Back in 2012, there was the inkling that a Monster Hunter movie was possible, when Resident Evil director Paul W.S. Anderson expressed interest steering the helm. Now it's 2016 and at the Tokyo Game Show a Monster Hunter movie has been announced, though we don't yet know if Anderson is involved. While this may excite some fans fans — as announcements like these typically do — I believe this is not a good move for the RPG franchise.
1. You Can't Interact With A Movie
There are people who believe that it is impossible to create a good video game movie and will be quick to point out that it's because major movie studios don't care enough about the source material to do it justice. While there is a certain truth to this, there is one other major reason that most video game movies tank. It's the loss of interactivity. When you play a game, you are a character in that game, interacting with the game's world, its characters, environments and lore. It is your personal experience. But when you watch a movie, it becomes everyone's experience.
The Monster Hunter series is about you stalking monsters and beasts, and using resources collected to build armor and weapons for your ideal hunter. Being an open-ended game, every person plays their way and creates their own unique experience, and you just can't translate that to the screen. Instead of having your own adventure, you are now watching somebody else's, and that just isn't as fun.
2. Capcom's Theatrical Track Record
While the announcement of the Monster Hunter movie is a big deal, it is not the first Capcom property to be made into a live-action movie. Both Street Fighter and Resident Evil have been brought to the big screen, with the latter turning into its own franchise. And while the Resident Evil franchise did enjoy some box office glory, Street Fighter and the RE sequels have both been hated and quickly forgotten.
3. There Is No Story
Even though Capcom's other movies have been hated by so many, at the very least they offered up some sort of plot. Resident Evil is about the survival of the human race, fighting zombies and the Umbrella Corporation. Street Fighter has Jean-Claude Van Damme protecting the world from the evil M. Bison. Monster Hunter, on the other hand, has no overall narrative.
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The main draw of the franchise is the fact that you hunt monsters and improve your weapons and armor so that you can go around and kill more monsters. You can't really build a good story around that. There are ways to incorporate elements of this into a plot line, such as having someone hunt a dangerous monster to protect a village or killing a beast to show maturity. But these sorts of stories have been done so many times.
Some could argue that a story is indeed possible and point to the fact that an anime series has already been based off the games, with another on its way. However, an anime series takes place over a span of multiple episodes, not 90 minutes. You would not only have to establish the world for newcomers, but provide a compelling story as well, and if movies like Warcraft have taught us anything, it's that it is not that easy to do.
4. Monster Hunter Is Overshadowed By Other Capcom Franchises
There is no denying that Monster Hunter is a big franchise. It has been around for a little over a decade and has developed its own following. Despite this, Monster Hunter is still trailing a bit when it comes to Capcom's other big franchises, especially in the West. Being around for only a short time, not as many people are familiar with the game and that could affect ticket sales, even if it is a good movie. People are more willing to stick with a a familiar brand, which is why movies such as Dragon Ball Z: Evolution and The Last Airbender raked in a good chunk of coin at the box office. These movies are notoriously bad, but because they were based off things people already knew, we all flocked to see them. Better the devil you know, and all that.
As much as I believe that a Monster Hunter movie is a terrible idea, there is a part of me that would love to see it come to fruition and succeed where other video games have failed. Monster Hunter is great as a game, but as a movie I don't see it being anything more than another reason why you should bring video games to the silver screen.
Even if you aren't excited for the Monster Hunter movie, you should check out the trailer for the anime spinoff Monster Hunter Stories: Ride On.
What do you think about Monster Hunter being made into a live-action movie? Tell me in the comments below.