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Capcom's Monster Hunter Series Just Reached a Staggering New Milestone

No end in sight.

Monster Hunter World
Capcom

Capcom has announced the Monster Hunter series has passed a tremendous milestone, with the franchise selling over 100 million units total. According to Capcom’s numbers, that makes Monster Hunter the company’s second best-selling series sitting only 54 million units behind Resident Evil. That’s a tremendous achievement for something that was considered incredibly niche a decade ago, but it raises an even bigger question: where are Monster Hunter’s competitors? As the series continues its unabated rampage, very few have tried to follow in Monster Hunter's footsteps, and even fewer have managed to find success. It’s baffling that a formula that clearly works well hasn’t been spread further.

Monster Hunter started in 2004, but it wasn’t until the release of Monster Hunter World in 2018 that the franchise really struck gold. While Monster Hunter had always had a dedicated fanbase, it suddenly became a phenomenon quite literally unlike anything Capcom had seen. Suddenly, Monster Hunter World became Capcom’s best-selling game, eclipsing anything and everything, even Resident Evil. World has sold over one million copies every year since its release, resulting in nearly 20 million copies across its lifetime. That boost didn’t just apply to one game, however, as the series’ next release, 2021’s Monster Hunter Rise for Nintendo Switch, has become Capcom’s second best-selling game ever.

Monster Hunter World masterfully took the series’ formula to a new multiplatform stage, fine-tuning nearly two decades of iteration.

Capcom

While it’s easy to point to World as the tipping point, it’s important to realize it wasn’t just some fluke. Yes, the game came out at a time when fantasy RPGs had seen a huge leap in popularity, between the likes of Dragon Age: Inquisition, The Witcher 3, and more. While that aspect was crucial, World was also marketed as a big leap for the franchise, a living breathing world where deadly creatures had natural routines and could even fight each other.

But there’s one key point that’s made Monster Hunter succeed and why others can’t follow suit — iteration. For nearly two decades, Capcom had iterated on the formula established in the first Monster Hunter, incrementally improving it with each entry, piecing together new elements, and fine-tuning it to a sheen. World was where all of that hard work came together, where the ambition of the series finally shined through.

In the years leading up to World, Monster Hunter had mostly been restrained to being a Nintendo exclusive, largely on the Wii and 3DS. Those games sold well, but when Capcom put the series on a new stage with Xbox One and PS4, it blew up. Modern technology let Capcom finally achieve elements the series had been striving for decades to meet, namely that living world filled with interactivity and unpredictable monsters.

That’s exactly why other games have struggled to follow Capcom’s example, why we don’t have an entire genre of “Monster Hunter-likes.” Games like God Eater, Dauntless, and Wild Hearts have brought their own takes on Hunting games, but they all crucially lack that rock-solid foundation of Capcom’s series. God Eater has a strong story and unique aesthetic but lacks the prep work, depth, and replayability. Wild Hearts had phenomenal monster design, but lacked varied weapons and a lot of quality-of-life features, and was completely let down by post-launch support.

Games like Wild Hearts are great at capturing certain elements of Monster Hunter, but simply lack the strong foundation that’s made Capcom’s series so popular.

EA

After the release of Dark Souls, the Soulslike genre exploded in popularity, but the sheer complexity of Monster Hunter is likely what’s keeping the same from happening. Capcom spent two decades perfecting its formula, and no one else has the time to build something like that. That’s why we see a lot of one-offs that fail to capture the same spirit, especially as Capcom continues to dominate with new Monster Hunter games.

It’s honestly brilliant how well the series at large has been designed. Every single Monster Hunter game shares that core formula, and if you’ve played one, you realistically know how to play every other. Each Monster Hunter layers in new ideas and features, but that core formula is so incredibly strong, and creates an essential understanding for fans that makes onboarding easy.

With Monster Hunter Wilds on the way in 2025, the franchise is guaranteed to continue its hot streak. Until some other developer commits to making a brand new Hunting series, and really dials in on a core formula, Capcom’s reign as king is unlikely to end anytime soon.

Monster Hunter Wilds is scheduled to release in 2025 on Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PC.

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