Niantic’s latest AR game Monster Hunter Now may well be the hottest new title of the past month, with impressive pre-install numbers and 10 million downloads so far helping to push the game beyond anything we’ve seen from the developer since 2016’s Pokémon Go.
Encouraging even more people to get hunting, Niantic has now revealed the game’s first seasonal event, with the Halloween Pumpkin Hunt taking place from 25 - 31 October. Previously the game has held shorter promo events - Diablos and Pink Rathian - designed to boost return visits and sustained play.
Let’s get carving
While far from the only game to be celebrating Halloween, this does mark an important milestone for Monster Hunter Now as its first seasonal in-game event. Niantic has promised that Jack-o’-Lanterns (or just pumpkins, to us Brits) will appear across the in-game field and special Halloween-exclusive equipment will be available to craft.
From 28 October up to Halloween, players may also find unique Kulu-Ya-Ku out in the wild wandering around with pumpkin rocks in hand. If these Kulu-Ya-Ku fight like usual, they will use the spooky rocks as both a shield and a weapon.
Fortunately, unlike the recent Pink Rathian event that required major story progress and a big playtime commitment to unlock, the Halloween event will be accessible to players of a much lower in-game level, making it more plausible for new players to jump in and smash some pumpkin rocks. Also, while the Pink Rathian event didn’t come with any special quests, Halloween marks the return of special quests for players to complete, providing yet another reason to get hunting.
The sources of success
Monster Hunter Now officially launched five weeks ago in mid September, showcasing the power of a partnership between Capcom’s popular IP and Niantic’s AR and geolocation tech. The mobile game has made $31.44 million so far with Japan proving to be its biggest market; while only 14.32% of the playerbase is based in Japan, the region accounts for an impressive 68.66% of revenue so far.
The US has the biggest install base, meanwhile, containing almost a fifth of all players - yet only represents 8.28% of the game’s total revenue.
As Niantic’s first big game to be bolstered by an existing IP since the end of the pandemic, Now appears to have come at the perfect time. Rise, the franchise’s latest entry on consoles and PC, has seen huge success with over 12 million units sold; DLC and multi-platform releases have also helped keep the franchise relevant up to Now’s launch as a mobile exclusive.
Now also translates the series' tried-and-tested gameplay formula cleanly onto mobile, with a faithful combat system, weapon crafting and, of course, monster hunting.
All these factors have combined into what has quickly become a smash hit for this Top 50 Game Maker, with Monster Hunter Now already rising to the status of second-biggest Niantic game, only behind Pokémon Go.