It was during E3 2017 in June that we first laid eyes on Monster Hunter: World, a new addition to the hugely popular Capcom franchise that will grace the PS4, Xbox One and PC for the first time after a long history of releases for handheld consoles like the 3DS and PSP.
Understandably, Monster Hunter fans are getting extremely excited about the game, and we can see why. The power of PS4 and Xbox One means that the game can be taken to a whole new level of awesome.
But we'll still see all of the familiar gameplay elements that we know and love in Monster Hunter: World, including all fourteen weapons from Monster Hunter Generations, four player co-op and even the little BBQ Spit for cooking meat.
Read on to find out more about the gameplay, watch videos of it in action and discover everything there is to know so far about Monster Hunter: World.
For more of the most exciting games coming soon, visit: Best upcoming games 2017.
When is Monster Hunter: World coming out?
When Capcom first took to the stage to announce Monster Hunter World, we didn't let ourselves get too excited because, in the past, Monster Hunter games have generally come out in Japan several months ahead of the UK and US launch.
However, the company has since revealed that it aims to release the game worldwide simultaneously in early 2018 so there really isn't that long to wait.
That's because, for the first time ever, players from Japan (where the game originates and is absolutely enormous in terms of popularity) will be able to play Monster Hunter with players from Western regions on the same servers.
In fact, Capcom has been working on Monster Hunter World behind the scenes for three years.
If you're planning on playing Monster Hunter World on PC, Capcom says that it is coming in 2018, but it will arrive a few months after the PS4 and Xbox One versions will.
Monster Hunter: World gameplay
So what will playing Monster Hunter World be like and how will it differ from previous Monster Hunter games?
We've had a surprisingly in-depth look at the gameplay thanks to a live stream from Capcom that showed 25 minutes of gameplay and a second Monster Hunter: World Ancient Forest Gameplay video. The former was all in Japanese, but you can watch Arekkz Gaming's breakdown translation above. The newer video is available to watch below.
To us, it looks like the Monster Hunter we're familiar with but with additional power that has never been achievable before.
For a start, the monsters themselves are more intelligent and have a powerful AI that means they can fight against each other and eat each other like they would in a real food chain. Players can use this to their advantage, so tactical gameplay will be more important than ever.
The maps look like they're going to be huge, and unlike the current Monster Hunter games there will be no loading screens within them. Instead you'll be able to move freely around each map to gather, hunt and collaborate with other hunters, and these maps will even have a day and night cycle that will change the way some monsters behave.
Plus, some of the environment will be destructible. Break down walls to make new paths, flood monsters out of particular areas or use trees to pin down monsters for a short time.
The downside to these improved maps is that escape is much more difficult if you find yourself in a tricky situation. You won't be able to run into the next area to heal or sharpen your weapon mid fight. The good news is that you won't have to stop and stand still while you eat or drink. Instead, you can heal while you're on the move.
If you've embarked on a quest alone but run into a monster that's more ferocious than you had anticipated, you can even fire up a flare to invite additional hunters to join you no matter where you are in the quest. Alternatively, you can team up with up to four friends or other hunters online in the Guild Hall before you embark.
Also new are stealth elements to the gameplay, again making hunts more tactical than before. You can throw rocks to distract monsters, or hide within tall grass. There are even camouflage items that you can wear to sneak up on them and mount them.
In order to throw rocks, you'll need to use the new Slinger, which can also be used to reach higher places and pull down rock formations.
That's after you've found them, of course, which is also different in Monster Hunter Worlds. You'll be able to track monsters down by examining footprints, mucus and more, after which you'll be helped out by Scout flies which will lead you right to the monster itself.
Attacking the monster will produce damage numbers with every hit, so you can determine which weapons work best and where to hit for maximum damage. We're glad that there is no health bar for the monsters though, because part of the fun is not knowing how close it is to death.
If you decide that the weapon you're using isn't working particularly well on the monster you're hunting, you'll be able to quick travel back to base camp to swap it out, but only when you are not in combat.
Gathering items seems to have changed for the better, too. Instead of the slow process of picking things up, you'll now be able to quickly grab them, even if you're running.
There are some gameplay elements missing from Monster Hunter World, though. Prowler Mode, which was introduced in Monster Hunter Generations and let you run around as your trusty feline companion, doesn't seem to be part of the new game. You will still be able to bring a Palico with you on solo quests, though.
And even Hunting Arts, which also emerged as part of Monster Hunter Generations, seem to have been discontinued.
As mentioned, you'll be able to team up with up to four other players, but there is a single-player mode available both online and offline too. This time, the quest system will be the same in both modes.
Unfortunately, you won't be able to play cross platform with your friends, so if you all use different consoles you're out of luck.