On March 26, Monster Hunter Rise goes on sale exclusively for Nintendo Switch. It is the latest installment in the popular Capcom saga, and it may become a phenomenon similar to Animal Crossing New Horizons in 2020, which already has more than 30 million units sold (and is the best-selling game on the console) .
Monster Hunter Rise comes at a brilliant time for the franchise. If the saga had already had a great performance in the Japanese market, the delivery for PS4, Xbox One and PC (Monster Hunter World) has become Capcom’s best-selling game in its history (sales of MH World and its Iceborne expansion exceed 24 million games sold in the world).
The 49 titles of the Monster Hunter saga have reached 65 million units sold ( data from 2020 ) and are placed only behind Resident Evil, which has 141 releases, including different versions of the same game. Monster Hunter is a more successful franchise than Street Fighter, Megaman or Devil May Cry.
The Switch game appears at a perfect time. Currently, the Nintendo console is the best-selling video game hardware in the world, above the new generation machines, PS5 and Xbox Series X, and the saga will be revalued with the premiere of the movie Monster Hunter in theaters.
But what does Monster Hunter Rise need to become a megaton like Animal Crossing was last year ? Like the Nintendo game, it already starts with a loyal audience in Japan, but the Japanese market increasingly represents a less relevant part of the pie. The important thing is to conquer the western market.
It’s hard. As aggressive as Nintendo’s marketing campaign is, the genre is much more “niche.” It’s easy to conquer “hardcore” gamers, but all that more casual audience who dared with Animal Crossing can be overwhelmed with the depth and difficulty of Monster Hunter.
On the other hand, the confinement by COVID 19 helped turn New Horizons into the perfect escape platform, what better than to see our island grow and visit our friends’ while we stayed at home? But Monster Hunter Rise comes at a time when the measures have been relaxed. We can leave the house (although perimeter closures and curfews have been established) and we do not have the urgent need to look for an escape route.
The Capcom game does not have such a strong social aspect either. It is true that multiplayer is one of the pillars of Rise, but it is not so conducive to sharing what we have achieved on social networks (and the presence of felyne and the new canyne lends itself to a lot of memes and ingenious tweets ).
Lastly, Capcom’s game has an advantage in terms of the installed user base, which is much higher than a year ago, but faces much greater competition. While Nintendo’s releases during 2020 had less of an impact, the Switch catalog in 2021 is much more ambitious.
Monster Hunter will have to stay on the sales charts by competing with Super Mario 3D World + Bowser´s Fury and Bravely Default II (already on the market) and with “first party” releases such as Mario Golf Super Rush, New Pokémon Snap, Pokémon Pearl Shimmering and Shining Diamond, The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword in the coming months.
It seems that Monster Hunter Rise has a difficult time replicating the success of Animal Crossing, and yet we can anticipate that it is going to become one of the best-selling games of the year. International critics already anticipate the success of this new installment.