To the surprise of anyone who's played Monster Hunter in the past decade, Monster Hunter: World has become extremely popular, selling over six million copies. But that isn't all that's happened in the last month. Here's a rundown.
- First, though, those numbers: Monster Hunter: World is the fastest-selling game in Capcom's entire history. Can you believe that? I've been waiting so damned long for this game to become popular.
- There's been a steady flow of Event Quests, limited-time events that sometimes offer special rewards in-game. (You can check the schedule on the Monster Hunter: World website - it isn't easy to find.) The first part of the Horizon: Zero Dawn-themed event was uninteresting: Players killed eight flying creatures in a simple arena quest in order to craft Horizon: Zero Dawn outfits for their cats. The second part of this event is still happening: Anyone who hits Hunter Rank 11 by the end of February will be subjected to "the Proving", a quest that will unlock the full Aloy outfit.
- Meanwhile, the Ryu from Street Fighter armour is brilliant and ridiculous. Players with a Street Fighter 5 save can now literally punch dragons to death (with dual blades), after getting enough tickets from an arena quest against a giant Barroth.
- As millions of new people have discovered Monster Hunter with World, veterans have been taking new players under their wing all over the world. For those without an IRL MonHun mentor, the Adopt-a-Hunter website and Discord channel has formed a community of around 500 veterans willing to help with quests and dish out advice.
- Inevitably, fans everywhere have been asking Capcom whether Monster Hunter: World will be coming to Switch. The answer appears to be "no". World was in development for PS4 and Xbox One long before the Switch was even announced, and Capcom's president Haruhito Tsujimoto says that porting it at this point would be difficult.
- Speaking of Tsujimotos, I wrote a profile of Monster Hunter's producer and regular spokesperson Ryozo Tsujimoto over at The Guardian, based on an interview from earlier this year. He's been with the series since the very beginning, and interestingly, he is the son of Capcom founder Kenzo Tsujimoto and the brother of current president Haruhito.
I'm the kind of person who would never be good at a normal office work, so I always wanted to work in a creative industry. When I was looking for a job after graduating from university, I wanted to go into either games or toys … I'm just from that gaming generation. [As the third son], I had a bit more freedom... The older ones had more pressure to go into certain positions. I wasn't being lined up for something in the same way.
- On Eurogamer, there's an interesting and nicely-illustrated look at what must have been part of Monster Hunter's design inspiration: Medieval bestiaries: "Bestiaries are a series of colourful anecdotes that paint their creatures in broad strokes. Every animal is defined by a handful of memorable characteristics. In many cases, we learn about the way they defend themselves or kill their prey or enemies. The animal kingdom is a realm of feuds and deadly rivalries: There's hatred between the dragon and the elephant, the hydrus and the crocodile, the weasel and the basilisk and even the gryphon and the horse. Those rivals are often shown locked in a mortal embrace."
- People have been recreating Monster Hunter's canteen meat feasts in real life, which is as amazing (and delicious-looking) as it is inevitable.
- Capcom has addressed a few things in game updates over the past month. Xbox One matchmaking, which was sketchy at launch, has been fixed. A bunch of problems relating to players' Squads were fixed, but at the cost of wiping some players' squad data, which was an inconvenience. After players discovered that Slicing Ammo was so powerful that there was little point using any other type, Capcom adjusted the balance of bowgun ammunition.
- One problem that Capcom hasn't yet solved is griefing. Some players have reported being trolled out of their hard-won carve rewards by arsehole "teammates" using attacks to continually stun or stagger them in the middle of their carve animation. (You can't hurt other players in Monster Hunter: World, but you can interrupt their animations. This is why you don't take four Hammer users on a hunt.) Waypoint has reported that Capcom is looking into this: "The team is actively monitoring player feedback [and] this is definitely one of the concerns they have seen raised." I've never encountered this problem myself, thankfully, but one wonders how difficult it would be to make all players immune to player-on-player aggression during the 60-second post-quest period when everyone's collecting their carves.
Are you still playing Monster Hunter: World? My TV broke a couple of weeks ago, so I've been taking an enforced break, but I'll be right into the Proving as soon as it's fixed.