Feature Article

Why Monster Hunter: World Leaves Behind Handhelds For Home Consoles And PC

"World" is not just a title but the entire concept for the new installment.

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After making its home on 3DS for the past five years, Capcom is bringing the Monster Hunter series back to home consoles with Monster Hunter: World, which is coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in early 2018 (with a PC release following soon afterward). Unveiled during Sony's E3 2017 press conference, World looks like something of a departure for the series, introducing new elements like camouflage and a grappling hook-like weapon that add a whole new layer of strategy to the way players approach a hunt.

In addition to the live demo we got to witness at E3, GameSpot got a chance to speak with Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and executive director Kaname Fujioka via an interpreter about the new title. We asked the developers about their decision to bring Monster Hunter back to home consoles, as well as what new elements players can expect to find in the upcoming installment.

GameSpot: What made you decide to bring this particular installment to home consoles after the most recent ones have been on handhelds?

Ryozo Tsujimoto: The series has been going for about 13 years now, so it's quite long in the tooth, but we felt it was a good time to start reevaluating the series and what we want to do with the next title. It was a good opportunity at this particular time because the current generation of technology is so powerful that it will allow us to express a much more dynamic, living world than we've ever been able to before. So when we had that concept in place, it seemed to make sense at this time to take advantage of home console hardware and bring Monster Hunter back to consoles. It's going to let us have a lot more dynamism and monster behavior, more realistic AI, and complex interactions between monsters. Everything, the timing, just seemed to be right for us.

As far as how the game is structured, are all the individual areas of the map still segmented as they were in the older titles? Or has moving to home consoles allowed you make a more seamless world this time around?

Tsujimoto: We still have the idea that there are numbered zones, different locales in the map, but they are seamless. There's no loading screen between individual areas. It's created as each map is one whole area. That's something that has led us to flowing on from that change, making certain key quality-of-life improvements that make more sense within the concept. For example, in the past, whenever you used potions or similar items, your character stopped and did animations and it was kind of the strategy of what do you prioritize. You have to run out of the area and make a loading screen happen, and now that you're in a clear area you have a chance to take your potion. Now that there's no loading screen, it made sense to make it possible to drink potions while you're walking and other things like that. It's an exciting change to the way the maps work. It's really brought in a domino effect on other parts of the gameplay. But it's still at its core a Monster Hunter experience.

I think both of those styles are Monster Hunter gameplay. It's just that you have to make sure that the entirety of the gameplay system works within the context of what you've done with the maps. That's how we approached it.

Has moving to more powerful consoles allowed you to include more elements that you weren't able to achieve before on weaker hardware?

Kaname Fujioka: The power of the current generation of hardware has really let us make these seamless environments come to life, whether it's just literally the graphical detail, more detailed structures with everything like plants and smaller animals and creatures, up to the big monsters. But when it comes to the fact that we've got more complex 3D geography in the maps, with lots of verticality, that means the more complex the environment gets, the more you have to work on the computation of the monster behavior to make it move around those environments realistically because it's not just moving on a flat plane. It's got to climb complex inclines, jump down cliffs, and things like that. To add all those things together into one living, breathing ecosystem, it really does take the power of the current generation.

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How long has Monster Hunter: World been in development?

Fujioka: I think over three years, at the moment. We also had period of about a year when we were first kicking off the project prototyping the concept of what we wanted to do.

Does Monster Hunter: World build off the elements that were introduced in Monster Hunter Generations, like the Hunting Styles and Hunter Arts? Are they going to appear in this game, as well?

Tsujimoto: The Hunter Arts and Hunting Styles from Generations are not featured. Those were part of the concept of that title. That was kind of a celebration of Monster Hunter history to that point. One of the focuses of that title was flashy, unique action style, which was going to make everyone pick which one of the four styles they wanted to use. That was that concept. Every title we make, we have a key concept, and from that flows forth the gameplay decisions. That doesn't necessary mean that once you made a decision for one game it makes sense to just bring wholesale all those elements back into the next one. So, as I said earlier, World, the name itself, is the concept for our new title. It's a comprehensive, detailed, vivid, living, breathing world that you're just going to dive right into as a hunter. That's where all of our gameplay decisions flowed from.

Fujioka: We want you to think about this world and also use it. It's something you can use strategically as part of your hunting strategy. You've got this new sub-weapon or sub-tool called the Slinger. It's something you can use not just to hook shot off of parts of the environment, but you can pick up rocks and things and use it to fire them out or even create distractions. You'll also be able to use it to cause environmental effects which damage the monster. Thinking about the world that way, as an aspect of your actual hunting action, is a concept we wanted to go for this time. That's something that's just separate from what we did on Generations.

There was one weapon in the game's debut trailer that looked kind of like a machine gun. Are there going to be new types of weapons that change your fighting styles in this game?

Fujioka: It's the same 14 weapon classes that are in the existing series. It's separated into blades and guns, as usual. What you saw in the trailer was actually a special kind of ammo mode for the heavy bowgun. It's not a separate machine gun weapon. When you load up a certain kind of special ammo, you've got a certain amount of time in which you can create this machine gun damage effect. But we haven't added a machine gun. It's within the same construct within the existing weapon classes.

Every weapon has been reevaluated, re-looked at, with new moves, new combos. So even if you're a veteran hunter and you know your favorite weapon really well, you're going to have a lot of fun diving in and finding out what's new and what's changed.

As far as online play goes, is that going to be restricted by region, or will it be opened up to let you hunt with players from other regions as well?

Tsujimoto: It's first-ever worldwide global servers, part of the "world" concept. You can team up with anyone from around the world to go hunting with. Of course, if you choose to filter it by, say, language, you can limit your search as well. But, yeah, you can for the first time ever combine Europe, American, and Japanese servers into one.

That sounds more ambitious than previous titles. Has it been more difficult on the server side to ensure that players can team up with other hunters from all around the world?

Tsujimoto: We were totally ready to take on that approach from the start, because in the past Monster Hunter has usually released first in Japan. You've got a period of time [before] Western releases. I think the shortest was six months for Generations, but often up to close to a year before the Western version comes out. We knew right away from the start for this game we wanted to have a simultaneous global launch window for the title. We're planning to do that for World in early 2018. When you do that, it just makes so much sense. The title is releasing everywhere at the same time, then you want to make all the players be able to play with each other. So we have taken appropriate steps since the beginning of the project to be ready to bring global servers for online quests.

Will Monster Hunter: World also feature PS4 Pro or Xbox One X support?

Tsujimoto: Yeah, we're planning to support both Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. It's great to see the specs are finally coming out for Xbox One X. So, yeah, we're gearing up to bring you guys support for those platforms.

In Monster Hunter Generations and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, there were a lot of really fun collaboration items and gear. Can we expect those in Monster Hunter: World as well?

Tsujimoto: Yeah, we were looking at bring some fun collaborations to you. It's the kind of situation where, because we just announced the title a couple days ago, we can't even go talk to the guys we want to collaborate with until the veil of secrecy is lifted at E3. [Laughs] So we're going to try to bring something fun for you guys.

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

kevknez

Kevin Knezevic

Associate news editor, Star Fox Adventures apologist.
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lunarsword

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Too bad my toaster pbly wont run it...since I don't plan on getting PS+ to play online. Damn, I miss the PS3 days.

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gunnerfc

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Going to be a sick game

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gavachotrece

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Edited By gavachotrece

Very glad MH is coming back to consoles & PC in a big way. So great that Capcom is finally doing this. The series has needed graphics & gameplay overhaul for a few years now, I'm really excited to see that happening!

Hoping the Switch gets it's own MH title as well, maybe XX for the west? Or maybe MH World Portable? It would be absolutely silly to not at least release XX for the west as a bare minimum considering they already released it in Japan and it sold well.

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RO-nIn187

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cool i was always interested in the series but never been much of a handheld player...

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SlimeKnight

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Edited By SlimeKnight

I have a PS4 but probably won't be getting this unless it comes to the Switch. I have grown so accustomed to playing and preferring MH games on the go that I don't know if I could go back to only being able to play them at home. Even with the downgraded graphics and power the 3DS MH games have been my favorites of the series.

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Dendz

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@slimeknight: This. I need someone who gone through the agony as i do when capcom announce new MH World on console and i just got Switch. I am excited and thrilled that MH got breakthrough on newest technology in console and PC, it will be big and splendid launch when it come in 2018 globally but ... for us who grew up on MH in portable ( played MH3U,MH4U and MHGen ) and always play it on the go, this development is kinda sad, we hope it will be on switch and was devastated. I ask myself too, can i adapt and play this only at home ? My PS4 is collecting dust since i played MH4U on 3ds ... so i dont know.

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Ohaidere

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I still would like to see a switch game. This is one of the few games I actually use on the go or when my brother and I get together, so it would have been perfect for switch.

I have a PS4 though, so assuming this game does MH justice I'll probably still get it. I'd rather see the US localization of generations,but I'll follow this game's development.

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jessie82

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because its always on fucking handheld..

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Dualmask

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I'm glad MHWorld is coming. If Monster Hunter needed to get to current gen consoles to evolve, that's great. I loved playing it on the 3DS/PSP, but it was getting long in the tooth and the graphics and gameplay needed an overhaul. I loved it on handhelds and I'm hoping (probably in vain) for a Switch port later down the line (perhaps when the online is stable enough) since the console can handle it and handheld suits me better.

I wish they would have somehow improved/evolved the hunter arts concept rather than ditching it completely though. I'm curious as to whether the game will have the depth of armor that previous games in the series had. Usually when a game gets a big graphical overhaul, something is lost in the process...

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Ohaidere

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@pasullica: You have to play the game to understand it. Words just don't do it justice.

In fact, trying to describe MH always makes it sound dumb, when in fact it's probably one of the best series ever made.

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RSM-HQ

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@pasullica: "catching"

Lol, ok. I mean you can trap them if you have the correct resources.

But you know apart of the appeal is decapitating the Monsters and watching them try and limp away_

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vampbl

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@RSM-HQ: don't bother XD... He doesn't even know what the game is about.

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RSM-HQ

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@vampbl: True, but Hunters don't stop till the Monster is dealt with :)

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vampbl

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Edited By vampbl

@RSM-HQ: LOL!

and yeah you are right. hahaha

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janejp

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I'm glad a true MH game'll come to PS4.

Can't wait to play it.

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Dizzy1976

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I might actually give Monster Hunter a try now.....Was never a handheld type of player. Hated small screens lol

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Itzsfo0

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@Dizzy1976: yea ive always been the complete opposite but nice to see mh on multiple devices

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RunningMansKid

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Thanks to Dark Souls for letting games like this prosper finally. My God I've wanted a monster hunter on console so badly!!!

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Stelios

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Edited By Stelios

@RunningMansKid: What does DS have to do with MH. They're both niche but they are completely different otherwise.

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Ohaidere

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Edited By Ohaidere

@stelios: like a couple others have pointed out, DS is obviously inspired by MH in the combat department.

Souls series made tough games popular again, thus allowed a game like this to finally be made on a main console.

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RunningMansKid

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@stelios: Devs are taking chances on games other than CoD clones on consoles now. DS was fun to me because of how much I liked MH and wanted a game like it. It's honestly a lot like it and you not seeing the parallels means you've probably not played one of the two...

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vampbl

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@stelios: what RSM-HQ said. IF you liked DS combat, then you will notice (hopefully if they don't touch it as they said they won't) a similar experience, although I still think MH control/camera is harder than DS. I hated the camera control in MH for PS2 until I was able to master it.

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RSM-HQ

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@stelios: Other than the fact Dark Souls combat is heavily borrowed from the Monster Hunter series.

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RunningMansKid

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@RSM-HQ: ikr lol DS came from MH and now MH is coming back!

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RSM-HQ

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@RunningMansKid: MH never left :) I love 4G with a passion.

However I'm also not a Nintendo tryhard dismissing how good World is.

Though I must say that new mount system is pulled straight from Shadow of the Colossus/ Dragon's Dogma lol.

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BarcaAzul

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Good to see this on multiple platforms, but I think it would sell well on the switch off they were able to do a switch version.

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vampbl

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@barcaazul: Yeah, but I'm not sure if the switch can handle it while undocked. I think it should but I'm not sure.

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BarcaAzul

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@vampbl: Yeah maybe not. But could you have a scaled down 720p version? How important are the graphics here?

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RedTailX99

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I'm so hyped! Getting this baby on PC for sure!

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NoobertoSolano

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@redtailx99: PC master race are always hyped for any cross platform scraps they could get, like hungry vultures :D

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GarySan

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@noobertosolano: lmfao ?

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