If you haven’t heard already, Monster Hunter’s back and this time Capcom is taking its power-selling series to the next level. With the 3DS slipping into its twilight years, Monster Hunter is no longer being shackled to the ageing handheld, setting its sights on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC in early 2018.
For long-time fans of the series such as myself, this is the news we’ve been waiting to hear for almost a decade now. Before Capcom struck an exclusivity deal with Nintendo, Monster Hunter was born and raised within the PlayStation ecosystem, so it’s great to see this franchise return to Sony’s console in particular.
Instead of baiting us with a cinematic teaser, Capcom wheeled out some actual Monster Hunter: World gameplay footage. Going through the debut reveal again, there’s a lot to digest though details surrounding the sequel have started to surface, mainly through interviews with the Japanese press. So, if that trailer wasn’t enough, here’s thirteen reasons why you should get pumped for the new Monster Hunter.
1. This is Monster Hunter 5 in all but name, though Capcom decided to choose “World” as it aligns with their vision for the sequel while separating it from previous instalments. The project has been in development for four years now and will be coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC – a first for the franchise.
2. Confirmed for “early 2018” Monster Hunter: World will have a simultaneous global launch, which is another first for Monster Hunter. Previous games in the series have released in Japan many months before their overseas release. To coincide with the global launch, Capcom has confirmed that Monster Hunter World will support cross-region online multiplayer.
3. Environments are no longer broken down into smaller areas or zones as in previous games. Each hunting ground will be its own self-contained open world with no loading screens.
4. Instead of having a set base camp, this will randomly appear within the hunting ground. Players can return to their base camp at any time to change their weapon and armour mid-hunt, adapting their loadout whenever they wish.
5. Quests are more free-form this time around. In order to advance, you no longer have to complete a prescribed list of assignments. In this way, the game’s progression mechanics should feel more organic.
6. As in Monster Hunter 4, verticality is a crucial gameplay element. Players are encouraged to climb and explore their surrounding environment. Larger monster can also be mounted and attacked from above. Instead of Monster Hunter 4’s grappling mini-game, this looks more like the mounting used in Capcom’s other action RPG series, Dragon’s Dogma.
7. Monsters have different, more advanced behaviours. They can also be manipulated into attacking each other. Some monsters will only make themselves known if another creature enters its territory. In the demo, we saw one of the new monsters ambushed by a Rathalos after chasing the player through a jungle.
8. Fourteen returning weapon classes have been confirmed so far. The medium bowgun and tonfas, as seen in Monster Hunter Frontier G, may not make an appearance.
9. There won’t be Hunter Arts – a system featured in Monster Hunter Generations. Instead, players will have access to certain powers that can be used in battle. One such power includes a rapid fire mode for bowguns, as shown briefly during the gameplay reveal.
10. Hunters can send scout flies to recon the area ahead. More specific details aren’t available yet, though it’s likely they can reveal resource nodes, monsters, and other points of interest. Players can also seek out monster by scanning prints and other tracks they leave within the environment.
11. Drop in/out online multiplayer has been confirmed. Even when in the middle of a hunt, fellow players can join a session and get stuck in. Capcom has said that hunting lobbies will still appear in Monster Hunter World for those who simply want to socialise.
12. Gathering herbs, mushrooms, and other items is now done by simply walking past them. Players won’t have to waste time watching the same animations play out again and again as materials are added to their inventories.
13. Hunters can fast travel to different sections of the map, cutting out some of the tedious legwork.
Despite many new and revised features, Capcom stress that Monster Hunter’s core will remain intact. Your overarching goal is to hunt and harvest the biggest, more fearsome monsters you can find. Crafting new weapons, armour, and gear is still another major focus, though hunters will also be able to employ advanced tricks and tactics, using their surroundings to confuse and outsmart monsters.
In a nutshell, Capcom has attacked the series’ ageing formula from two sides. On one side there’s a wealth of new and advanced systems helping to make hunts more dynamic and immersive. Then on the other side they’re cutting away unnecessary, time-wasting parts of the old Monster Hunter formula, streamlining the entire game and making it more approachable.