Monster Hunter (universe)
|Monster Hunter (universe)|
|Console/platform of origin||PlayStation 2|
|First installment||Monster Hunter (2004)|
|Latest installment||Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin (2021)|
The Monster Hunter universe (モンスターハンター, Monster Hunter) is a series of fantasy-themed action role-playing video games developed and published by Capcom that started with the game Monster Hunter for PlayStation 2, released in 2004.
The series can be traced back to a project proposal by Hideaki Itsuno in the year 2000. This project was inspired by his time working on Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara and consisted of a high budget Dungeons & Dragons like experience where a party would travel around a large open world and defeat monsters in an effort to build a civilization and create an even stronger party. This proposal was put on hold as Itsuno was put in charge of a jeopardized and unfinished Devil May Cry 2 mere months before its release. A separate team saw potential in the concept of a team fighting giant monsters and inspired by the Animal Crossing series of having different creatures with distinct personalities, retooled the project into what would become Monster Hunter in 2004 on PlayStation 2. Itsuno was finally able to pitch his original proposal in 2008, which released in 2009 as Dragon's Dogma.
The basic gameplay of Monster Hunter is the player character is given several missions that mostly involve tracking down and killing some kind of large beast. The player and an optional party then complete those missions with large, over-the-top weapons and attacks while avoiding being defeated by monsters of perpetually increasing size, intelligence, and aggressiveness. Once a monster is killed, the players have the opportunity to carve materials out of the dead monster that can then be used to make new weapons and armor, upgrade what the player already has, and create food dishes that can temporarily increase a player’s stats. The game also had online capabilities through the PlayStation 2 Network Adaptor where players can hunt together over the internet. The online servers shut down on December 31, 2007, internationally and on July 1, 2011 in Japan. The game was a financial success, selling over 1 million copies during its life span. Reviews were generally positive but reserved. While the gameplay itself was considered clunky and in need of refinement, the content loop was fun and appealing and killing a monster was greatly satisfying.
An expanded re-release of the game released in Japan in 2005 for PlayStation 2 as Monster Hunter G with gameplay refinements and new content. This version was ported to PlayStation Portable and released internationally as Monster Hunter Freedom, as well as the Wii in 2009 only in Japan. This started a trend of most mainline entries receiving updated versions relatively soon after launch.
A full sequel released in 2006 for PlayStation 2 titled Monster Hunter 2 (sometimes referred to as Monster Hunter Dos. A mostly iterative sequel, updates include more customization options and new monsters to hunt. The game again received similarly strong sales and reviews. Like its predecessor, the game received an enhanced re-release titled Monster Hunter Freedom 2 in 2007, which itself received an enhanced re-release titled Monster Hunter Freedom Unite in 2009.
The first spin-off title released in 2007 titled Monster Hunter Frontier Online. The game is based on the foundation of the mainline entries, but with changes and additions to accommodate its Massive Multiplayer framework. The game was continually update through expansions, but never left Japan before shutting down in 2019.
Another full sequel released in 2009 as a Wii exclusive titled Monster Hunter Tri. A separate game built of the foundation of Monster Hunter Tri released exclusively in Japan and Korea in 2010 titled Monster Hunter Portable 3rd. This game was also the first in the series to release in high definition due to its 2011 PlayStation 3 version. The original release then received an updated remaster on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS in 2012 titled Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Monster Hunter 3 (tri-) G in Japan). The choice of consoles was based on them not having a proper Monster Hunter game at the time and Capcom wanted to cater to as many fans as possible.
Another spin-off released in 2010 titled Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village. A vast departure from the mainline entries, this game stars the Felyne characters and resembles a strategy game where the player does not control the Felyne directly, but instead gives it command to finish various quests. The game received and expansion pack titled Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village G in 2011. Both versions were then combined and remastered with more new content in 2015 and released as Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village DX.
In 2011, Capcom released the first mobile entry in the series. Titled Monster Hunter Dynamic Fighting and released exclusively for IOS, the game is a simplified version of the mainline series into more of an arena-based fighting game where a hunter fights monsters with various moves done with touch controls. When a monster is defeated, the player collects materials that can be used to upgrade weapons and armor.
Another full sequel released in 2013 as a Nintendo 3DS exclusive only in Japan titled Monster Hunter 4. The reason for the exclusivity was due to the 3DS being new hardware at the time and the two screens would offer non-intrusive menu navigation that would work well for the fast paced and chaotic nature of the series. The game was then remastered and released internationally as Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Monster Hunter 4G in Japan).
Also in 2013, Capcom released two different MMORPG games, one exclusive to Japan titled Monster Hunter Frontier G, which is an upgraded version of Monster Hunter Frontier Online, and one exclusive to China titled Monster Hunter Online. Frontier G was renamed again to Monster Hunter Frontier Z. Both games shut down in 2019.
Also in 2014, Capcom released a spin-off entry titled Mezeporta Reclamation for internet browsers. An incredibly simplified version of the mainline series, the game is level-based with players using characters to traverse lanes, collect materials, and fight monsters. Combat is now turn based with classic gameplay mechanics altered to better fit the environment. The game also utilized gacha elements of collecting multiple hunters and managing resources to play the game more efficiently. The game received poor reviews and shut down on March 30, 2017.
In 2015, a spin-off entry released exclusively in Japanese arcades titled Monster Hunter Spirits. The game is once again a simplified version of the mainline entries, this time being turn-based and utilizing trading cards to customize the player character with attacks, armor, and allies. After every session, the arcade machine gives the player more cards that they earned during gameplay which they can use in the future to become even more powerful. That same year, a mobile entry released titled Monster Hunter Explore. Unlike previous mobile entries, this game is much closer to a mainline entry, though again using simplified, touch-based controls. Yet again in that same year, a spin-off entry released in 2015 for Nintendo 3DS titled Monster Hunter Generations (Monster Hunter X (cross-) in Japan). Built on the foundation of Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, this game stands by including as much content from previous entries as possible as a best of compilation of the whole series. The game was remade in 2018 for Nintendo Switch titled Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate (Monster Hunter Generations XX in Japan).
In 2016, another spin-off entry titled Monster Hunter Stories released on Nintendo 3DS. This game is a departure for the series by being a turn-based role playing game with a heavy emphasis on story and the ability to control monsters directly. The game received a sequel in 2021 on Nintendo Switch titled Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, which provides a new story in the same universe, expands on battle mechanics and introduces elements created in other Monster Hunter games released between the first installment and this one.
Another full sequel released in 2018 as a PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One titled Monster Hunter World. The game introduced many new changes to the well-established Monster Hunter Stories formula, including the removal of loading screens between zones, greatly improved monster intelligence and nuance, and alteration of various gameplay mechanics to be more approachable to new players. The game is currently the single best-selling video game Capcom has ever released, with over 20 million copies sold. The game also received an expansion in 2019 titled Iceborne, which included more new and old monsters, new accompanying armor and weapons, and new story content.
In 2020, a mobile spin-off titled Monster Hunter Riders released on IOS and Android. This entry is a gacha game where the player collects both monsters and hunters to fight in turn-based battles. The game was delisted in 2022.
The latest mainline entry released in 2021 for Nintendo Switch and later released in 2022 for PC titled Monster Hunter Rise. This game took the foundation of Monster Hunter World and adds more features like greatly expanded movement options, new companions, and many new monsters. A massive expansion released on June 30, 2022, like Iceborne. Titled Sunbreak, this expansion brings a new world with new biomes, weapons, items, and monsters.
Outside of video games, the Monster Hunter franchise spans several types of media. This includes a card game, several animated films and shows, several more manga and comic books, a Hollywood feature film, and many crossover appearances with other franchises.
Two Monster Hunter armor sets are the basis for paid downloadable content costumes for Mii Swordfighters. The armor sets used are the Hunter's Blademaster Armor while wielding the Hunter's Knife sword and shield set, and the Rathalos Blademaster Armor while wielding the Blazing Falchion sword and shield set.
- Hunter's Mail (DLC): Based on the Hunter's Blademaster Armor throughout the series. The Mii will hold the Hunter's Knife if it is worn.
- Rathalos Mail (DLC): Based on the Rathalos Blademaster Armor throughout the series. The Mii will hold the Blazing Falchion if it is worn.
- Hunter's Helm (DLC): Based on the helmet from the Hunter's Blademaster set in the series.
- Rathalos Helm (DLC): Based on the helmet from the Rathalos Blademaster set in the series.
Monster Hunter has received greater representation in Ultimate. The Mii Costumes from Smash 4 return, in addition to a new Mii hat via downloadable content. Rathalos appears as a boss, Assist Trophy, and a spirit. The universe also received two source tracks, as well as multiple spirits post-release, making it one of the bigger secondary universes in Ultimate.
Boss and Assist Trophy
- Rathalos: Rathalos appears as an Assist Trophy, and also as a boss in the World of Light mode on a Monster Hunter-inspired stage that resembles the Ancestral Steppe. Rathalos also appears in the Classic Mode for Bowser, Hero, Duck Hunt, Marth, Yoshi, Piranha Plant, and Sephiroth, being the final boss for Duck Hunt, Marth, Yoshi, and Piranha Plant.
World of Light Sub-World
- Forest Hill: Based on the Forest and Hills area from the original Monster Hunter, Forest Hill appears as sub-world in The Light Realm. Rathalos appears as a boss, but cannot be fought initally. Rathalos will fly away once the player gets too close, requiring the player to corner him at the plateau in order to fight him. Toon Link can be unlocked here.
The Hunter and Rathalos costumes from Smash 4 return as downloadable content, in addition to a new hat based on the character, Felyne. The following Mii costumes are available as downloadable content, as part of version 11.0.0, within the ninth wave of Mii Fighter outfits along with Challenger Pack 9 and Pyra and Mythra. They were released on March 4th, 2021.
- Hunter's Mail (DLC): Returns from Smash 4 as a downloadable costume.
- Rathalos Mail (DLC): Returns from Smash 4 as a downloadable costume.
- Hunter's Helm (DLC): Returns from Smash 4 as a downloadable headgear.
- Rathalos Helm (DLC): Returns from Smash 4 as a downloadable headgear.
- Felyne Hat (DLC): A hat shaped after Felyne's head, sourced from Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village.
- Proof of a Hero ~ 4Version: A theme that plays during the ending sequence, sourced from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.
- Roar/Rathalos: The track when facing Rathalos, sourced from Monster Hunter.
Rathalos also appears as a spirit. Even more Monster Hunter spirits from Monster Hunter Rise were included for the MONSTER HUNTER RISE spirit event. A spirit from Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin featuring the protagonist mounted on a flightless Rathalos (dubbed "Razewing Ratha") will be rewarded to players who have save data of the game. It was made available for all users on October 18th, 2021.
|1,295||Rathalos||★★||1||Air Attack ↑|
|1,468||Palico||★||1||Ramblin' Evil Mushroom Equipped|
Games with elements appearing in the Super Smash Bros. series
The Monster Hunter universe has games represented throughout the Super Smash Bros. series with a total of 7 games. The latest game represented in this universe is Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin, released on July 9, 2021.
- Playable characters:
- "Roar/Rathalos": The track when facing Rathalos, sourced from this game.
- Assist Trophy:
- "Proof of a Hero ~ 4Version": A theme that plays during the ending sequence, sourced from this game.
- Monster Hunter is the only universe to have a boss but not a series symbol.
- Article on the Monster Hunter Wiki.