While now it seems like a no-brainer, moving the Monster Hunter franchise out of the handheld space was quite the shocker when Monster Hunter World was first revealed. While the series was huge in Japan, it had floundered outside the region, and handheld gaming dwarfs console and PC gaming there by a high margin. Capcom had even stopped localizing games, with Nintendo picking up the franchise on the 3DS to release westward. It’s obviously a gamble that paid off big time, as World has become the company’s highest selling game in record breaking time. And producer Ryozo Tsujimoto thinks that move from handhelds was a big part of the reason it was such a hit.
In an interview with VGC, Tsujimoto talked about why World was the success it was. He has a lot of reasons, but he highlights the fanbase that grew in the west around the series was one that wanted the series to be on a large size television screen. That, coupled with a simultaneous global release was exactly what the franchise needed to get to the next level.
“Our success in the west with Monster Hunter World comes down to a lot of things coming together that we didn’t have before with previous titles,” said Tsujimoto. “We were obviously releasing previous games in the West and we wanted them to appeal to those players, but when we gathered post-release feedback there were a number of key requests which were always there.
“Number one, players wanted us to release our games on consoles, because in the years before Monster Hunter World he had been focused on portables, which was something that was maybe holding us back in the West. We found that Western players want a console experience on a big screen TV at home.
“Another factor was that we didn’t release our games simultaneously globally until Monster Hunter World: we released in Japan first and then localised it later. So by the time the games arrived in the West, fans had already seen a lot of the news and things coming out of Japan already and were not really getting to experience the excitement in real-time.”
It’s rather ironic really, because the series started out as a console property, but ultimately floundered until finding massive success in the handheld field. Just goes to show how much the market can change. Monster Hunter World is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The Iceborne expansion will release for PS4 and Xbox One on September 6th.