HomeEducationCan 'Monster Hunter Now' Pull Niantic Out of Its Hunch? | The...

Can ‘Monster Hunter Now’ Pull Niantic Out of Its Hunch? | The Global Today

On his stroll towards Niantic’s workplace within the Bay Space at some point, senior producer Sakae Osumi seen everybody staring up. There was an eclipse occurring, nearly as good a purpose as any to tilt again and gaze into the sky, however Osumi had one other thought: What if a workforce engaged on a Monster Hunter–themed recreation might replicate the state of affairs—however commerce within the sun shades and celestial occasion for a telephone and a large imply creature?

Monster Hunter Now isn’t just the reply to that individual query, however a much bigger, extra existential drawback plaguing Niantic. In 2016, the cell developer captured lightning in a bottle when Pokémon Go mixed the corporate’s augmented actuality know-how with the mega-popular franchise, permitting gamers to embark on their very personal Pokémon journey wherever they have been. It was (and nonetheless is) a worldwide phenomenon: greater than 1 billion downloads and annual events internationally (and possibly millions of {dollars} misplaced from gamers unwisely opting to play whereas driving).

Within the seven years since, Niantic has struggled to create new video games that may even catch a whiff of that success. This yr, the corporate laid off a whole lot of employees, canceled two tasks, and closed its Los Angeles workplace. In 2022, amid layoffs, Niantic canned four other games, following the dismal efficiency of its 2019 miss, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. As gamers lose religion that Niantic can create—and hold alive—video games based mostly on their favourite franchises, Monster Hunter Now, launching September 14, could also be its finest shot for regaining goodwill. If an almost 20-year-old, mega-popular collection from Capcom doesn’t have the juice, it’s onerous to think about the place the corporate might efficiently go subsequent.

So, does Monster Hunter Now have what it takes? “I can’t provide you with a greater reply than we expect it is a enjoyable recreation,” govt producer Kei Kawai tells WIRED. “We constructed a enjoyable recreation.”

OK, positive. However it’s a little extra complicated than that. From the outset, Kawai says, they sought to make one thing that wasn’t only a re-skin of Pokémon Go, even when it’s the firm’s most profitable recreation. Thematically, Niantic and Monster Hunter creator Capcom noticed the franchise as a superb match for real-world adventures and needed to discover a option to make {that a} actuality. However to take action, Kawai and the workforce needed to deal with real-time motion. “It’s undoubtedly like a extra ‘gamey’ recreation than different titles that we’ve constructed,” he says. “That was intentional.”

Kawai thinks about making video games in a multilayered strategy. Video games should be enjoyable, clearly, and so they should be thrilling and fascinating. However in addition they have to problem gamers simply the correct quantity. “A recreation must really feel rewarding of your time so that you simply really feel that you simply’re getting greater than what you place in,” he says.

In a typical Monster Hunter recreation, taking down your prey is a grand affair that may final wherever from 10 minutes to greater than an hour, relying on its dimension and your talent. Generally you’ll have to attempt it greater than as soon as to triumph. However for a cell recreation you could be enjoying outdoors in the summertime solar, that’s lower than splendid. The workforce discovered that even three minutes felt too lengthy. Monster Hunter Now cuts encounters all the way down to 75 seconds.

You additionally don’t should be consistently connected to your display to play—excellent news for anybody who might have tumbled off a pier or two whereas targeted on their telephones throughout a PoGo jaunt. Palicoes, the collection’ catlike companions, will discover monsters for you and seize these encounters for later by way of its “paintball” system. That method you may play while you’re house or at an workplace with buddies. “You may hold progressing whereas your telephone is in your pocket, so we aren’t forcing gamers to have a look at the display,” Osumi says.

Video: Niantic

Video: Niantic

The workforce needed to create a social environment for searching and capitalize on the fame Niantic has constructed for adventures. It encourages gamers to go outdoors and meet folks; monsters are simpler to hunt while you’re with a workforce, and with paintballs it can save you hunts to do later with buddies. “I believe it is a basically social franchise,” says Kawai.

It’ll should be—phrase of mouth could make or break a cell recreation. Despite the fact that the Monster Hunter viewers is big, not each huge franchise yields a wildly common cell recreation. Niantic discovered this with Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Nonetheless, after just a few years of fumbles, the corporate wants to attain. As of Monday, greater than 3 million gamers had preregistered for Now, however that quantity is small in comparison with the worldwide phenomenon of Pokémon Go, which hit 500 million downloads inside its first yr.

Just a few video games are destined to turn out to be chart toppers, and it’s potential Niantic might by no means replicate the success it had with Pokémon Go. But Osumi is assured in what Monster Hunter Now brings to the desk, if solely to enchantment to gamers’ baser instincts. “I believe it is a recreation that feels pure to everybody, as a result of searching is form of in our DNA,” he says. Level, and lookup.

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