunter X/Generations4.3
Monster Hunter 4G/4 Ultimate4.2
Monster Hunter 44.1
Monster Hunter Portable 2G/Freedom Unite3.8
Monster Hunter XX/Generations Ultimate3.0
Monster Hunter 3G/3 Ultimate2.6
Monster Hunter Portable 2/Freedom 22.4
Monster Hunter 31.9

Other media

Video games

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. [29] Rathalos also appears as boss character and assist trophy in the Nintendo Switch crossover fighter, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate . [30]

Anime

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. [31] An anime series based on the franchise premiered on October 2, 2016.

Manga and comics

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. [32]

Card game

A trading card game titled Monster Hunter Hunting Card was released in October 2008 with periodic updates planned. [33]

Film

A film based on the series has been in conception since 2012 by director Paul W. S. Anderson. The film was formally announced by Capcom in October 2018, with production starting that month with Impact Pictures and Constantin Film, and a scheduled release on September 4, 2020. The film will be based on a United Nations task force falling into an alternate dimension where Hunters fight off monsters, and the force join the Hunters to prevent monsters from returning through the portal to Earth. The film will star Milla Jovovich, Ron Perlman, T.I. Harris, Diego Boneta, and Tony Jaa. [34] [35] [36] [37] [38]

Animated special

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. [39]

See also

Notes

  1. Per the developer, World is the fifth game of the main series. Generations is a spin-off. [17]

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<i>Monster Hunter Frontier Online</i> video game

Monster Hunter Frontier Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows, the first spin-off in the Monster Hunter to appear on the platform. Monster Hunter Frontier has been released on the Xbox 360 in Japan on June 24, 2010, where it sold 93,000 copies during the launch week. It is also continually updated through expansion packs.

<i>Monster Hunter Tri</i> 2009 video game

Monster Hunter Tri is the third console installment in the Monster Hunter franchise, developed by Capcom and released for the Wii in Japan on August 1, 2009. Monster Hunter Tri was released on April 20, 2010, in North America, April 23 in Europe, and April 29 in Australia.

<i>Monster Hunter Freedom Unite</i> video game

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<i>Monster Hunter Portable 3rd</i> video game

Monster Hunter Portable 3rd (モンスターハンターポータブル3rd) is a game in the Monster Hunter franchise for the PlayStation Portable system that was released in Japan on December 1, 2010. The game was released, as a part of the PlayStation Portable Remaster series, on PlayStation 3. The game introduces new regions, monsters, and a revised Felyne combat system. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is not an update to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite or Monster Hunter Tri. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd is instead separate to the rest of the series, and most of the game has been entirely remade. However, it is also a successor to Monster Hunter Freedom Unite as the third game in the Portable series.

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Felyne

The Felyne is a fictional species of anthropomorphic cats in the Monster Hunter video game series developed by Capcom. They are the most common members of a diminutive race known as the Lynians that also includes the Shakalaka. They accompany player characters, or "hunters", and act as AI-controlled backup. Felynes who partner with a hunter are known as Palicoes and wear miniature suits of armor. Felynes have become a popular mascot for the series, and have featured in spin-off games, many cross-promotions with other Capcom and non-Capcom video games, and various Japanese consumer products.

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<i>Monster Hunter Generations</i> Japanese video game

Monster Hunter Generations is an action role-playing video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo 3DS. Announced in May 2015, the game was released in Japan in November 2015 and internationally in July 2016. Like other titles in the Monster Hunter series, players undertake quests that involve hunting dangerous creatures. Major additions in this installment include special attacks, new combat styles, and the ability to play as Felynes, who has traditionally only appeared as a companion to the player. An expanded version of the game, titled Monster Hunter XX, was announced in October 2016, and was released exclusively in Japan in March 2017. A HD port of the expansion for the Nintendo Switch, titled Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, was released in Japan in August 2017 followed by a worldwide release in August 2018.

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