With a beautiful world already deep its own own adventures and lore, Capcom are back at it again with Monster Hunter World: Iceborne. Posing as DLC, but having the size and content of a standalone game, Iceborne promises to be a massive expansion on an already deep game. With a new snow world comes new bosses and new tactics. We had a chance to sit down with Brand Marketing Manager Brett Elston to find out exactly what type of game Iceborne will feature and if anything from World will return intact.
"The new map, overtime as it expands in the game and varies, it will become the largest map in the game. So even what’s in the game already, like Ancient Forest in Monster Hunter World it will be more expensive than that."
In terms of level design, how much will Iceborne retain from the base game?
A lot of the deep elements and mechanics the [original] World introduced are still in it. So detailed dense level design where there’s elevation, typography, things like scoutflies— all of that is still there. The new map, overtime as it expands in the game and varies, it will become the largest map in the game. So even what’s in the game already, like Ancient Forest in Monster Hunter World it will be more expensive than that.
How many gameplay hours of Iceborne add to the Monster Hunter World experience?
We haven’t really discussed hours. Because it’s going to vary between each player. There’s a critical path that’s going to add so many hours. Then there’s also, as most people know with Monster Hunter, some people may have beat the game, got everything they wanted in 50 hours, and some people are 500, 600 hours, grinding everything down. What we’re focusing in on this point is that the amount of content in it rivals what in World. It’s essentially almost a whole other game’s worth. So we’re not saying, “It’s this many hours.“ It is more monsters, more questions, more story. It’s a substantial amount of content and story.
You’ve spoken already about new hunter actions, of which being able to use the slinger while our weapon is drawn will be very useful. Will there be more new hunter actions in Iceborne beyond what you’ve spoken of already?
The ones that we’ve shown here at E3 are the main ones that we’re focusing on. But that’s opening up a lot of new gameplay possibilities. Like you mentioned, using the slasher. The clutch claw is the other one— it lets people grapple on to the monster, and from there you can do a variety of different attacks. Including direct them into traps, or launch them into other hazards; they bonk their head on the hazard and knock themselves out. It’s a whole new way to approach fights— or the hunts I should say. There’s still a lot of— from weapon to weapon new combos. Whatever your play style you’ll find, “That’s new, that’s new, that’s new.” There’s plenty to dig into.
"We’ll have more to share of what we’ll do after launch. But we don’t ship a Monster Hunter, dust our hands and walk away from it. We’ll probably get into what we do after launch."
Can we expect to see more new weapons and weapon types in Iceborne?
No. Same 14 weapons. But as far as weapons and utilities go, the clutch claw is something every hunter has. So whatever weapon you choose everybody has the clutch claw.
Given the amount of content on offer in Iceborne, was there ever a discussion to just release it as its own standalone, new entry in the series?
It was always intended to be an expansion to World. We knew we wanted to follow, to some degree, expansions for Monster Hunter in the past. We used to equate this to what they call G versions, or in the west we called them Ultimate. It’s similar to that. So rather than a standalone game this time— because we can do this digital distribution with the expansion and give people a lot of options— if you’re on World there’s an easy upgrade, you don’t have to buy a brand new game. You can just get the expansion. But if you’re a brand player, we do have the Master Edition of World and Iceborne together.
The base game has seen some solid support post launch in the form of events and collaborations. Can we expect to see similar support for Iceborne?
I think so. We’ll have more to share of what we’ll do after launch. But we don’t ship a Monster Hunter, dust our hands and walk away from it. We’ll probably get into what we do after launch. We haven’t discussed anything yet, it’s still pretty early.
Is Hoarfrost Reach going to be a single large map, or will it be splintered into several areas?
It is one large expansive map that as you go through the story and explore. You’ll find new zones. But through time it will become one gigantic map.
"It’s pretty safe to equate it to G-rank. Where there’s new armors, new quests, new weapons. So now you have low rank and high rank, and now we have Master Rank. It effectively does function like G-rank, where it’s just that power escalation: the monsters get tougher, the weapons get better, and armor— same thing. Similar to G-rank for sure."
Is Master rank essentially the same as G-Rank, or can we expect it to be similar, but with elements and wrinkles of its own?
It’s pretty safe to equate it to G-rank. Where there’s new armors, new quests, new weapons. So now you have low rank and high rank, and now we have Master Rank. It effectively does function like G-rank, where it’s just that power escalation: the monsters get tougher, the weapons get better, and armor— same thing. Similar to G-rank for sure.
How large is Hoarfrost Reach? For instance, how bigger or smaller is it as compared to all the areas of the base game?
Literal size I’m not sure. We’re just really saying right now that as it expands, by the time you get to the end of Iceborne it will be the biggest. So what was in World already, Hoarfrost will be bigger than that.
Can you tell us about the philosophy behind designing the monsters in Iceborne given that it’s a new a location with different weather effects?
There are some monsters tailored to their environment. So we have a big fuzzy moose monster. We haven’t discussed every monster in the game, so hopefully we’ll see some more very-friendly-to-the-winter creatures.
Will the harsh weather effects have an impact on gameplay? If yes, can you give us an example?
So we have a lot of accumulated snow that can slow you down because you’re waist-deep in it. But there are perks and skills that can help you go through that kind of stuff. There’s also going to be environmental hazards. Like being on the edge of an icy cliff; that cliff can fall and take you down. You have to find your way back up from wherever it dumps you out. There are avalanches that can occur if certain conditions are met. That’s going to drag you and the monster down with it. Thankfully, it deals damage to the monster, which is good. We do want to make it feel like it’s not just “this kind of environment.” We want to make sure things happen that make you feel that you’re deep in a snowy, cavernous area. Where there’s icicles breaking off the ceiling, ice breaking off the walls. We want to make sure that it feels alive.
"We haven’t really discussed anything past Iceborne right now. We’re focused on that— the launch for sure. World has been such a success, and we’re really excited for Iceborne. We’re always ready to talk more Monster Hunter, but right now we are focused on Iceborne."
Is Iceborne the last major expansion pack for the game or are there plans for new expansions in the future?
We haven’t really discussed anything past Iceborne right now. We’re focused on that— the launch for sure. World has been such a success, and we’re really excited for Iceborne. We’re always ready to talk more Monster Hunter, but right now we are focused on Iceborne.
Do you plan to keep on adding new monsters after Iceborne? If yes, any hints on what those might be?
That would fall under the same “what we might do afterwards“.