Monster Hunter: World smashed records and introduced millions to the franchise, but the series was already a popular system seller for years.
In 2018, the world finally recognized one of gaming’s best-kept secrets in the Monster Hunter franchise. That year’s Monster Hunter: World – and its later expansion, Iceborne – now account for a third of the franchise’s lifetime sales. The newest entry in the series, Monster Hunter Rise, already sold 4 million copies in its opening weekend. What some fans may not realize is that the fervor over Monster Hunter existed long before World or Rise were even in development, just not in the West.
Monster Hunter made its debut on the PlayStation 2 in 2004. While the first game and its updated expansion, Monster Hunter G, didn’t do too well, the series flourished on portable systems. Capcom brought Monster Hunter to PlayStation Portable in the form of Monster Hunter Portable, known internationally as Monster Hunter Freedom. Portable nearly quadrupled the sales of its PS2 counterpart, and the series became synonymous with the PSP in Japan. Capcom went on to expand the Freedom series for PSP exclusively, making approximately $11.1 million in sales over its lifetime, though it ended with its third game after support for the PSP died outside of Japan.
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These sales figures all come from Capcom, and according to Guinness World Records, Monster Hunter Tri, the third mainline game in the series, brought the PSP’s success back to home consoles, becoming the first third-party game on the Wii to sell more than a million copies. Tri was later updated in Monster Hunter Tri: Ultimate on both the Wii U and 3DS, pushing sales of the series’ third generation to more than $9 million combined. Monster Hunter 4 then released exclusively on 3DS in 2013, likely contributing to the nearly 300,000 3DS units sold in its first week on the market, according to Famitsu, and eventually making more than $4 million in sales.
Could Monster Hunter Become Capcom’s Most Popular Franchise?
Monster Hunter: World brought the franchise to a Sony system for the first time in nearly a decade. With the PS4 as the fastest-selling console at the time, World became the fastest-selling game in Capcom history. Monster Hunter Rise has only been out for a week at the time of writing, but the game has already shipped 1.3 million physical copies and likely aided in the sale of 267,000 Switch units, according to Famitsu. Nintendo itself seems to have known the game would sell well, buying nine months of Switch exclusivity for $6 million, according to the leaks Capcom suffered late last year.
With the Switch version out, more content on the way, and a PC port arriving sometime next year, Monster Hunter Rise is positioned to achieve the same – if not greater – numbers World did. Monster Hunter is officially the second-best-selling property Capcom owns, beaten only by Resident Evil; the horror franchise has made $107 million in sales across 141 titles, compared to Monster Hunter‘s $66 million across 49 titles. However, a third of that $66 million was made by World alone, meaning Monster Hunter has the possibility to overtake Resident Evil at some point in the future. It’s hard to argue with the numbers it is already doing, which all but guarantee Monster Hunter Rise will become a system seller, just like the rest of the franchise.
Next: How to Make Money in Monster Hunter Rise (The Fast Way)
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