After the big E3 reveal, Monster Hunter: World got a special showing at SDCC where Capcom showed off some of the weapons and revealed that the map will have you tackling weather and humidity as part of your journey. If you haven’t guessed already, this next entry in the long-running series, but this one is a little different. Not only is it getting the first ever simultaneous release for the series, but it’s coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC too.
As other series entries, Monster: Hunter World will be taking us back to a time where giant lizards roam the earth, but instead of making you an underprepared warrior à la Jurassic Park, in this game you are a fearless predator with a range of weapons and tactics for taking down even the biggest of dinosaurs.
From what we’ve seen so far of the game, it’s definitely a total revamp of the series, rather than just better looking. But until the game arrives next year, here are all the details on the Monster Hunter: World release date and gameplay, some snazzy trailers and more.
When is ‘Monster Hunter: World’ coming out?
The Monster Hunter: World release date is set for sometime in early 2018, launching simultaneously in Japan, the US and Europe for the first time ever.
Usually, the titles are released in Japan first, and months later sometimes arrive in the UK, North America and Australia. Although not all of the titles have ever made it to worldwide release.
What consoles can I play it on?
The Monster Hunter series, despite originally launching on the PS2 in 2004, is one that has become synonymous with portable consoles. More recent games in the series have focused on the PSP and 3DS, those that have actually released outside of Japan anyway.
But Monster Hunter: World is coming to PS4, Xbox One and PC. The Xbox One and PS4 versions will arrive in early 2018, and the PC version will arrive at a later date. Apparently, the title will run at 4K and support HDR too, so it should be the best-looking Monster Hunter game ever.
Interestingly, there’s currently no plan for a Nintendo Switch release, especially considering the series’ history. However, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for that one coming in the future. Switch fans are getting Monster Hunter XX in August though.
What’s the gameplay like?
Monster Hunter games are well known for being incredibly hard for newcomers to wade into, but Monster Hunter: World is attempting to be the most accessible yet. It will introduce a living, breathing ecosystem in which you’ll be hunting for monsters, keeping your eye open for environmental tools that you can use on your hunts.
For the first time, this Monster Hunter title will offer co-op play between Japanese players and those in the West, thanks to a simultaneous worldwide release date.
Taking advantage of that, Monster Hunter: World will let you send up an SOS flare to a worldwide server so you can call in a teammate from across the globe if you’re struggling with a battle.
But aside from that, the biggest change for Monster Hunter: World gameplay is the scope and spectacle. Usually, these games focus on portability, but here it’s all about delivering a huge open world that looks as good as the monsters are terrifying.
“We’ve heard time and again over the years how players of the handheld version of Monster Hunter want a deep, meaty experience on console,” explained Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto to ArsTechnica. “We could have done it any time, but we wanted to wait until we had a sense of purpose, the feeling that the technology was right to realize the vision we’d have to make the kind of game we want to.”
From what we saw in the live gameplay demo behind closed doors at E3, it’s going to be a game that offers a rich and diverse ecosystem. Different species interact with each other in different ways, enjoying the lush rainforest-esque area we were shown, with herbivores drinking at a pool and our target, the gigantic, leathery and feathery, Anjanath having a little nap up towards the tops of the tree canopies.
You track it using footprints you find and the characteristic sticky mucus patches it’s left behind. The more you find, the more your luminous scout flies can pick up the Anjanath’s scent, leading you through the forest with a bright trail. But before we even spy the Anjanath, a Great Jagras crosses our path and gobbles up one of the herbivores in one bite. We follow it at a distance, keeping an eye on our scout flies too, and watch it regurgitate its latest meal for a gaggle of baby Jagras while we lurk in some long grass.
It’s in the centre of a dark cave that we eventually find the Anjanath. We lure it out using some stones and bait it with a lump of meat, causing it to get ensnared in some sticky weeds. In Monster Hunter: World, the environment is as important as your arsenal, when it comes to fighting monsters. Cause rocks to fall on top of monsters, use bait or those reeds, or even set monsters against each other. It’s all possible, if you just use your imagination apparently. And don’t forget, the entire world is destructible too.
Flora and fauna will also become a big part of the game, collecting stuff as you hunt to use as part of meals, or as part of their arsenal. Some bugs, for example, can offer healing qualities, whilst some plants can be used to make an entire are poisonous to monsters.
Your arsenal will include a new item called the Slinger though, which is a grappling hook you can use to swing from or pull items from a distance – and yes that includes the biggest monsters. You’ll be able to craft new gear and weapons from what you collect in the world and from fallen monsters too.
All 14 weapons from the previous titles are making a return too, so if you’re a seasoned hunter you’ll find some of your arsenal very familiar. You’ll also be able to quick travel to your base camp mid-mission if you want to switch up your weapons choice, without actually quitting the hunt.
At SDCC, Capcom revealed some footage of the weapons in action in Monster Hunter: World, including the new Hunting Horn, the original Switch Axe and more. Currently there’s only this dodgy footage someone grabbed straight from the SDCC panel, but we’ll update as soon as the official trailers are released:
But although plenty of the monsters will be making a return, the game has given them all smart AI, giving them a unique behaviour that allows them to interact with the environment and other species like they never have before.
If you want to get a sense of the scale of Monster Hunter: World, take a look at this glorious gameplay showcase, which is essentially the same presentation we saw behind closed doors at E3 2017, where they tracked down the Anjanath, baited it, chased it, fought it, used the environment and other monsters to attack and eventually took it down and took its innards:
How big is the Monster Hunter World map?
Capcom hasn’t yet detailed the size of the Monster Hunter: World map, but you will be able to pull up the full world map at the touch of a button in the game, rather than just having to rely on your minimap.
The story will see you going on a research expedition to a newly discovered continent known only as “new world” so far. You’ll be able to move seamlessly from one map area to another, with a full day and night cycle too. You’ll also have to tackle humidity and temperature across the map, as it’ll affect which plants and animals will be present.
As soon as we have more info on the Monster Hunter: World map, we’ll update this article.