Puneet Varma (Editor)

Monster Hunter

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Genres  Action role-playing
Platform of origin  PlayStation 2
Designer  Capcom
Publishers  Capcom
Genre  Action role-playing game
Publisher  Capcom
Monster Hunter Monster Hunter

Platforms  PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation Vita, Windows, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, iOS
Developers  Capcom, FromSoftware, Tencent, Marvelous, Neuron-Age, Capcom Production Studio 1
Games  Monster Hunter Stories, Monster Hunter Generations, Monster Hunter Spirits, Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter 4

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The Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター, Monsutā Hantā) franchise is a series of fantasy-themed action role-playing video games that started with the game Monster Hunter for PlayStation 2. The series is developed and published by Capcom. As the title suggests, the player takes the role of a hunter in a fantasy environment and completes quests by hunting out specific kinds of monsters to kill or capture. The series has branched out into PlayStation Portable games and a massively multiplayer online game.

Contents

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In Japan, the Monster Hunter series is immensely popular, and it has gained a cult following in the west, with the port Monster Hunter Freedom (known in Japan as Monster Hunter Portable) and its sequels, Monster Hunter Freedom 2 / Monster Hunter Portable 2nd, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite / Monster Hunter Portable 2nd G, Monster Hunter Portable 3rd and an online game called Monster Hunter Frontier Online selling millions of copies, and Monster Hunter Tri becoming the highest-selling third-party Wii game in Japan. As of February 2015, the series has sold over 38 million units across all games. There is also an anime based on the spin-off game Monster Hunter Diary: Poka Poka Airou Village and a book called Monster Hunter EPISODE (モンスターハンター EPISODE~). Monster Hunter 4 and Monster Hunter Generations launched on the Nintendo 3DS handheld console.

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Gameplay

Monster Hunter Monster Hunter XX Announced for Japan IGN

Monster Hunter games are hybrids of action games and role-playing games (RPG), set in a fantasy genre. Gameplay is generally divided between time spent in various villages to manage equipment and resources, and going on quests to hunt down giant monsters that prowl in fields near these villages. The player starts as a novice Hunter and is tasked through quests to help protect and support the villages either by hunting or trapping monsters, or by collecting resources that can be obtained in the field.

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Atypically to most RPGs, the player's Hunter does not have any intrinsic attributes that change throughout the game, outside of a Hunting rank that determines what quests they can embark on. Instead, the player selects armor, weapons, and other equipment that grant certain bonuses or penalties to the Hunter. There are several different weapon types ranging from swords, hammers, hunting horns, lances, bows, and guns, each of which provide the player with different combat maneuvers in the field, and determine the Hunter's attack strength and potential elemental or status-inducing effects on the creatures they fight. Armor, made up from different pieces, grants defensive value, strengths and weaknesses to certain elemental attacks, and positive and negative points towards specific skills. These skills only activate after the player equips the Hunter with gear that pass a given threshold; for example, by having 10 total points in the Attack skill, the Hunter's attack is boosted, but may also accumulate -10 points in this skill which can weaken the Hunter's attack. Thus, the player can work to coordinate different sets of armor, weapon, and additional equipment including talismans and decorative gems that can be slotted into certain pieces of equipment to customize which skills their Hunter will have or to avoid inducing a negative skill effect.

Basic weapons, armor, and other equipment can be purchased from village shops using the in-game currency Zenny, but most equipment is constructed from collected resources, including the spoils from defeating monsters, represented in game as the various parts of a monster like hides, horns, and tails. The core loop of gameplay in Monster Hunter is to equip the Hunter with gear best suited for defeating a specific type of monster, questing to hunt and collect parts from that monster, and construct the equipment from those parts that is generally better in combat than their current gear, allowing the player to engage in more difficult monsters. The monster parts and other resources are given to the Hunter based on various percentages, with some parts appearing with high rarity. The player may often be required to undertake the same quest several times to defeat the same monster type to get these parts. Once equipment is crafted, it can then be upgraded. Weapons typically can be upgraded along a "weapon tree", where the player may have the option to choose two or more specialized versions of a weapon at a given upgrade point. Armor typically can be improved through armor spheres to increase its defensive value.

A quest will generally designate how much time the player has to complete the quest (generally 50 minutes), the goals of the quest, the location of the quest, and other restrictions. Prior to the quest, the player selects which equipment for the Hunter, as once on their field, this cannot be changed. Each game features several different fields, each made up of several interconnected areas including a base camp where some supplies and a health-restoring tent can be found. Some areas in a field may be very hot or cold, which can affect the Hunter's health and stamina unless they are protected against these effects.

When the Hunter enters the field, they have a health and a stamina meter. The Hunter's health meter drops when damaged by monsters or environmental hazards, and while some health will regenerate slowly over time, the Hunter must use restorative items to bring them back to full health. If the Hunter's health falls to zero, they fall unconscious and put back to the field's base camp, where they can set off again, but will lose some amount of reward Zenny and additional bonuses they had entering the quest. If the Hunter falls three times in this manner, the quest is considered failed. The stamina meter drains when doing any excessive activity like running, or pulling back and holding a bowstring, and if the stamina bar fully drains, the Hunter will pause to recover their stamina, making them prone to attacks. Stamina quickly replenishes if the Hunter does a normal activity like walking. However, over the time of the quest, the stamina meter's maximum will slowly drop, meaning the Hunter will tire out sooner, creating another effective limit on how long the Hunter can be in the field. Various restorative items like potions and rations can be assigned prior to the quest, but only limited numbers of these can be taken. While in the field, the Hunter can gather resources from certain gathering points and if they have the necessary equipment, such as pick-axes for mining spots, or bug-nets for insects. The Hunter only has a limited amount of inventory space while on the field between restorative items and gathered resources and monster spoils.

Monsters will roam between these areas, making them difficult to track. The process of fighting monsters is generally based on watching and learning the various tells that a monster does prior to an attack as either to defend, dodge, or anticipate a counter-attack. As monsters get injured they often will become more aggravated, performing moves faster or engaging in special moves. Various parts of a monster can be targeted for an attack, with different vulnerabilities. The Hunter is awarded additional spoils if they can break hard armor pieces or can cut off a monster's tail. Once the monster is dealt enough damage, it will be slain, at which point the Hunter can carve off random spoils from the carcass. If the Hunter damages a monster enough, it will start limping or some similar sluggish motion, indicating that it can now be trapped rather than slain. Trapping a monster requires the Hunter to place the trap, lure the monster to it, and then tranquilizing it. The Hunter forgoes the carving as with slaying, but may gain different types of rewards for the action. Trapping a monster can be required by a quest, can help to end a prolonged battle earlier, or increase the chance of acquiring rarer materials such as plates or gems.

Outside of quests, the player can use the village functions to craft new gear, buy and sell resources, items, and equipment, interact with farms and fisheries that can help gather resources, and have meals prior to a quest that provide small attribute boosts and skills. Most games also feature a form of "free hunt", where the Hunter can go into a field for an indefinite amount of time to gather resources and hunt any monsters that may appear there for resource points, which are used to improve village facilities or as alternate forms of payment.

All games have a single player component, while the newer games include multiplayer with up to three other Hunters. A new set of quests are generally offered for multiplayer modes, giving more difficult monsters to offset the advantage of having multiple players. Players may also set on multiplayer quests as a single player, where they are then aided by computer-controlled Felynes or Palicos, sentient cat-like creatures that live among the villages.

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.

Reception

Since the series debuted, it has sold 28 million units as of March 31, 2014. As of February 17, 2015, the series has sold 32 million units.

The Monster Hunter series is widely more popular in Japan and other Asian markets compared to Western (North America and Europe) markets, primarily due to the percentage of ownership of handheld consoles in Japan compared to the West, and that all but one main title in the series were developed for handhelds. In an October 2016 interview, Capcom chairman Kenzo Tsujimoto said they are looking towards increasing the popularity of the games in the Western markets, recognizing that gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One have dominance in these regions over handhelds.

Anime

A series of anime shorts titled MonHun Nikki Girigiri Airū-mura Airū Kiki Ippatsu (ja:モンハン日記 ぎりぎりアイルー村) was broadcast beginning August 10, 2010. A sequel, MonHun Nikki Girigiri Airū-mura G, was produced. An anime series based on the franchise premiered on October 2, 2016.

Manga

A manga titled Monster Hunter Orage was published jointly by Kodansha and Capcom in April 2008. The author of the manga is Hiro Mashima. There are four volumes total with the last volume published on May 4, 2009. An English release of Monster Hunter Orage first took place on June 28, 2011.

Card game

A trading card game titled Monster Hunter Hunting Card was released in October 2008 with periodic updates planned.

Comics

Elements from Monster Hunter were later included in the Worlds Unite comic crossover from Archie Comics, which featured several other Capcom and Sega franchises making guest appearances in the previously running Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man comic lines.

Film

In 2012, it was reported that Resident Evil director Paul W. S. Anderson might direct a film adaptation of Monster Hunter. During the September 2016 Tokyo Game Show Capcom producer Ryozo Tsujimoto stated that a live-action Monster Hunter film is currently in development within Hollywood. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt, both who helped to bring Capcom's Resident Evil game to a series of films, have obtained the rights from Capcom for the Monster Hunter adoption after about five years of discussion. The two anticipate a series of Monster Hunter films. Anderson said he was drawn to the Monster Hunter property, not only because of the series' popularity, but also for the "incredibly beautiful, immersive world they've created". Anderson has already penned out a script, which would involve an American being dragged into the parallel universe that the Monster Hunter series is set in, learning how to fight monsters, and then having to deal with the situation when monsters cross back into the real world and start attacking, such as a final climatic battle at Los Angeles International Airport.

References

Monster Hunter Wikipedia