A part of the Monster Hunter series, it was released worldwide for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in January 2018, with a Microsoft Windows version following in August 2018. In the game, the player takes the role of a Hunter, tasked to hunt down and either kill or trap monsters that roam in one of several environmental spaces. If successful, the player is rewarded through loot consisting of parts from the monster and other elements that are used to craft weapons and armor, amongst other equipment. The game’s core loop has the player crafting appropriate gear to be able to hunt down more difficult monsters, which in turn provide parts that lead to more powerful gear. Players may hunt alone or in a group of up to four players via the game’s online multiplayer.
Announced at E3 2017, Monster Hunter: World adopts the series’ standard formulas from its older home console roots and recent handheld games to take advantage of the higher processing power provided by modern consoles and computers. Changes made in Monster Hunter: World include creating environmental spaces that are fully connected and removing the “zones” that were necessary for the PlayStation 2 and handheld games, more advanced monster artificial intelligence and physics, a more persistent cooperative multiplayer experience, and a refinement of the game’s tutorials and user interface to help with bringing new players into the series. These changes led Capcom to plan for the game’s simultaneous release worldwide, since Monster Hunter as a series has generally languished outside of Japan partially due to disparate release schedules. Capcom also opted to support online play between these different geographic regions for similar reasons. The delay for the Windows release was attributed to Capcom seeking to make sure its first foray into the Windows market was optimized for players on computers.
Monster Hunter: World received critical acclaim upon release, with critics praising how Capcom was able to make the game more accessible to new players and to Western markets, without detracting from the series’ core gameplay elements and enjoyable difficulty, and fully taking advantage of the computational capacity of modern consoles to create living ecosystems, with some even calling it the best in the franchise. Monster Hunter: World is the best-selling game in Capcom’s history, with over 15.5 million copies shipped by March 2020. An expansion pack, Iceborne, was released for consoles in September 2019 and for Windows in January 2020, and reached over 5 million sales by March 2020. Capcom anticipates synchronizing future updates and events between console and Windows versions by April 2020.