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Feature Article

E3 2017: Monster Hunter World Is A Big Change For The Series

New land, new weapons, new monsters to slay

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It's a bit of an understatement to say that seeing Monster Hunter World's reveal was a surprise. During Sony's E3 presser, we caught a glimpse of the new adventure title in the Monster Hunter series, which is not only the first Monster Hunter on a PlayStation console in 11 years, but it also happens to be a bit of a departure from the standard MH gameplay. Its a more story-driven title with a focus on exploration and balancing single player and online co-op gameplay. This refocused take on the classic Monster Hunter setting will enable players to take their hunter and explore massive open areas to find new monsters, forge new gear, and take on the toughest challenges the new world has to offer.

While at the Capcom booth on the show floor at E3 2017, I got to see a rather extensive live demo of Monster Hunter World, and it's aiming to shake things up for the series. Though while die-hards fans will likely find the new premise and design of this title to be a bit of a departure from what they know, the developers have fleshed out this more adventuring take on the series to offer a more open world to explore with its own living and dynamic ecosystem to engage with.

Set in a newly discovered continent, hunters from all over make their way to the new land to work with a newly established science organization that aims to discover, track, and study the various new monsters that inhabit this vastly different ecosystem. Playing as a new hunter, you'll have to explore the continent and its various regions to see what this new land has to offer, and along the way you'll find new challenges and dangers that even seasoned hunters will have to train hard for. These regions are massive, and they feature no loading when traveling across the landscape. The setting also has a day and night cycle--which switches up monster behaviors.

Judging from the debut trailer alone, it's easy to tell that there have been a number of changes from past Monster Hunter conventions--such as the focus on more solo-oriented experiences, more traversal options, like the grappling hook, and some more action oriented gameplay. With that said, Monster Hunter World is still about finding resources and slaying tough beasts.

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During the demo, we saw our hunter take on a quest solo to find samples of mucous from a new monster known as the Anjanath. A cross between a giant feathered lizard and a T-Rex--with some fire-breathing capabilities--the Anjanath is one of the apex predators in this region, and many of the smaller beasts avoid it. One interesting thing about this demo was that it showed off the dynamic AI present in the monsters. The developers refer to it as a living ecosystem, and monsters will react in real-time, either avoiding apex predators, or engaging with weaker or weakened monsters to find an easy kill. During one moment, the Anjanath was on the run after the hunter sprung some traps and weakened it, and the smaller monsters took the opportunity to jump in to try and finish it off, only for it the take them out swiftly.

Like in past games, hunters will have to utilize materials and other gadgets to stay ahead of the game. While in the field, the hunter can find material such as the new scout flies to track particular beasts. Over time, these scout flies will level up and become more useful in their tracking skills. In addition to new materials, the hunters now have new gear and gadgets to use. Much like the grappling hook, which allows for easy traversal and for staying on top of beasts that try to shake you off, ghillie suits are now a thing for the hunters. One suit allows the hunter to stay invisible from monsters, while another will create aggro from all large monsters in line of sight.

With the open space to move around in, the hunter has to become more versatile to adapt to the dangers of the continent. Scattered around the regions are safe huts, which allow players to stock on supplies and change their load outs, which is a first for the series, as past titles forced you to commit on your choices before you go on a mission. All 14 weapon types from across the series make a return, and customization will play a larger focus in Monster Hunter World. What I really appreciated was that there seemed to be a clearer indication of what gear types are effective, showing all the stats and buffs they offer players. There's much more clarity here, which I think many many fans will appreciate.

As the hunter catches up to the Anjanath, the hunter climbs on top of it and hits it multiple times. During this section, we got to see the expanded combat gameplay, which feels far more dynamic. Just as the hunter chopped off its tail, which could be harvested for materials, the infamous Rathalos, a famous Monster Hunter beast, swoops in hoping to steal the kill. The Anjanath and the flying beast head off into a tense battle, sending the hunter flying in the chaos. This is another example of the dynamic world which reacts in real-time, which will make exploring the space interesting, as opposed to the more static placements of monsters in the last games.

Eventually, the Anjanath--despite being on its last legs--forces the Rathalos to flee. Just then, the hunter swoops in to deal several shots from the bow gun's new ammo-types, such as the short-range Wyvern Ammo, which delivers the final blow against the beast. After its defeat, the hunter harvests the remains, completing the quest. It was a really exciting mission to watch unfold, and it was impressive to see just how dynamic the space of the world is. I got some strong Dragon's Dogma vibes -- a game that focused a lot on verticality in epic fights -- and that sort of style is used really well here.

Monster Hunter World will no doubt be a departure for the series, which will likely ruffle the feathers of fans. At its core, it's still very much a Monster Hunter game, but now decontextualized to focus more on exploration in a far more open and lived-in space. With no loading screens and online drop-in and drop-out play, there are a lot of improvements from past titles present in Capcom's new take on Monster Hunter, while still retaining much of the tried and true resource-gathering and hunting gameplay. I'm impressed with how it managed to transition to open spaces, and it'll be exciting to see the sort of adventures that will come from these new locales in the Monster Hunter universe.

For more information on Monster Hunter World, which is set for an Early 2018 release, check back with us at GameSpot and our E3 hub page.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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junoh315

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This might be the first Monster Hunter game that I'll buy since the PS2 days. Well, technically I bought a 3DS Monster Hunter but that was from a friend so I'm not sure if it counts. I never ended up playing it for that long because I didn't like the controls.

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janejp

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I'm so glad that Monster Hunter came out from Nintendo and Return to PlayStation , place where it truly belong since PSP.

Now I don't need to care about MHXX not come to US anymore. Monster Hunter World has good graphic suit for this generation gaming and look playing fun.

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RSM-HQ

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I'll need to get my hands on the game to see if I like it, 4G was a magical MH game and the X series only downgraded my expectations.

A new engine and stronger hardware may be what the developer needed to inspire them going forward. Who's to say. I just hope it has plenty of Monsters, armor/ weapons, locations. and notably G-Rank.

If it has little content the game will feel flat. I'm sure the gameplay will be solid, the MH team never fails in that area. Just don't go over the top with the gimmicks. A solid game with a ton of content is all we need. And stable multiplayer_

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Dualmask

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Edited By Dualmask

I'm a die hard MH fan and I go where MH goes if it's good. Fortunately, MH will continue on Nintendo too, but I'm interested in this. Since I have friends who, unlike me, despise handhelds (I prefer them personally), it will be nice to finally be able to hunt with them.

I am just glad to see the MH series evolve one way or another. Despite Generations' many features (loved the Hunter Arts), I've been feeling like the series has grown stagnant in many ways.

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kielkaiser

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does this looks like a mix of "metal gear" and "tomb rider" or its just me?. in first look to me i dont realy like it, dont have problem if they dont care on makeing the same go kill everything on the way and bring back everything that they are madeof but, i think its time to make this game more "strategic" in some way, i mean, u go out of the villages and never do nothing more than kill or gather, never is matter the sustainability of the vilage or the ecosystem, and not know yet but, isnt matter how many u kill, the same monster get back in the next mission, they never decrease or increase other species, and for me that just mean one thing, another boring monster hunter, but, i wanna see the new monsters anyway. And for players sake, i hope that scene of the clash of the two monster means they now figth against each other.

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Dark_Matters

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Looks fantastic. I played the one that came out on PS2 and was both a little underwhelmed, and overwhelmed about different things.

I will definitely be getting this though.

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gamingdevil800

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About damn time nintendo has been holding back this franchise for too long. Now we can enjoy it with graphics that aren't PS2 era with two thumb sticks

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Powdered_Sugar

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It's coming to XBone? YES~! I was afraid I was going to miss this one. I just got into the series recently, and I'm loving Generations. This game looks amazing.

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petey_olivarez

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@powdered_sugar: you need to get a ps4 dude.

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Powdered_Sugar

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@petey_olivarez: I'm quite happy with my Xbox. I'm primarily a PC gamer, but when I want to play on a console, the XBox has all of my favorite series and my personal preference for controller design.

I might pick one up eventually, but between my PC, the XBone, and the Switch, I'm more than set for consoles :p

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Alexander_Mark

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MH Frontier Z released on the PS4 like 6 months ago, it was just never translated.

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93ChevyNut

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I've never played a monster hunter game before, so I'm a little out of my element. But I'm a little confused by the premise. So I'm part of a science organization that studies and tracks these monsters and I do that by murdering them for their "materials"? Should we just call this game Poaching Simulator 2018?

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gamingdevil800

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@93ChevyNut: In the quests there is usually a small narrative explanation like "The Tigrex destroyed a village it must be exterminated before it does more damage"

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GoodGuyMalachai

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Edited By GoodGuyMalachai

@93ChevyNut: I think this might be my first Monster Hunter game as well. The premise of why I get to hunt and kill monsters with badass weapons while looking badass means less to me if I have fun while doing the things.

I don't know you, but I think with the using the words "murdering" and "Poaching" you might be taking this a bit too seriously, eh? Besides, scientists/biologists/zoologists/etc... can't be sure of what any new organism has inside that makes it tick without cutting it open to see, right?

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nuke2099

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@93ChevyNut: The Guild in MH games does authorised hunting to protect the ecosystem. They basically help protect people and help manage the population of animals because in the MH world I think everything breeds fast. Think of it like authorised deer hunting except the deer are carnivorous and the size of elephants or bigger and you might be on the menu.

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GoodGuyMalachai

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Edited By GoodGuyMalachai

@nuke2099: Is the gameplay in this trailer representative of the other MH titles? I'm liking what I'm seeing here (loved Dragon's Dogma, and it looks like Capcom's moving some features from their other title to here, unless climbing on monsters is an MH standard), though I wish they showed more actual, standard combat.

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nuke2099

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@goodguymalachai: The trailer just showed some of the new mechanics. Not the main core gameplay which has supposidly evolved.

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Powdered_Sugar

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Edited By Powdered_Sugar

@goodguymalachai: The combat looks pretty similar to past games, but also more in depth. There also seems to be a lot more focus on stealth than I'm personally used to (though, despite almost a hundred hours of play time between two games, I am still an utter novice XD) The grappling hook is new, as are the cloaks. I'm also not familiar with environmental hazards like that root ball thing that fell on the monster.

All in all, this game looks to be similar, but more fluid. I'm hoping it's one large world instead of a series of interconnected rooms like past games. Either way though, it looks awesome.

Edit: Just saw that the article said no loading screens, so I'm about ten times more excited than I was a minute ago. Past games have you exploring a series of interconnected rooms that, while all sharing a similar theme, feel very different from one another. It's worked well so far, but the opportunity to move into one large open world is fantastic, and will have a major (hopefully positive) impact on the overall experience.