Since January 26, Monster Hunter World has accrued a fantastic 90% on Metacritic and sold over 5 million units. These figures have cemented the game as the current best selling title for Capcom. The game always has had a large, dedicated fanbase in the east, but hadn’t really caught on in the west until now. While some encourage games like Dark Souls for not appealing to lower skilled players and sticking to its form, a large portion of Monster Hunter World’s success can be attributed to its unprecedented welcoming of newcomers.
The original Monster Hunter games were phenomenal, but confusing to users in the west. The game is an action RPG that utilized extremely complex combat systems, with mechanics that can only be paralleled by Shadow of the Colossus. Games like this barely latch on in the west for one reason or another, but previous installments in this series specifically are likely its lack of explanation. Monster Hunter games typically have a “learn by doing” attitude which entails a short tutorial explaining only the very basics of the game, and then you are tossed into the deep end. While a great system for the experienced player, someone who has never played anything even similar to this can find it intimidating, to say the least. Monster Hunter World solves this with a system that is not perfect, but the lengthy tutorial with a few more explanations are better for new users.
I have frequented a few Monster Hunter World streams to get my fix when playing isn’t an option, and have seen one question routinely pop up. “Is this game a good starting point for newcomers?” To which the answer is always a resounding yes. Twitch has also been instrumental in its success, acting as a sort of demo for people who only have a little bit of extra income, and need to see if this risk is worth taking. At the time of recording, the game’s category has almost 350k followers on Twitch. I would hazard a guess that at least 20% of them bought the game off of a reassurance that the game is welcoming to newcomers.
In addition to obvious tutorials, the game includes a lot of small quality of life changes. Tweaks like the existence of scoutflies help make tracking down your prey just that much easier. The game also included fast traveling, which is just a convenient tweak for everyone. These improvements helped to ease new players into the workings of the game by using concepts already familiar to western players. This gave new players a sort of jumping-off point so they could expand from what they new into the more complex systems the game has to offer.
There is no doubt that Monster Hunter World surpassed Capcom’s expectations by a huge margin. Its success can obviously be attributed to its superb world design, excellent graphics, and gripping gameplay. However, without the teaching tools the game implemented and the quality of life changes they added, it wouldn’t have sold half as well.