Capcom Co.’s new adventure title Monster Hunter World garnered positive reviews from critics as it went on sale, suggesting that the Japanese gamemaker may succeed in its push to make games that appeal to a global audience.
The series, where players hunt dinosaur-like monsters, has been popular in Japan for more than a decade, but has seen limited appeal abroad. With the new title, Capcom re-designed many elements specifically tailored for Western audiences, such as including more online play and letting players move freely through the game. Reviews on major gaming websites such as Eurogamer and IGN were broadly positive, calling it “accessible” and “satisfying.” Review-aggregating website Metacritic awarded Monster Hunter World a score of 91 out of 100.
“All of these changes represent a serious attempt by Capcom to make the series appeal to players in the West,” Sam Byford wrote in his review for The Verge. “While it’s made token efforts in this regard before, Monster Hunter World is a total revamp designed to attract new players outside its traditional base of Japan, which has proven tough in the past.”
Capcom shares have gained more than 40 percent since September, when it first showed detailed footage of the game, outperforming the broader Japanese equity market and even a rally in Nintendo Co. shares. Analysts have expressed concern if the game’s ambitious scale and huge development costs would pay off, but the strong reviews indicate sales should be robust.
Monster Hunter World is available from Friday for Sony Corp.’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox One consoles. The PC version is due for release later this year.
“There’s no real reason why Monster Hunter can’t succeed on console and equally importantly why it can’t succeed internationally,” Pelham Smithers, whose London-based firm offers equity research on Asian technology companies, wrote in a note to clients last year. “This not only makes it suitable for the multiplayer console era, but it offers huge potential in the multiplayer PC online market.”