monster hunter wilds
Image via Capcom

Preview: Monster Hunter Wilds Endemic Life Makes the World Feel Alive

Monster Hunter World catapulted the Monster Hunter series to international acclaim. Yes, the game had a solid following in Japan since its inception, and even dedicated pockets of fans appeared internationally. But World is what truly captivated a massive audience. With Monster Hunter Wilds following that success, it seems like everyone who enjoyed Capcom’s latest forays into the series could end up impressed with the next installment. I had the opportunity to check out a presentation for Monster Hunter Wilds at Summer Game Fest. Wilds looks to be something that so greatly improves upon the foundations set by one of Capcom’s best-selling titles that it feels like this entry will be another massive success for the developer.

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What I have to say will more than likely echo already positive sentiment about the direction that Monster Hunter Wilds appears to be heading. The game is gorgeous, and the improvements to the foundations laid by Monster Hunter World and Rise are impressive. The lack of loading screens, the sheer verticality of the map, and the way the world feels alive due to the use of endemic life and persistent storms looks like it could be incredible. But this is Capcom expanding upon what the series has done in the past, because Monster Hunter has always managed to make its locales and worlds feel very much alive.

Monster Hunter Wilds just continues to iterate on that in the tried and true way of if something isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing. Instead, Capcom is just adding a few more bells and whistles to an already successful formula. Players can summon a mount similar to how they can in Monster Hunter Rise, except now there is an “auto-run” feature where your new feathered friend will automatically follow pyrefiles to your objective or the monster you are trailing as you sharpen your weapon or chow down on grilled meat to restore your stamina. Your Palico also talks now for some reason, and I’m not entirely sure if I like that decision. (I’ll miss the meowing, truth be told.)

Players can also set up camp at various spots around the map to quickly change weapons and armor. However, these spots can be destroyed by monsters, which I feel is a nice touch. Speaking of weapons, players can now equip two at a time, with the presentation I saw showcasing the Greatsword and Longsword. Both weapons looked devastating, and while I’ve hung up my Greatsword, the mobility and option to block attacks from monsters with that massive blade made it look extremely appealing.

But I still couldn’t get over how gorgeous the game looked or how alive it felt during the footage presented. I personally have an issue with these games feeling lonely, like I’m just wandering around looking for something without anything to signal true reactiveness in the world I’m trudging through. Monster Hunter World was decent enough in that with monsters roaming in and out of regions, and Rise had the same. But Wilds takes this a step further with the aforementioned endemic life changing and even migrating under various weather conditions. During the presentation, we saw the small toad-bird hybrid creatures nesting in a tree, their young croaking for insects. We saw the environment change during a “phase of abundance,” with more greenery sprouting up on one section of the map, and changing again when that phase ended.

It feels like there is a lot to discover in Wilds, outside of the obvious improvements. There are new monsters, reactive weather conditions, monsters lurking behind every corner or slithering beneath the sands. And even if the monster designs shown thus far aren’t to my liking, I cannot wait to play this next installment in the Monster Hunter series.

Monster Hunter Wilds is currently in development for the PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and Windows PC and is set to release simultaneously worldwide in 2025. Capcom confirmed crossplay at Summer Game Fest 2024.

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Kazuma Hashimoto
Senior staff writer, translator and streamer, Kazuma spends his time playing a variety of games ranging from farming simulators to classic CRPGs. Having spent upwards of 6 years in the industry, he has written reviews, features, guides, with work extending within the industry itself. In his spare time he speedruns games from the Resident Evil series, and raids in Final Fantasy XIV. His work, which has included in-depth features focusing on cultural analysis, has been seen on other websites such as Polygon and IGN.