There have been many contributors to the tale of Monster Hunter World’s success.
For Capcom, spending years to work on a Western-facing new game like Monster Hunter World and not on a surefire handheld iteration for the historically Japanese top seller, was a big risk.
According to Capcom Europe COO Stuart Turner, Capcom feared the gamble to go after the worldwide/Western audience of mostly consoles players could cut off their main fan base in Japan, who mostly care about handheld Monster Hunter.
“They were guaranteed three or four million sales in Japan. For a risk-averse Japanese company, that’s a great big gamble,” Turner told Games Industry. “Having said that, Japan bought the game in its millions.”
Part of why Monster Hunter World was successful, both in Japan and over the world, is owed to Sony’s support. “The risk was mitigated by Sony’s support, and Sony Japan in particular, who felt Monster Hunter coming to home consoles was going to sell some PS4s… and they were right,” explained EMEA marketing director Antoine Molant.
In order for a gamble like Monster Hunter World to work, Capcom had to treat it like a new IP. Many markets worldwide, including ones where handheld Monster Hunter games sell, largely didn’t know what Monster Hunter is.
“It was almost a new IP in some markets. Even in some of our more mature European markets, it is still fairly unknown,” Turner added.
Monster Hunter World’s online features are outdated by today’s standards, with many simple interactions and tasks requiring awkward menu navigating through different layers of systems that can over-complicate the simple task of playing with friends.
With that said, it’s still the most online-enabled of any Monster Hunter game, and it was necessary for Capcom to make this transition if it wanted anyone to care about Monster Hunter in the West.
“In my 12 years of being here, the drum has been banged that Monster Hunter could sell easily in the West if it was on the right platform and if it embraced online gaming,” said Turner.
Now that the experiment has proved successful, Capcom can now more confidently push for an even bigger success in the West with future iterations, according to Turner.
Monster Hunter World is Capcom’s best selling game ever, totalling 8.3 million units by last count. The PC version of World releases in just two days.