On the third day of San Diego Comic-Con, July 22, Room 25ABC was abuzz with Monster Hunter news. The room was filled to capacity for the Monster Hunter panel held there. As you might guess from the panel’s timing, the focus was on Capcom’s newly announced game, Monster Hunter: World. Two of the people responsible for the game were present, Producer Ryozo Tsuijimoto as well as the Executive Director and Art Director Kaname Fujioka. Director Yuya Tokuda was still in Japan, hard at work.
Monster Hunter: World has several new features that the panel detailed. But first, we were given a brief overview. The game will have 14 weapon classes, a life-like ecosystem, and expansive, ever-changing terrain. There will be both a single player campaign as well as four-player co-op play. But wait! There are some first for the series related this. The co-op will be cross-regional, meaning you can play with people from around the world. Online drop-in multiplayer is also coming to Monster Hunter: World. So if you are in over your head in a mission, you can get a friend’s help without having to start over.
Let’s talk about the game’s world for a bit. The concept for realistic, living ecosystem was actually conceived 10 years ago. One of the game’s fields, called the Ancient Forest, was used as an example to show how these ecosystems work.
Humidity dictates what plants grow in each section, which in turn draw different herbivores and then their predators. As the hunter goes deeper into the Ancient Forest, more powerful monsters can be found, such as the Great Jagras or the Anjanath (more on these bad boys in a moment). Since Japan doesn’t have much diversity in terms of humidity, the team traveled to Australia and learned more about high humidity plants.
Each monster has its own method of marking its territory, from scratching the barks of trees to spraying some sort of mucus on nearby fauna. One important strategy for hunters to utilize will be to pit monsters against each other, even if it means luring them away from their territory.
Okay, now we get to show off some of the new monsters that hunters will be taking on. First is the Great Jagras. It’s initial design was a bit different from the final product. The first thought was to simply enlarge a normal Jagras, another monster found in the game. This idea was later thrown out.
Next up was the Anjanath. The concept of this monster focused around its powerful (and humongous) jaws. One design added hair, based on the recent study that suggested dinosaurs might have had fur or feathers.
Familiar faces are also getting upgrades. For the Rathalos, quality improvements were incorporated into the appearance of the scales and skin. Its wingspan and skeletal structure were also adjusted to make its movements appear more lifelike.
To study reptilian movement, the development team had a special field trip to a Japanese alligator garden. The research helped them understand more about the creatures’ body weight as well. They took photos from the excursion and scanned them into the games 3D engine. This was part, while beneficial for work, was also for fun.
Monster Hunter: World will feature many graphic upgrades. Players will notice improvements in the fur shading found in Felynes as well as monsters, like the Anjanath, as well as muscle shading seen during movement. Another biggie is translucency, like in the Rathalos’ wings, to help add to the realism.
Returning weapons will have more functionality. Videos for each of the 14 weapon classes will be available in the coming days.
In co-op mode, hunters can send up a signal flare to call for help. Hunters will also be able to utilize their environment like never before. See that rock? Go ahead and climb it, just like you have always dreamed! It is a brave, new world, my friends.
Monster Hunter: World is scheduled to release globally early 2018 for Playstation 4 and Xbox One.