Examples of Damage Control in Gaming: A Delayed Steam Entry into the Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter: World is due for a release at the end of the month worldwide, and Capcom’s marketing machine has been working overtime to promote its existence. They’ve done this through several trailers and special previews, and beta sessions — though the latter have only been held on Sony platforms, which shows who’s giving them the most marketing assistance. They want to make sure existing Monster Hunter fans know the first non-port console outing in over eight years (going by the Japanese release of Monster Hunter tri on Wii) is essentially a mainline game despite the lack of a number in the title. They also want to lure in those who’ve said “Man, I wish this was on a console” about several handheld-exclusive installments over the years.

While the Xbox One version isn’t being promoted much because of the marketing deal, there’s another edition that was nearly forgotten since the game’s announcement in June: the PC version. Capcom tends to release PC versions of their non-handheld games regularly these days, and World is no exception here. It was previously confirmed that it wouldn’t release simultaneously with the console versions, but it presumably would only be delayed for a few weeks to a month, the norm for modern delayed PC releases. A pity that turned out to be a significant underestimate.

Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto confirmed in his New Year’s statement that the PC version won’t release until this fall, at least eight months after the console versions, far longer than expected. Overall reactions to the news were mixed. One group balked at how long they’d have to wait to play the game compared to console owners, which could lead to feelings of jealousy if they see latter group gushing about how much they’re enjoying it soon. The second group didn’t mind the delay if it meant the PC version will be more polished, even compared to the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X versions, since they already have enough games to play. The most surprising group is the one cheering this move, since they feel console owners will be beta testers, and that the PC version will get any fixes and DLC released in the interim at launch.

But what’s the reason for this delay? Tsujimoto merely confirmed the release timeframe and how the development team is working hard on it in the video, but said more details about it will be provided later. He also thanked fans for their patience, though as mentioned above, not all of them are happy.

GamesRadar obtained a more detailed response from Tsujimoto, who explained that the reason for the delay was so the title won’t experience unforeseen problems after its release. It’s the team’s first PC title, and while they want it to be as perfect as possible, they intended to do this while not diverting time and resources away from the console versions. He also mentioned how the PC version will require extra work with its servers and matchmaking.

Those issues would be priorities for any development team, particularly when this will be the first mainline installment to reach the platform. (This will also be the first for Xbox owners, but it’s easier to program games for consoles than PCs.) Monster Hunter Frontier was an MMORPG spinoff only released in Japan and some Asian territories, and wasn’t developed by the same team. Even with that consideration, this large of a delay is a surprise, since other teams within the company could have shared their experience in working with PC ports to ensure a closer release between both versions. They were either busy with other projects, or the MH team wanted to go it alone.

It will be a while before Monster Hunter: World makes its way to PC owners, but given the response from the development team, the port should be of exemplary quality. Capcom’s word is admittedly difficult to trust, but those in the company making the worst decisions are unlikely to interfere with the developments of their biggest franchise, so it should turn out fine. It would also be nice if they threw in a little something extra to compensate for the wait, beyond all the DLC released up until that time.

In the meantime, it won’t be long until console owners can play it on the 26th of this month, a week from Friday. But they’ll have a third opportunity to play the open beta starting from Thursday at 9PM ET to Sunday at 8:59PM ET, if that console you own is a PS4. It will have new content compared to the last two betas, so anyone who was disappointed the last one was identical to the first one may want to participate. I had a good time with the open beta, so everyone should feel free to give it a shot, even if they’ve never played an MH title.

Given their dedication to getting everything right, they should hold betas for the PC version before it releases too. Look for those to happen as the fall season approaches months from now.

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