Monster Hunter: World saw unprecedented worldwide success for a franchise traditionally only popular in Japan, selling 12 million copies as of last month. That success has likely also helped the monster-hunting subgenre of games; Dauntless, which is a free-to-play take on monster hunting, has surpassed 10 million downloads since it launched in May.
It would be unfair to call Dauntless an all-out clone of Monster Hunter; it’s an action-RPG with many similar systems. Players use unique weapons and skills to hunt, battle, and kill large beasts, targeting their specific weak points and turning their hides into unique sets of armor. That certainly is the same. But Dauntless takes on a more cartoony aesthetic than the core Monster Hunter games, and also has sanded off some of the franchise’s rougher edges, making it potentially make it welcoming to a different set of players. (Phoenix Labs had been showing the game off in betas and early access before World’s triumphant Western success.)
As Monster Hunter: World gears up for its first major expansion — Iceborne, out in September — how do its creators perceive games like Dauntless, which riff on a formula they have built their brand on?
“I’m perfectly happy and proud to feel that if our game has gotten big enough that people are taking inspiration from it and making their own titles,” said World executive director Kaname Fujioka. “I mean, we are creators and we are influenced by all the games we’ve played. It’s definitely not something I feel bad or angry about to see this kind of thing happening. It’s more proof that Monster Hunter: World has gone global, since a game like Dauntless is a global game.”
Dauntless certainly isn’t the first game to try to capture the magic of beating up giant monsters. There are lots monster-hunter-a-likes, including God Eater, Toukiden, and Soul Sacrifice.
“In the past when Monster Hunter got big on PSP in Japan for example, Monster Hunter-like games started cropping up on PSP in Japan, but maybe they weren’t as known in the West,” he said. “We’ve always had people take inspiration from us and use that as the basis for their own creations. I think that that’s continuing with Monster Hunter: World era of the series.”
Monster Hunter: World’s expansion Iceborne will be released Sept. 6 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with a free weekend coming to PlayStation Plus users starting June 21.