Monster Hunter: World is a fantasy third-person action RPG developed and published by Capcom for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 26, 2018, later being released on the PC on August 9, 2018. The player takes on the role of a Hunter, and is tasked to hunt various fantastical creatures in one of several distinct open worlds. The player then uses monster parts to craft more powerful weapons and armor, enabling them to hunt for more powerful monsters, leading to more powerful gear.
While the Monster Hunter franchise had already been wildly successful in Japan; its reception had been more lukewarm in the west. While the games were generally well received critically, they consistently put up poor sales numbers as western audiences repeatedly failed to take to a series which became known its steep learning curve, complexity, and difficulty. While the series began on console, it primarily became a handheld series in Japan, taking advantage of the PSP's ad-hoc multiplayer, allowing local players to drop in and out of game sessions seamlessly. While this flourished in Japan where the conditions are ripe for such a feature, it failed to prove significant in the less densely populated west, where console gaming is generally preferred to handheld gaming regardless.
These conditions led to Capcom choosing to develop Monster Hunter: World for modern consoles and PCs, and emphasizing online play rather than ad-hoc multiplayer. Developing for more powerful consoles also led to the series transitioning to open world gameplay rather than the series' previous layout of discrete areas separated by loading zones. Additionally, Capcom chose to implement features expected by western audiences in modern games; namely a fully voiced and comprehensive tutorial and fully voiced cutscenes, a first for the series.
Monster Hunter: World received critical acclaim globally upon its release. Critics praise it for accommodating western audiences while ultimately still retaining the complex gameplay the series became known for. Monster Hunter: World outsold all of its predecessors within 3 days of its release, when it hit 5 million units. It would go on to become Capcom's best-selling game, with the majority of sales coming from outside of Japan, a first for the series.