Last month, Capcom said in a financial report that they expected to sell 2.5 million units of a “title related to Monster Hunter” for the Nintendo 3DS by March 31st, 2016. At the time, most of us assumed this referred to Monster Hunter Stories—which was the only new Monster Hunter game announced at the time—but that isn’t actually the case.
Monster Hunter Stories is an upcoming role-playing game set in the Monster Hunter world. How it plays and what features it offers are entirely unknown at this point in time. All we know is that the game has been in development for five years and is being released in Japan sometime in 2016. It’s the very first major RPG to be based on the Monster Hunter franchise, and it’s clearly going to be a big deal in Japan.
That said, for as interesting as Monster Hunter Stories looks, Capcom’s 2.5 million forecast is not for that game, Siliconera has learnt. It’s actually for Monster Hunter X—something that Capcom confirmed to us this past week.
Unlike Monster Hunter Stories, which is treading completely new ground for the series, Monster Hunter X should look a lot more familiar to anyone that has spent a few hours with Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. It’s the same Monster Hunter you know, but with a greater focus on pulling off impressive-looking moves while developing your own style of combat. The game gives hunters a choice of four different “Hunting Styles,” each with a different purpose and also lets you use special moves called Hunting Arts.
The genius of Monster Hunter X is that it re-uses a whole bunch of assets from previous Monster Hunter games. Thus far, Capcom have revealed one new village, and four returning villages from past Monster Hunter titles. Meanwhile, we have four major new monsters, and a whole bunch of returning monsters that looked just like they did in Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. It looks like a game being developed on a smart budget, and that isn’t something you can say about a whole lot of AAA projects nowadays.
Smart budgeting and asset/technology re-use is precisely how Atlus managed to churn out quality Nintendo DS games like Devil Survivor, Devil Survivor 2, and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey one after the other; so if anything, this is a good thing for Monster Hunter X. With a lot of the assets already in place, that leaves the development team free to focus on content and polish, and trying out new gameplay ideas. It’s a well-calculated and relatively low-risk way to gauge what Monster Hunter players are open to, and to see if the series can branch out to be more inclusive.
Monster Hunter X will be released in Japan sometime this Winter. A Western release for the game has not been announced as yet.