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Monster Hunter
Monster Hunter logo.png
Logo for Monster Hunter
Genres Action role-playing
Developers Capcom
Publishers Capcom
Creators Kaname Fujioka
Platforms PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
First release Monster Hunter
March 11, 2004
Latest release Monster Hunter Rise
March 26, 2021

Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター , Monsutā Hantā) is a media franchise centered around 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 computers, home consoles, 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 locals, with some quests involving the gathering of a certain item or items, which may put the Hunter at risk of facing various monsters. 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 allow them to face more powerful monsters. All main series titles feature multiplayer (usually up to four players cooperatively), but can also be played single player.

As of December 2020, the game series has sold 66 million units worldwide, and is Capcom's second best-selling series following Resident Evil. The early games in the series principally sold well in Japan and other Asian countries, popularized by the series' use of ad hoc multiplayer features on portable consoles. Monster Hunter has been critically well-received in Western markets, but had generally languished in sales, in part due to the game's steep 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 three days of its release, and became Capcom's single best-selling video game of all time with 17.2 million sales by December 2020, including more than 70% outside of Japan.

In addition to games, the franchise has an anime based on the spinoff game Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village, Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On based on the spinoff title Monster Hunter Stories, a manga Monster Hunter Orage, and a book Monster Hunter Episode. A feature film directed by Paul W. S. Anderson was released on December 3, 2020.

Gameplay

Monster Hunter games are action role-playing games that takes place in a shared low fantasy setting, where the human-like species have a pre-industrial level of technology such as steam power, but continue to study the ruins of a long-past advanced civilization. In the setting's less populated regions, monsters roam the landscape and threaten small villages or research bases that have been established to study the ruins and these monsters. Players take the role of a Hunter that serves to help protect the villages and bases from these monsters, typically aiding in researching these. 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. Unlike traditional computer role-playing games, a player's Hunter does not grow and has no intrinsic statistics or attributes whatsoever. Rather, the Hunter's abilities are instead defined by the specific weapons and armor selected. The Hunter is tasked with missions to hunt or capture various monsters, and on successful completion, the Hunter is awarded in both in-game money ("zenny") and loot representing parts from the monster. These parts, along with other resources collected while on missions or through mission rewards, can be used to forge or upgrade new weapons and armor which then can be used in against more powerful monsters and tackle more difficult missions, completing the compulsion loop. Mission rewards are often generated randomly, typically requiring the player to grind the same monster repeatedly to get the right parts. Weapons and armor have intrinsic bonuses or penalties towards certain types of elemental or physical damages, and may provide special skills which can be fine-tuned through the mix-and-matching of equipment pieces.

The games feature a variety of different weapon classes, ranging from swords, hammers, and bows, with the most recent titles (Generations, World, and Rise) having a total of fourteen classes. Each weapon class has a unique set of combat maneuvers and reflect a number of different play styles based on speed of attack, damage strength, and the application of buffs and debuffs to monsters and allies. Monster Hunter games use an "animation priority" combat, committing the player to a move until the animation is completed and leaving them potentially vulnerable to a monster's attack. Further, players are encouraged to watch their Hunter's health and stamina. Losing all health will force a retreat to a base camp, and after three such retreats, the mission is deemed a failure. Performing most combat actions consumes stamina, which otherwise recovers outside of combat; once exhausted of stamina, the Hunter becomes vulnerable as they pause to catch their breath. Combat is centered around watching for a monster's tells prior to an attack to be able to dodge it and/or make a counterattack, and looking for openings to unleash strings of attack combos, depending on the Hunter's current weapon. Unlike most other action games, Monster Hunter fights have been compared to a series of boss fights.

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. Most Monster Hunter games support or originally supported 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" or "Village Quests", which can take up to fifty hours to complete. Once completed, the game opens up with new "High Rank" or "Gathering Hall" quests, featuring stronger versions of monsters they have previously faced, as well as new monsters are yet seen and unique variants of these foes, all of which provide better components for more powerful weapons and armor sets, providing hundreds of hours of potential gameplay following the main quest. More recent titles add a third rank of difficulty, called "G Rank" or "Master Rank", adding further variant monsters with new attacks and attack patterns.

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. While the first four main titles were numbered, the subsequent installments, starting with World, use a keyword instead of a number to reflect a central concept for that game.

Main series

Template:Video game table

Spinoffs, remasters, and expansions

Title Details
Monster Hunter Frontier Online / Monster Hunter Frontier Z

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.
  • Shut down on December 18, 2019.

Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village

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.

Monster Hunter Dynamic Hunting

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.

Monster Hunter: Frontier G

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

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.
  • Shut down on December 31, 2019.
  • 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.

Monster Hunter Spirits

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

Monster Hunter Explore

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

Monster Hunter Generations

Original release date(s):
  • November 28, 2015 NA
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.

Monster Hunter Stories

Original release date(s):
  • October 8, 2016 NA
Release years by system:
2016 – Nintendo 3DS
Notes:
  • Plays more as a traditional role-playing game with less focus on action elements.
  • Has turn-based combat.

Monster Hunter World: Iceborne

Original release date(s):
  • WW September 6, 2019
Release years by system:
2019 - PlayStation 4, Xbox One
2020 - Microsoft Windows
Notes:
  • Adds "Master" ranks to base game, functionality similar to G-Rank in previous games.
  • Adds new ice-covered biome and several returning and new monsters.
  • Additional quality-of-life improvements on the base World game, even for those that did not purchase Iceborne.
  • Certain gameplay features such as the clutch claw and new weapon moves are locked behind Iceborne expansion.

Monster Hunter Riders

Original release date(s):
  • JP February 29, 2020
Release years by system:
2020 - iOS, Android
Notes:
  • Plays more as a traditional role-playing game with less focus on action elements and turn-based combat.

Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin

Original release date(s):
  • WW July 9, 2021
Release years by system:
2021 - Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch
Notes:
  • Cross-compatibility features with Monster Hunter Rise.

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