Well, it turns out I wasn't the only person who had a hankering for returning to Monster Hunter: World for the first time in forever this holiday season. The game has seen a resurgence over the last couple of weeks, culminating in a peak concurrent count of 131,964 players on January 1 according to SteamDB. That's the largest number of hunters exploring the New World since October 2020.
It was the 12th most played game on New Year's Day, drawing in more folk than games like Rust, The Finals, Elden Ring and Cyberpunk 2077. Not too bad for a game that was released in 2018, if you ask me.
As for the reason for its revival, I have a couple of theories. SteamDB shows a pretty steady increase in numbers since its direct follow-up, Monster Hunter Wilds, was revealed at The Game Awards on December 7. That's been compounded with the fact that the game is in the Steam sale for less than $10 until January 4, its lowest-ever price. That's the same case for the expansion Iceborne, too, which is going for just under $15 right now—that's $25 for a game you can easily squeeze a few hundred hours out of.
It's interesting to note that Monster Hunter Rise, the newest entry in the series which is also less than $15 right now, hasn't quite been privy to the same phenomenon. It's seen a tiny boost from around 15,000 concurrent players to 27,266 players at the beginning of this year. The attention is very much on World, though, which makes sense considering it's a far more involved game than the comparatively pared-down Nintendo Switch-centric Rise. Couple that with the fact that Wilds is essentially looking to be Monster Hunter: World 2, and it's understandable why it's the returning game of choice for many.
I've personally been having a fantastic time back in Monster Hunter: World with my pals, who've been helping me finally get through the last bit of Iceborne. It's a riot of a game, especially in co-op, and still holds up as my favourite Monster Hunter five-and-a-half years later. There's nothing quite like bashing a giant monster's head with a giant bagpipe weapon before shredding out a song to buff your teammates. Just like everyone else right now, I'll be putting plenty more hours in while anticipating Wilds' release in 2025.