This is going to be a bit of an odd post, but it is something that has been kicking around in my head lately and something that we have discussed a bit on AggroChat. Back in 2015 when I attended Pax South 2015… I walked away with one game on my lips… Gigantic. It was what I felt at the time a fresh take on the whole MOBA genre and the state at which the game was in at the show… I fully expected it to be launching within the next six months. Sure Blizzard had just announced Overwatch a few months earlier… but this was here and playable right now. We scan forward several years… and Gigantic finally launched on July 20th of 2017. It launched into a climate that has Paladins, Smite, Battleborn, and a plethora of other similar games vying for the same eyeballs on the same screens. Most importantly though when Overwatch officially launched on May 24th of 2016 it sucked every last drop of oxygen from the room. Sure there are a ton of differences between each of these games, but in the eyes of the customers… I am not actually sure any of them matter. They all fall into this broad category of cartoony stylistic shooter… and the one that gets the most time on the lips of players… is Overwatch. I’ve not played Gigantic in a long while in part because there is some nonsense of multiple competing versions for Windows… but in truth because that moment passed and I moved on to other things. To be fair I am not playing Overwatch either.
When Dauntless was announced at The Game Awards in December of 2016, I thought it looked really interesting namely because there really isn’t a great PC resident Monster Hunter experience. Sure there is Godeater but it is sorta doing its own thing that is not entirely connected to the Monster Hunter fame. I realize Toukiden also exists but neither has really developed the same sort of following. At Pax South 2017 I got to lay my hands on the game and give it a shot, and while I was completely horrible at it… the experience seemed like something that with time I could get into. However soon I started to see a very painfully similar pattern emerging with this game that I did with Gigantic. At E3 2017 Capcom announced Monster Hunter World and with it for the first time in the franchise PC support. At this point Dauntless was on a clock, they either had to get to market first or would have all of their available oxygen sucked out of the room as well. A few days ago it was announced at the Tokyo Game show that Monster Hunter World would be shipping in all markets on January 26th 2018. While they say the PC version will follow later… this still adds additional pressure to Dauntless to release and firms up the time table of when they have to launch. The game is currently in Closed Beta but has never really had a more firm launch window other than “2017” of which we are starting to run out of months.
For me personally… that time is already over. Once Monster Hunter World was announced to be coming to PC, I for the most part stopped caring that much about Dauntless news. I was going to get my Monster Hunter game on the PC and it was going to come from Capcom and share all of the traits and lore and history of the Monster Hunter franchise as a whole. Dauntless on the other hand has to fight an uphill battle of coming up with a brand new IP and then trying to infuse enough into that world to make it feel alive and exciting and not just a sequence of arenas where you fight boss monsters. Even the monsters themselves are a challenge because they have to come up with a whole slew of brand new creatures with their own mechanics and tactics… whereas Monster Hunter world can draw heavily on fourteen years of experience and fourteen related games worth of monster battles. Basically the oxygen is gone for me personally, but if they hope to get Monster Hunter devotees their clock is ticking down quickly because the moment the actual Monster Hunter is available on PC… a whole lot of the unique gimmick factor of Dauntless goes away. I might be overly grim here, but I watched this all play out for Gigantic and I have a feeling we are just about to see a repeat of that story.