It is no surprise that Monster Hunter is a successful series now, considering that the games have long been major successes in Japan. The franchise especially took off on the PlayStation Portable with the Monster Hunter Portable series, which allowed players to take their individual hunters and hunt big monsters together. That success carried through on the 3DS games and eventually blew up big on consoles, where online multiplayer could break the surly bonds of friend codes and other barriers.
But depending on who you talk to in the Monster Hunter community, you might not always find agreement about whether the series is best described as single-player or multiplayer. Some fans insist that going toe-to-toe with a monster on your own — and your trusty cat and dog partners — is the only way to play, while many others don’t venture out at all unless they’re rolling four-deep in a hunter party. For most, though, it’s a hybrid of both depending on how you feel in the moment.
When we asked him, Ryozo Tsujimoto, Producer for the Monster Hunter series, said he believes multiplayer to be the core of the series.
“Personally, I want people to really experience multiplayer primarily,” Tsujimoto said. “The reason for this is, originally Monster Hunter was conceived as an online game, so we kind of consider it to be a crucial aspect of the design since the very beginning. Of course, we want single-players, pairs, people playing in threes, and the full multiplayer four-person experience to enjoy the game as much as possible. But I believe that there’s a kind of drama, a unique human experience from interacting with other players online in situations that can really only occur when you’re playing with other people and enjoying experiences together. I believe that really comes from having the cooperative experience in online play.”
Monster Hunter Rise Director Yoshitake Suzuki agrees, but he also thinks meeting the player wherever they want to be is a key goal they have to accomplish.
“I also recognize, as Tsujimoto-san said, the attractive aspect of the multiplayer focus in Monster Hunter, but one of our goals for Rise and Sunbreak is meeting the needs of the player — recognizing that sometimes players will want to play together, but also play by themselves,” Suzuki paused. “The challenge really lies in not just realizing the strength of multiplayer experience, but appreciating the needs of every player to experience the game the way they want to. Specifically speaking, in Monster Hunter Rise, one approach that we’ve taken is having the Follower Request system, which is a method of allowing single players to experience this multiplayer element we find so important.”
The Follower Request system, detailed in our preview of Sunbreak, allows single-player hunters to go on missions with NPCs from the village to get to know them better and bond with them through gameplay. We also asked Tsujimoto and Suzuki which Capcom characters they’d want to have in their hunting party if they were journey-deep into the jungle to hunt a Rathalos.
Monster Hunter Rise: Sunbreak will be released on June 30 for Nintendo Switch and PC.