During the first day of E3 2017, we had the opportunity to sit in on a 30 minute gameplay demonstration for the recently announced Monster Hunter: World. Going in, it's safe to say that World seems to be the biggest departure for the Monster Hunter series in a long time. Beyond the fact that it's the first Monster Hunter title on a Sony platform in years, it's the first mainline Monster Hunter title on an Xbox, as well as the first non-MMO Monster Hunter title to have a planned PC release.
Additionally, the game seems poised to take a much more "open" approach to challenging the series' various monsters, allowing players to track monsters through a more seamless world with less loading in-between regions. Players also get access to both a slingshot and a grappling hook, letting them use the environment to a much greater degree during the heat of the hunt. The slingshot was used to both draw monsters to a specific portion of the map and to knock down items hanging from trees or vines, while the grappling hook seems to be limited to certain points on the map, and may or may not have a cooldown.
"Dynamic" is probably the best word to use when describing the gameplay we watched. A 4-person team of developers embarked on a multiplayer hunt in the same region that was showcased during last night's Sony press conference, and immediately what stood out to me was the much heavier emphasis on tutorials and the little tips that a voice-acted "guild" representative spouted out whenever the player experienced something new during their hunt. It's easy to assume that these tips will be relatively unobtrusive, only played the first time a player finds themselves beholden to a specific situation. Scoutflies are another new mechanic that was shown in last night's trailer, leading the player to clues like monster tracks, as well as leading players directly to a monster once enough clues are examined. While this initially didn't rub off on me very well, setting your flies on a monster's exact trail seems to be optional, and even then with areas featuring much more verticality, it seems like a necessary substitute to the paint balls found in previous games in the series.
Mounting, originally an enhancement stemming from Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, returns with the new ability to jump from one part of a monster's body to another, allowing for greater tactics when dealing the finishing blow that will knock the beast down. Monsters now have a hierarchy and will attack or defend themselves when paired up with other large monsters. The new environment features a higher emphasis on destruction, with more ways for monsters to get pinned down by the environment. Players can strategically hide in an attempt to out-smart a monster, and catch them off-guard with attacks. Additionally, hunters can equip cloaks that allow them to camouflage themselves against the environment.
Naturally, this is a lot to process, especially considering that all of this information was delivered second-hand by watching someone else play. For what it's worth coming from a long-time fan of the series, I feel confident that Monster Hunter: World will deliver as the next title in the franchise after having seen more gameplay in action.
If you want to know more about this and other announcements happening at E3 then be sure to check out our E3 2017 Coverage Hub.