During the company’s 41st annual meeting of shareholders, Capcom management was asked two Monster Hunter-specific questions:
- If the company plans on porting Monster Hunter: World to the Nintendo Switch
- If the company will develop a new Monster Hunter game that is popular with high school students in Japan
The answer to the first question was a simple “no”. Monster Hunter: World will not be ported to the Nintendo Switch.
The answer to the second question was a “yes”. Capcom is planning a Monster Hunter game that will be popular with junior and senior high school students in Japan. This is where things get interesting.
Prior to Monster Hunter: World, which made the series a breakout hit in the west, Monster Hunter was most popular in Japan, where it was played by both children and adults. Most Monster Hunter games prior to World were on portable devices like the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Portable, which made them particularly popular with high school students, since they could carry the games around with them and play together during breaks, on the playground, or at gathering hubs like McDonald’s.
While Monster Hunter 4 and Monster Hunter Generations were both a hit with this audience, Monster Hunter: World, by virtue of being on home consoles, isn’t quite as popular. In fact, the game has only sold in the vicinity of 2 million units at retail in Japan—quite a bit less than Monster Hunter 4’s 4 million.
So, when Capcom says it’s developing a new Monster Hunter that will be popular with Japanese high school students, logic dictates they’re talking about a game for a portable device like the Nintendo Switch, which would allow kids to play together over local multiplayer—something Monster Hunter: World doesn’t allow for. It helps that the Switch is extremely popular in Japan, having outsold the PS4’s lifetime sales, and already has a number of games that are popular with the high school demographic, such as Pokémon, Super Smash Bros., and Mario Kart.
In fact, a new Switch version of Monster Hunter has always been a matter of “when” rather than “if”. Capcom has hinted at this in the past, too. In 2018, Capcom management was asked the same question—if they would port Monster Hunter: World to the Switch—and the company’s official response was that they would develop a Monster Hunter game specifically for the Switch instead.
Just when this game is announced remains to be seen, but it may already have been teased. During a celebration of Monster Hunter’s 15th anniversary in 2019, Capcom’s Yasunori Ichinose posted a “message card” that spelt out the letters “N E X T”.
Ichinose served as the director of Monster Hunter Generations and a number of prior Monster Hunter games released for portable devices, but hasn’t had his name featured in a new game since. Ichinose isn’t included in the credits for either Monster Hunter: World or its Iceborne expansion, which suggests he’s been working on a different game since the release of Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate.