Written by. Nick Mosier based on the original Japanese article (original article’s publication date: 2022-05-25 16:10 JST)
The way one holds a controller can vary from person to person. There are even players who change their grip depending on the game they’re playing. And with some games, special grips are needed to get the most out of its control scheme. In Japan, one of these special grips is known as the “Monster Hunter grip,” perhaps better known as the “claw grip” in the West. And for some reason it was trending on Twitter in Japan.
The Monster Hunter grip is a way of holding the controller where players use their left thumb to control the analog stick and their index finger to use the d-pad buttons. This makes it possible to perform actions while moving and is known for its versatility among gamers.
In the early days of the Monster Hunter series, there was no target camera like we enjoy today. Players had to manually adjust the camera, and this was done via the d-pad. Using a traditional grip of placing your index finger on the L trigger makes it difficult to move your character and adjust the camera at the same time, which is a problem the Monster Hunter grip alleviates.
While the grip has been around since the first generation of Monster Hunter, it didn’t really start to spread until the PSP generation. With 2007’s Monster Hunter Freedom 2 and 2008’s Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, what we call the claw grip became known to players in Japan as the Monster Hunter grip.
In the past, the Monster Hunter grip was considered a necessity for Monster Hunter players. But as time marched on, the utility of the grip lessened. That’s because in 2011, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate gave us the target camera. With this, it was now possible to point the camera at a monster with the press of a button, reducing the need for constant manual camera control. Even in the replies to the tweet posted above, we can see a fair number of players that didn’t know about the Monster Hunter grip.
But the Monster Hunter grip hasn’t gone away completely, as even now, players use it for games outside of the Monster Hunter series. One major example is FromSoftware titles. As one Twitter user explains, they use the grip when playing Elden Ring so they’re able to change their selected items and incantations with the d-pad while still being able to dodge.
Another user claimed that the grip spread among Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 players, and there has been evidence that some Final Fantasy XIV players use it as well.
In the beginning, the Monster Hunter grip was born out of necessity for Monster Hunter players. It’s interesting to see how nowadays it’s become just another option for players to use as they see fit across a variety of games. Twitter was full of players looking back nostalgically on the grip and others explaining how they still use it today. At any rate, it doesn’t look like the Monster Hunter grip will be going away anytime soon.