Hunters, listen up! Game Director Ryozo Tsujimoto and Producer Yuya Tokuda, aka the team behind the open-world action game Monster Hunter: World, flew in from Japan and gave us the exclusive scoop on their upcoming title and even conducted a live demo for us. After years of handheld gaming, the Monster Hunter franchise has finally come full circle as it returns to the console (the series debuted on the PlayStation 2).
The live playthrough demo explores the sprawling environment of the Rotten Vale and Wildspire Waste maps as well as new creatures that roam the lands.
A grim graveyard littered with carcass and skeletal remains. The cave is covered in a strange fungus and there are several pools of acid in a sickly green shade. Rotten Vale looks like the equivalent of accidentally leaving perishables out for months. The most badass looking monster in the area is the Radobaan, which looks similar to the Uragaan save for its spiky exterior. The Wyvern can stop, drop, and roll into a spiked wheel to run over its enemies. Also, it wouldn’t look out of place as a heavy metal band logo—very brutal.
You can distract the Radobaan by luring the Odogaron (which attacks other monsters) to battle in your place. Let them fight!
A parched rocky wasteland with small patches of fields and towering cliffs. Wildspire Waste looks like a dino-Western rodeo hybrid. The boss battle in this area is the Nergigante, one of the Elder Dragons. The monster fights like a charging bull so you can bait it to slam into walls. Then, focus your attacks on the white part of its horns for greater damage.
These two place are just one of the many crazy detailed environments you can explore in the game. Just walking through each area almost feels like a VR experience where you can interact with the living, breathing ecosystem. There were barely any loading times in between as the scenes seamlessly transition from one place to another. And because we were hyped to learn more about what’s in store next year, we asked the creative minds behind the game, Yuya Tokuda and Ryozo Tsujimoto, for more info.
Ryozo Tsujimoto (left) and Yuya Tokuda
Monster Hunter: World was the first game in the franchise to be unveiled outside of Japan during E3. What made you decide to do this?
Ryozo Tsujimoto: The previous games were released in Japanese first and took a few months before it was made available in English. This time, we are aiming for a global launch so that more players can simultaneously enjoy the game.
How have you dealt with setbacks encountered during the development stage?
Yuya Tokuda: [When we face a challenge,] fortunately a lot of our members are quick to solve problems. [We improve on our mistakes] by gathering comments from the team and fans then repeating the process until it’s the best version.
You mentioned gathering feedback from the MonHun community. Which gameplay element in World could be attributed to fan input?
RT: When attacking the monster, a counter shows up tracking the amount of damage you’ve inflicted upon your opponent. You couldn’t see that in the previous games.
How will the game entertain both old and noob gamers alike?
RT: We want [to ease] new players into the world so they can enjoy the game. As for the old fans, we’ve made sure to keep what works and upgrading what doesn’t so that there’s both a sense of excitement and familiarity. We take the opinions and suggestions of both new and old gamers to heart.
Now that English voiceovers were added to the game, will this replace the MonHun language?
RT: The Monster Hunter language will still be available and there will be English subtitles for the language.
YT: Not all lines will be voiced. Just vital aspects such as the tutorial and directions.
How will the special drop-in/drop-out multiplayer mechanic (where you can play with up to three other people) affect quests?
YT: The quests are no longer divided between solo and co-op. Missions are available for both single and multiplayer campaigns. When you’re not confident in facing a monster alone, you can use the SOS feature to send for help. Then, other players can help in accomplishing your task.
What was the reason behind making the big leap from handheld to console?
RT: We used advanced technology to make the game more realistic and alive. We brought it to the big screen so that players can feel more immersed in the world of MonHun. [With the upgraded graphics,] players can jump into the world and feel like they’re actually exploring the environment themselves.
Will we be expecting DLC anytime soon?
RT: We’ll be releasing a couple of free updates for new areas and monsters. As for paid content, we’ll make sure that it won’t affect the power balance in the game. Most likely, the DLC will be for customization purposes such as hairstyle and costumes.
Out of all the areas in Monster Hunter: World, which one is your favorite place to explore?
YT: Coral Highlands
RT: Me too! [Since it’s designed after the ocean floor,] there’s a sense of uniqueness in that map. You can really feel nature as the plants move back and forth.
If you were transported into Monster Hunter: World, which weapon would you use to defend yourself?
RT: I would wield a hammer and use a Spinning Attack.
YT: The Great Sword! I would unleash a charged Vertical Slash Attack.
If you were transformed into one of the monsters from the New World, which type would you be?
RT: Rathalos so that I can fly!
YT: I’d want to be Lagiacrus and swim in the sea.
The Monster Hunter has been around for thirteen years and counting! What do you think made it last this long?
RT: We [the team] take the franchise’s concept to heart and are passionate in everything we do. The MonHun fandom also plays a role in its longevity. We even heard reports about the large Monster Hunter group in the Philippines. The video game series influences us to create a community.
Budding hunters can say goodbye to their collective social life early next year. Monster Hunter: World will have a worldwide release on January 26, 2018 on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. You can pre-order your own copy for a downpayment of P500 at all DataBlitz branches nationwide. You also get a free Monster Hunter: World shirt with every pre-order purchase.