20 minutes of Monster Hunter: World show cooking, fighting and monsters

Monster Hunter World

There are few upcoming games that excite me more than Monster Hunter: World. After an initial bout of skepticism over the move to a more intuitive open-world setting, every successive piece of new gameplay shown and every detail expounded on makes me all the more eager to rejoin Capcom’s ‘Cavepunk’ world after a long hiatus.

Capcom must be feeling confident too, as they’re letting everyone throw footage of the game around. The latest slab is coming courtesy of Japanese site Dengeki Online. This time, 20 minutes of hacking, slashing, cooking and character-creating. There’s a little bit of Japanese text here with no translation (yet), but this is largely footage that speaks for itself.

The first chunk of footage is largely focused on the most exciting parts of Monster Hunter – the big weapons and the even bigger monsters that you’ll be using them on – and almost exclusively focused on long-range combat using bow and gun. Perhaps not the most efficient way to deal damage in the series, but easily the best way to get a good view of a monster and learn its attack patterns from safely outside of its natural attack range, and thus a natural pick for a gameplay video.

I ended up skipping the 3DS entries in the series, but bow combat in this latest Monster Hunter iteration is looking a lot more interesting than I remember, and more than a little reminiscent of Dragon’s Dogma. No longer is a bow just an arrow delivery method, but a multifunctional launcher capable of multi-arrow charged spread attacks and launching air-detonated bombardment shells. Not traditional bow-and-arrow behavior, granted, but fitting for a world packed to the gills with nigh-invulnerable terror-beasts.

One particularly exciting featured creature in this video is the Tobi-Kadachi, a large but agile blue-white quadruped lizard with some mammalian quirks to its design, including flying squirrel-esque webbing to allow for gliding attacks, as well as a large fanned tail that it can use for broad slapping attacks. It’s also capable of channeling electricity through its body, making it likely capable of doling out the ever-frustrating paralysis status ailment. I especially love its animations for climbing up and leaping off tall trees and cliff walls – very convincingly animalistic.

The second chunk of Dengeki’s footage is far more closely focused on the nitty-gritty of Monster Hunting life, including a peek at the character creation system (both for yourself and your feline Palico companion) and a whirlwind tour of some of the non-combat things you’ll be doing, including getting your weapons tricked out at the blacksmith’s forge.

Most adorable by far is a trip to the kitchens of the famous Meowscular Chef (no, seriously, that’s the official translation), who looks like a cat better suited to punching dinosaurs in the face, but has dedicated his life to the culinary arts. The cooking animations are nothing short of phenomenal, and the food looks delicious too. Cooking and eating has always been part of Monster Hunter, but never has it left me hungry and drawing up dinner plans just from looking at pre-release footage.

Outside of town, the video shows some of the practicalities of living in the world of Monster Hunter, including the new world map and navigation, and a little bit of field cooking. There’s also a peek at using your handy swarm of scout-flies to point you towards specific ingredients to brew up healing potions, making gathering a much more free-flowing experience; just keep running on through the world while the game calls out important items for you.

One interesting choice shown is the decision to keep the map of each zone split up into distinct, numbered segments. In earlier games, this was because the entire world was broken up into rooms with loading transitions between them, but in the more open environment of Monster Hunter: World, they’re a good navigational aid.

Being able to call out ‘It’s headed to area 12’ to a party will undoubtedly speed up the process of learning the maps. Last thing shown here is a bit of footage of the players fighting a Barroth, a creature returning from earlier games. It’s the sturdy-looking shovel-headed beastie covered in mud which doubles as armor plating when dried.

This footage sets my last fears over Monster Hunter: World to rest. This is the Monster Hunter I’ve known and loved (in spite of its many flaws) since the PS2 era, now with almost all of those thorny design issues removed. One thing that seems especially improved to me is the verticality of the game. It’s not so much that there are platforms and ledges, but natural variances in height, and very few truly flat pieces of ground. The fact that the monsters navigate so gracefully across this terrain is a testament to Capcom’s animators.

Monster Hunter: World is set for release on consoles next January, with a PC release to follow soon after.

27 Comments

  1. TΛPETRVE says:

    Can’t wait. And yup, the bloody cooking and munching animations left me drooling.

  2. mukuste says:

    Dragon’s Dogma had fantastic bows, true, very satisfying to use, and that was a Capcom game too, so obviously something bled over there. Even the sound is very familiar.

    The only qualm I have with this game so far is that many of the “monsters” look kind of adorable and I’d feel a bit bad about mercilessly slaughtering them.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      There’s something hard to pin down in words, but there’s a lot of the feel of Dragon’s Dogma Online’s engine in the MH World footage I’ve seen thusfar.

      Not complaining.

    • Jakkar says:

      It’s a constant issue for me in games at this point. Even Dragon’s Dogma and Witcher 3 presented some discomfort depending upon the job.

      It doesn’t even matter if they’re cute, I just don’t like killing wild animals, ‘monster’ or not, unless there’s a decent reason to do so. The Witcher is basically *about* this conflict, which I appreciate – to be a mercenary, a killer-for-coin, with a silver sword for monsters.

      Except, of course, that sometimes, the steel sword is for monsters too.

      And sometimes, even often, Geralt.. Does not want to kill the ‘monster’.

      MHW, at this point – and to someone with no history with the series – looks like Derpy Dark Souls meets World of Warcraft.

      Wander the world slaughtering everything because ??? it’s something to do! Because the IKEA catalogue is calling to me at night? Because it makes me feel significant if I kill things larger than me?

      I’m not getting it, from this distance. It all looks a bit creepy.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        The reason for you hunting the GIANT ELEMENTAL-SPEWING PREDATORS THE SIZE OF HOUSES is that you’re the front line of defense for an anime bronze-age society. There’s some machinery available, but for the most part you’re fighting laser-spitting ultra-dinosaurs with swords and bows.

        This is a world where the minor fauna includes turbo-charged velociraptors, and the really big stuff could pass for some kind of elder god. And you’re still a hairless monkey carrying a sharpened piece of bone.

        It’s also not like you’re wasting any part of them. You eat their meat, you wear their hides and carve their bones into more weapons.

        You don’t always have to kill them, anyway. You often get better rewards capturing them alive.

        • Hanban says:

          Although, capturing mosnsters alive does somehow end up netting you rare inside parts.. Hmm….

        • Seafoam says:

          The games feel like they tap into some kind of genetic memory, like those apes at the start o 2001 Space Odyssey, learning to pick up a bone and beat stuff with it.
          Its hard to see any of it as morally wrong, just the normal cycle of nature. Bald apes and lazer dinosaurs duking it out, just as it should be.

          • poliovaccine says:

            Exactly… sweating the ethics of hunting animals/monsters is a luxury of our distance from anything even resembling that. But in spite of ourselves and our guilt about it, our diet consists entirely of living souls (yes I’m counting plants), we have to consume things which were once alive (and which still contain lingering life, as the rotted dead are not nutritious) in order to remain alive ourselves. That’s the mechanic. There would be no consideration of the ethics when you’re either starving or “your people” are being killed. Survival is the foundation upon which higher concerns like ethics are built. But ethics are relative to how threatened your own life is or where your food comes from – Mark Twain called that having “corn pone opinions.”

            Anyway, the game looks cool as tits and I am totally feeling the appeal to the primal core with the whole hunting thing. But yeah, it’s interesting how ethics can be so relative to practical reality. They are not absolutes, even though on some level they feel like they are, and that’s just cool as hell to me. Good point, I’m trying to say.

        • PancakeWizard says:

          Iron Age, at least surely? Middle Ages, arguably?

          • Dominic Tarason says:

            It’s a weirdly flexible tech level. It’s meant to look like primitive caveman tech (and a lot of it is just pelts and scales and sharpened bones), although there’s machine-guns and airships too.

        • RIDEBIRD says:

          Sounds good, but it’s still not great seeing the monsters just get pummeled. Are they evil? Do they eat kids or something? It seems like a IT’S COMING RIGHT FOR US scenario here. The previous games were so incredibly ugly it never struck me as feeling off. With ultra realistic dinos it feels weird however.

          I am sure I will not care at all once I get into it, just hope there’s minimal amounts of God of War esque torture porn.

          • falcon2001 says:

            There’s essentially zero ‘torture porn’ stuff and much more just like what you’d imagine some sort of Dinosaur fighting game to work. Enemies work like big Zelda monsters or something.

      • MattM says:

        There is a very good chance that you live in a place where all the local predators were deliberately wiped out to ensure safety for livestock and children.
        In my neck of the woods, they allow a few bears but 300-500 years ago there were way more bears and wolves. I feel a bit bad about it and its one of the reasons that I support some sort of soft population control so that their can be some areas left for non-human life.

        • Fnord73 says:

          In Norway, we have an official public debate about wether its ok to depict a wolf on the national milk cartons. Some people are so afraid of the wolf that they feel threatened just seeing one pictured. Its very weird.

          For them, this game will be a release.

    • Colwolf77 says:

      I actually agree. With lots of fantastic real life animals being hunted to extinction watching this video made me feel a little sad. As entertaining as I’m sure this game is I hope we don’t end up encouraging this behaviour within our youth.

      • The K says:

        Dont you worry, by the time our youth is old enough to hunt the old style, our rampant consumerism and the needed industry will have purged the last big animals from the earth anyway. That train has left the station long, long ago.

      • poliovaccine says:

        As an animal lover I do appreciate the sentiment, and I certainly agree, but I don’t see it as likely. I look at myself, at how I was as a kid, and what my peers were like, and I don’t think videogames ever shaped us in that particular way. Moreover, I think that’s representative of the norm. I don’t see much danger in a monster hunter game conflating itself with genuine cruelty or apathy towards animals in kids’ minds, in other words. Games definitely do affect us, but I don’t believe they really do in *that* sort of way. Hone our reflexes, whittle our hand-eye coordination, multitasking abilities and problem-solving skills to very fine and highly-specialized points, sure, but I don’t necessarily think that any *ideology* leaks through. I mean, I’m one of the most exasperated and disgusted people I know when it comes to real world violence, but sweet piss I do love some simulated brutality, like I can comfortably revel in gore and all. I think kids who can’t parse that stuff have a more fundamental problem than just the games, anyway.

        I think it’s important, too, to remember what it was like when you were a kid yourself, and give kids these days that same amount of credit, because that sort of concern sounds pretty reasonable… until you remember what your own childhood was like, and how unlikely that would have been for you. I mean, we all remember Jack Thompson, right? If the case could be made that kids learn bad morals and behaviors from the games they play, that guy damn well would have made it.
        God knows he tried haha. Grand Theft Auto is still one of the most popular titles/game series of all time, but we simply don’t have a generation of leadbooted, sideburned larcenists as a result. Gamers definitely get twitchy trigger/L1/R1 fingers, but they remain easily the squarest, most law-abiding and civic-minded demographic to which I belong, haha. If anything, there’s something to be said for getting these dark, all-too-human ya-yas out in a purely simulated environment, versus them spilling into the rest of your life in any respect. Of course when you indulge an urge there’s always a line between healthy catharsis and kindling compulsivity, but in a broadly observable, if anecdotal sense, I don’t see anyone getting their morals confused by taking games for being representative of real life. Of course, hey, maybe that will become a new problem as games become more realistic and immersive, my internal devil’s advocate says..! We’ll just have to burn that bridge when we come to it. In general, though, videogames are already so antisocial and ultraviolent that, again, if any of that were going to rub off on us, I kinda think it would have already.

        Come to think of it, I think my friends and I actually injured each other a whole lot more by playing tackle football in the backyard without helmets or pads than by any other shit we imitated off a screen. And I grew up through the Jackass years, so that’s saying something…

        Basically, I don’t think the animal lover in you needs to feel especially guilty about Monster Hunter. I mean, if just seeing these killings represented makes you squeamish out of principle, I do get that (I take no end of shit at my job because I prefer to pick up bugs and bring em outside than to squash em), but I don’t have any serious concern that kids will take away from this game the idea that animals are purely for hunting, or anything like that. Enjoy murdering these majestic beasts guilt-free, I’d say.

      • RichUncleSkeleton says:

        I too am worried that this game could encourage an epidemic of poaching endangered animals the way GTA made throwing grenades at cars a fad for a brief but horrible period of time in the early 2000’s.

        • Chromatism says:

          I appreciate the way you skirted around the tender issue of hijacking tanks and then rapid firing the main gun in a brazen display of reckless destruction simply to propel yourself through the air in an approximation of flight. Those were dark times indeed…

  3. Freud says:

    I’m looking forward to this. I like these style of games and I have a high tolerance for grinding if I enjoy the basic game. I probably have 150 hours in both Dragon’s Dogma and Xenoblade Chronicles X to prove it.

  4. Seafoam says:

    I love the Monster Hunter games, but combat to me is always only a side thing. Its all about seeing the world and the towns, chilling with your felynes and picking the coolest looking armor.
    I hope they emphasized those on this, but knowing its an online game leaves a bit worried.

    • poliovaccine says:

      This comment increased my interest in this game by like 30%!

    • falcon2001 says:

      It doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily an ‘online game’ more than any of the others were, just better integrated with the online portions than before. Unless I missed something.

      • Dominic Tarason says:

        Yeah, from what I’ve seen they’ve just removed the ‘offline training area, online lobby’ divide and just made it a single shared town. There’s still solo quests available, but finding a party should be a lot easier.

  5. zindabad says:

    I’m sad that this is going to kill Dauntless, whose aesthetic I much prefer.

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