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Are The Monster Hunter Games Connected?

The "Monster Hunter" franchise attracted worldwide attention after "Monster Hunter: World" elevated the series to newfound fame overseas. However, for those who didn't have a PC or couldn't pick up the best-selling title Capcom for whatever reason, their first "Monster Hunter" main series game might be the new timed Switch exclusive "Monster Hunter: Rise." You might still be on the fence about getting into the series this far in, or wondering if you need to backtrack to previous games before playing the new ones.

The short answer? No, you don't need to play the series' entries in a particular order. "Monster Hunter" games connect through a shared mythology, but they tend to be standalone. The games take place in the same post-apocalyptic, vaguely industrialized setting with similar creatures. However, many of the storylines aren't actually connected. Each title has its own plot, and the player's experience isn't significantly impacted if they haven't played the others.

So players can feel free to pick up upcoming releases, the recently released "Monster Hunter: Rise," or any of the past "Monster Hunter" games in any order they want.

How the Monster Hunter games DO connect

The "Monster Hunter" chronology is about as debatable as "The Legend of Zelda" timeline. There's no official timeline in place, but fans can deduct that some games took place after one another based on context clues. In fact, some fans suspect that most games take place around the same time, just in different parts of the "Monster Hunter" world.

Some "Monster Hunter" games reference events from other games in passing, but these references don't bar new players from understanding the plot of an individual game. For example, one Redditor pointed out how the Gunlance was created from researching ancient weapons from the Dragon War, which actually took place during "Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate." 

To make matters even more confusing, some games do have sequels, even if people don't need to play the first game of those side-series in order to understand the next. For instance, "Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin," is a follow-up to "Monster Hunter Stories," which came out in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. However, these are spinoffs and are not considered part of the main series.

Yes, it's all a bit confusing, but the important thing is this: you won't be lost if you start with any one "Monster Hunter" game, regardless of release order.