The Monster Hunter series has always proven to be popular for Capcom -- particularly in Japan -- and the latest installment has proven to be no exception.
Clocking in at 4.1 million units sold since September 2013, it's now Capcom's sixth best-selling game of all time, and it hasn't even launched in Western territories as yet -- we get to join the fun with the expanded Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate early next year.
Monster Hunter 4 leads a strong set of yearly financial results for the company. Video game sales increased 8.6 per cent to 120 billion yen (just over $1 billion) and profit rose 15.9 per cent to 3.4 billion yen ($33.4m). Capcom's smartphone games are struggling a bit -- perhaps because a lot of them aren't very good -- and it intends to make this a key focus in the next financial year, along with "online-focused games" for PC and other platforms, among which will be the promising-looking Deep Down.
Xbox One launch title Dead Rising 3 has performed quite well, selling 1.2 million copies, and non-specific but positive-sounding results were cited for Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen and DuckTales: Remastered. Projected sales "were basically achieved" for 3DS title Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, which sounds like corporate-speak for "slightly less than we hoped but near enough." The most high-profile failure on Capcom's books this financial year was Lost Planet 3, which came in "below expectations due in part to intensifying competition in the European and US markets." The mediocre review scores probably didn't help, either, though interestingly Lost Planet 3 is one of those games that has a passionate fanbase online who really enjoyed it and seemingly had a markedly different experience to many reviewers in the mainstream press. Make of that what you will.
In total, the Monster Hunter series has now sold over 28 million copies across its various installments. It remains at its most popular in Japan, where the early versions' ad-hoc multiplayer proved considerably more widespread than in the West. More recent installments include online play, however, which is a more practical prospect for many Western gamers -- plus in the intervening years we've had titles such as Soul Sacrifice, Toukiden and Ragnarok Odyssey to help popularize this particular style of action-RPG, which finally seems to be picking up some steam. We still have to wait until "early 2015" for the next true Monster Hunter installment, though.