Monster Hunter: World is a new story in a new area of the monster hunter universe. The goal of World isn't to reinvent the Monster Hunter formula but instead to introduce numerous quality of life changes that will please longtime fans and make the series a little more approachable to newcomers without losing its challenging edge.
First and foremost, voice acting will be introduced. In the demo shown, there was a handler talking to you over some form of communication device, giving tips and guidance to the next objective along with equal measures of criticism and encouragement.
Next, tracking monsters has been modified. As opposed to having to plaster it with a paintball once you've randomly stumbled across it, you will release scout flies, which live within a lantern on your belt that gradually gain the impression of the monster from footprints, mucus, and other hints until they can reliably track it down.
While you're running around looking for a monster, you can now gather materials such as honey or herbs or other collectibles without having to completely stop and stay still for a determined amount of time while waiting around for an animation to complete. This will free up players to simultaneously gather and hunt.
Environmental traps are also a larger part of the game this time around—having to knock down trees and then luring a monster into the vine trap set up within the fallen trees was critical. Other trap scenarios that were shown included running a monster under a rock outcropping and then smashing the rocks down upon its head, or driving it near a dam and then letting the water loose.
To aid the hunter with this, they now get access to a sling that can be used to toss rocks at monsters to get their attention or at walls to distract monsters with the noise. They also get a hook shot that can be used to scale areas more quickly or to recover from falls. That includes falls off of the back of monsters.
Mounting a monster and doing major damage is still a key part of taking down the most challenging of prey, and this system has also evolved. Hunters will need to jump around to different parts of the monster while they are attacking it to ensure they are not thrown off, brushed off, or smashed into whatever nearby environments the monsters can rub up against.
You still get to play with your felyne companions in single player; one will accompany you at all times (down from two in some previous games). Need more help? Fire off a signal flare while you're out on mission and your online friends can immediately jump into your current hunt. During missions, you can also return to your base without abandoning the mission itself to change your weapon loadouts, armour, rest to restore health, add new party members, and possibly more.
Though monsters still run away in an attempt to recover their lost health, it is much easier to track down these wounded monsters with the help of your scout flies. You will still need to pay attention to when a monster is growing weak, as there are no health bars, but attack damage will now be visible so you can determine whether your attacks are effective. This will help greatly with figuring out which parts of the monster are its weak points and what weapons work best against them.
Also returning are all fourteen weapon types. However, at this time there does not seem to be any Prowler mode, which let players be a felyne instead of a human in the previous game, Monster Hunter Generations.
With a release date in early 2018, there's still plenty to learn about the first Monster Hunter title on a high definition system. Monster Hunter: World will release first on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and later on PC.