First impressions on Monster Hunter: World's PC performance haven't been stellar, to say the least. Not only are today's best graphics cards struggling to hit 60fps at 1920x1080 on max graphics settings, but - as our own band of RPS hunters have found out over the weekend - it's also subject to crashing. A lot.
Some of these problems will hopefully be fixed with Day One graphics drivers and the like - we're still just under two weeks away from Monster Hunter: World's proper release date of August 9, so we're crossing all fingers and toes that things will improve by then. Other problems, however, might not necessarily have anything to do with your PC's graphics capability, as Capcom have now said the game's pretty demanding on the old CPU front as well.
In a ResetEra thread about early impressions of the game, Capcom USA's vice president of digital platforms and marketing William Yagi-Bacon weighed in on the subject, saying:
"To eliminate interstitial loading during active gameplay, MHW loads the entire level into memory. In addition to managing assets loaded into memory, it keeps track of monster interactions, health status, environment/object changes, manages LOD & object culling, calculates collision detection and physics simulation, and tons of other background telemetry stuff that you don't see yet requires CPU cycle. This is in addition to supporting any GPU rendering tasks.
"While the MT Framework engine has been around for ages, it does a good job in distributing CPU cycles and load-balancing tasks across all available cores and threads. The engine itself is optimized for x86 CPU instruction set, is highly scalable, and loosely speaking, is platform agnostic regardless of PC or console platform so as long as it conforms to the x86 instruction set."
This would go some way towards explaining why Capcom recommends you play with one of Intel's 8th Gen Coffee Lake CPUs - the quad-core Intel Core i3-8350, to be precise - as these are much better at multi-tasking and doing all the other invisible game bits Bacon mentions above than their immediate predecessors. This is thanks to their increased CPU core count - the Core i3 models now come with twice as many cores as their 7th Gen counterparts, while Intel's latest Core i5 and Core i7 CPUs come with six cores instead of the usual four. Even so, I've been playing Monster Hunter: World with one such Coffee Lake CPU - the Core i5-8600K - and I still haven't been hugely impressed by the kind of performance I've been getting.
Another interesting thing to note is that Capcom's AMD CPU recommendation is last year's Ryzen 5 1500X, rather than this year's Ryzen 5 2600 / 2600X. Traditionally, AMD's CPUs have been much better at multi-tasking than Intel's processors due to having even more cores to their name, so AMD peeps may well find themselves better off in this respect compared to their Intel chums. I'll do my best to get some back in for testing to see how they compare.
Again, these performance kinks may well get ironed out by the time the game launches on August 9, but now that we know the game loads each level into your PC's memory, I'll definitely be doing some further tests to see whether faster RAM has any kind of impact as well. Watch this space.