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 is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. It's the first time it's available on consoles, following a long history of releases for handheld consoles like the 3DS and PSP. But what about PC?
Capcom has confirmed that a PC variant of Monster Hunter: World is in the works, but it's not ready just yet.
Read on to find out more about the PC release date, watch videos of hunters in action and discover everything there is to know about Monster Hunter: World. We've taken a more in-depth look at the game in our Monster Hunter: World review if you want to check that out, and outlined our top Monster Hunter: World tips and tricks for new hunters.
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 since revealed that it'll be releasing the game worldwide on the same day. The exact date, as confirmed at the Tokyo Game Show, was 26 January 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One.
For those waiting to play Monster Hunter: World on PC, the wait is almost over. While it was originally planned to be released in Autumn 2018, Capcom announced in July that Monster Hunter: World for PC will be released on 9 August 2018, months ahead of schedule.
You'll be able to pick the game up via Steam, and you can check out the Steam listing right now.
Where can I buy Monster Hunter: World?
You can pick up Monster Hunter World right now from Amazon or GAME for the best price possible, but chances are you'll be waiting a day or two for it to be delivered - and no die-hard MH fan wants to wait that long post-release.
Monster Hunter: World gameplay
So what is playing Monster Hunter World like and how is it different from previous Monster Hunter games?
The first is gameplay trailer is shown above, and is a brilliant 23 minutes long, while the second is a Monster Hunter: World Ancient Forest Gameplay video that you can watch below.
Then, during Gamescom 2017, Capcom and IGN teamed up for a further 23-minute gameplay demonstration.
We were treated to yet another video at the Tokyo Game Show:
And again at Paris Games Week 2017:
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 as 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 are 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, 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.
However, Monster Hunter Worlds producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has said in an interview with GameInformer, that the developers have worked hard to break the barrier between single player and multiplayer. While in previous games, online quests were too difficult for most solo players to tackle, Monster Hunter World will scale the difficulty depending on how many players are involved.
"In single, you can do everything by yourself," Tsujimoto said. "You can also call on other people during single-player if you want to change things up or have gotten in trouble with an SOS flare to have friends or anyone playing on the server help you."
"If you want to play as a lone hunter, you can totally do that and enjoy the story yourself. We want to make sure players have the option to play the game the way they want to."
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.
In that same interview, Tsujimoto reassured hardcore Monster Hunter fans that, despite making the game more accessible to newcomers, it is still going to be just as fun for those at a higher skill level that have played previous versions of the game.
"This is the game you know and love," he said. "It's just that it's no longer quite so difficult to get to the point in the game where you're having fun. There's plenty of opportunity for people to enjoy the game no matter their skill level."
Tsujimoto has also made a point of highlighting that Monster Hunter World has no loot boxes or microtransactions, which have become the norm among many huge console titles of late, including FIFA 17 and Battlefront II, and caused some controversy.
In an interview with Trusted Reviews, he said "This is a co-op game and you're going out in up to four-people parties. The idea is that there's harmony in the four players going out and you're going to get on well together. If you feel someone hasn't earned what they've got, or they've got a better weapon just because they paid for it and you worked for yours, that creates friction."
For a closer look at all of the weapons available in Monster Hunter World, as well as a few additional gameplay videos, follow the Monster Hunter YouTube channel. We'll update you with all of the newest Monster Hunter news right here in the run-up to its launch, too.
Monster Hunter World DLC
Tsujimoto has confirmed in an interview with Polygon that the game will get free DLC. "We will continue to release free quests as we always have," he said at Gamescom. He also suggested that the nature of consoles means that there could be some quests that are only available for a limited time, which would have previously been unfair to portable players who were not always connected to the internet.
"We have made sure we are putting the volume of gameplay people expect from a Monster Hunter," he clarified, suggesting that there'll be plenty to keep us entertained even without the DLC.