Monster Hunter is a mainstream game now. As big as Capcom’s other headline franchises Resident Evil, Street Fighter. As big as other multiplayer stalwarts, even, nipping at the heels of Destiny 2. Anecdotally, I know a lot of players that got bored of the D2 grind and migrated to Monster Hunter World back on the Xbox One and PS4, because it seemed like a similar game in a way; shared world action with a propensity for fashion, hardcore endgame, and regularly updated with seasonal content.
A lot of those players never went back, actually. And that’s the power of Monster Hunter World: a huge, unexpected hit of a game that Capcom, I’m sure, would like to replicate the success of.
But we’re in a post-World state, right now. The most recent Monster Hunter release – arriving on PC after a short period of Switch exclusivity, and more recently on Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation – was Rise. A success in its own right (12 million sales of the base game and well over 4 million for the DLC will attest to that), Rise is nonetheless seen as a bit of a watered down game compared to its bigger, multiplatform, multiplayer brother.
Rise was great – if you’ve been on this site at all over the past two years, you’ll know my feelings on it – but it’s no World. It lacks a proper robust multiplayer heart; yes, there’s co-op capable of supporting up to four players, but World did it differently. Rise is a bit like ‘My First Monster Hunter’; a soft and plastic Fisher-Price take on the rough edges and hard scales of World. Hopefully, the latter title has served as something of a tutorial for many new players to the series, and now Capcom feels emboldened again to sink its teeth into the satisfying, bleeding heart of the true Monster Hunter experience.
Real social spaces, raids, end-game content that’s practically impossible to clear solo, an ever-expanding world that really leveraged the boons of games-as-a-service models without getting too greedy or entitled – this is the shape of Monster Hunter to come, in my eyes. Rise, once shackled and constrained by the ageing Switch hardware, has done an incredible job of modernising and spitting and polishing as its sidestepped onto better hardware… but it’s still a Switch game at heart. The sheen is starting to wear off, the edges are starting to show.
But – like many a lumbering carnivore you’ve put to the earth with your comically oversized greatsword – Rise’s time has come. We got the news yesterday that the next update for the game will be its last. To the elephant graveyard with you, brave beast, your time in the broken sun is at an end. It’s time for something new – something brimming with fresh energy and raging at the world – to emerge. And I think Capcom would be remiss not to capitalise on Monster Hunter World’s success.
Think about it; there hasn’t been a proper Monster Hunter game released for this generation yet – World and Iceborne are still selling very well indeed (and really feel at home on the Series X/S and PS5) and Rise scales up nicely to take advantage of the hardware… but neither game is really juicing modern tech for what it’s worth. With Capcom putting out astonishing-looking RE Engine-based titles like Resident Evil 4 and Street Fighter 6, it feels as though a bigger, badder, more ferocious open world game is begging to be tackled next.
Chances are we’re never going to see another Lost Planet game again, so Monster Hunter World 2 is the next best bet – we’ve actually had quite a lot of the groundwork for such a title laid in the history lessons about the world we’re getting via the Sunbreak story. We could even go full Pokemon Gen 2, and see various settings from past games, all knitted into one cohesive world map – Capcom has the tech, the audience, and (forgive me) the World.
Capcom’s hot streak does not look set to end any time soon; Street Fighter 6 became a modern classic overnight, Dragon’s Dogma 2 looks even better than the first one, and even unexpected Dino Crisis-at-home contender Exoprimal looks like it’s going to inhabit a strong, Mesozoic niche. The perfect compliment to all of that – a service game to bolster them all, and live for years and years and years – would be Monster Hunter World 2. You know I’m right.