It’s no secret that I love Monster Hunter. I love it so much, you guys. But I also live in America, where Monster Hunter’s popularity is still budding, with a small but devoted fanbase. And then I have this blog, where I follow the developments of the franchise both domestically and abroad pretty darn closely. This has allowed me to recognize several mistakes made by those in charge of bringing Monster Hunter to eager fans throughout the past year. Here they are in all their head-desk glory:
1. Monster Hunter Portable 3rd in the West
This game has been out for over a year in Japan. It was released first on UMD, then as a PSN download, and finally as a HD port to the Playstation 3. As of today, there are no signs that Monster Hunter Portable 3rd — in any of its versions — will be making it to the West. Capcom has publicly stated this is due, at least in part, to Sony needing to update the Western Ad-hoc infrastructure. There has since been no word. My guess is both Capcom and Sony are at a standstill.
2. Operation Cherry Blossom
This was a movement started by the crew of the Monster Hunter Podcast. It encouraged fans to actively make it clear to Capcom USA that they wanted Monster Hunter Portable 3rd to be localized. I believe the idea came from the hype generated by Operation Rainfall initiated earlier in the year. The result was impressive, with tons of fans weighing in on the movement’s official thread at Capcom-Unity, spanning 280 pages. In this regard Operation Cherry Blossom was a success, but Capcom’s failure to respond to the movement was deeply discouraging. If Capcom wants their fans to convince them there is money in localizing a game, they shouldn’t ignore them when they do precisely that.
3. Monster Hunter Tri G Lacking Online Functionality
This simply baffles me. If I were the executive in charge of Monster Hunter Tri G‘s development, as soon as I discovered there would be no online multiplayer, I would have shut that shit down. But that didn’t happen. The game was released and sold gangbusters in Japan — no surprise there. I will admit that a few creative features were put into the game to take advantage of the 3DS’s hardware, but this doesn’t make up for one of the biggest draws the series has.
4. Console Woes
You don’t need to listen very hard to hear what Monster Hunter fans want — they are very vocal. In my experiences, western fans have made it very clear that they want a console version of the game — not a portable one. In Japan, fans are eagerly poised for the announcement of a Vita version — and with two real joysticks I can’t say I blame them. Neither of these strongly-voiced desires look like they’re set to become a reality, especially given Monster Hunter 4 has already been slated for the 3DS.
5. Competitors Appearing
Like a dog crawling on its belly to steal your hotdog at a picnic, many replicators have attempted to capture a portion of Monster Hunter‘s success. And they are getting better at it. This year I feel like I saw more games capture a bit of the essence of Monster Hunter than ever before. I can’t tell you how many people told me to buy Gods Eater Burst, a PSP game with a futuristic appearance and eerily familiar yet over the top combat. Then there was Hunter Blade, an MMO that doesn’t even hide the fact that it is nearly 100% based on Monster Hunter. A lot of western fans have begun playing Hunter Blade, having given up on Monster Hunter Frontier ever seeing a western localization. The moral of this story is: people move to replicators when the original doesn’t give them what they want. I hope Capcom realizes this before their mighty franchise is picked apart by the wolves.
Looking forward, I hope 2012 will be a better year for Monster Hunter. I want to see better decisions made about the direction of the series, and I want to see more done to engage the growing fanbase here in the West. What I don’t want to see more of is my desk, as it speeds towards my head for an immanent collision. Brb. Nosebleed. LOL