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Monster Hunter Wilds regions are twice as big as World’s, with no loading screens

A hunter fights two monsters at once in Monster Hunter Wilds.
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Monster Hunter Wilds is shaping up to be a major upgrade from Monster Hunter World. I have learned that the maps players will explore in Monster Hunter Wilds are going to be twice as big as the ones in Monster Hunter World — and they won’t even feature loading screens while accomplishing that. I saw a hands-off preview of the game at Summer Game Fest Play Days and could instantly recognize the greater scope of Monster Hunter Wilds.

The game looks beautiful and the desert world Capcom showed was lively, with small birds living in trees to herds of monsters roaming the landscape. Quests could be started by just attacking monsters, and completing a quest didn’t kick the hunter back to base or force any sort of loading screen. I spoke to some of the developers behind it and was left stunned by what could be one of the most impressive games to release during this console generation.

A seamless hunt

“Seamlessness” is a big keyword at the center of both Monster Hunter World and Monster Hunter Wilds, according to Capcom.

“The seamlessness of Monster Hunter World was hugely revolutionary for the series and also very well-received by players,” Executive Director Kaname Fujioka told Digital Trends in a behind-closed-doors interview. “We wanted to go even further and remove those loading moments from the game completely. You can run right out of a base into a map, choose a monster to make your target, and start a quest without having to go to a quest board or wait for it to load. We’ve taken down all those little time gaps and barriers to make the game even more immersive.”

The player on a Seikret floats towards a horde of monsters.

I saw all this in action during a live hands-off demo where one of the game’s developers hunted a Doshaguna. After exploring some of the sandy dunes of Monster Hunter Wilds’ Windward Plains region, they stumbled upon a pack of Doshagunas. He found the biggest one with a red mane and attacked it, which automatically activated the quest to hunt it.

This kicked off a desert-spanning half-hour hunt that showcased many of the game’s features, including dynamic weather, monsters that dynamically fight if they notice each other, and the bird-like Seikret mount that can glide and parkour across the environment at high speed. It all looked familiar to someone who has dabbled in the Monster Hunter series before — just bigger and better.

Enhancing the hunt

One of the neat new features of Monster Hunter Wilds is that players can now carry two weapons with them at once. For example, you can have a longsword and bow to switch between melee and long-range attacks. Fujioka also confirmed to Digital Trends that players can carry two of the same weapon if those weapons have different properties, and that this feature was implemented in direct response to the ambitiously large levels.

“Hunting is so much more than in the past games that we felt it would be too limiting to have only one weapon on you. Who knows what will happen when you’re out there? By adding the ability to have another weapon ready, it gives players a wider toolset without having to think about going back to base after they find a new monster and want to attack it with something different. I thought of it as a way of keeping seamlessness in mind. The player has less to do when they want to switch weapons.”

The player shoots a gun at the monsters in Monster Hunter Wilds.

A big part of the appeal of Monster Hunter is also memorizing the strengths and weaknesses of all the different monsters and eventually mastering how to hunt them. That could prove overwhelming for newer players because of the pure number of monsters on the screen at times, so Capcom implemented another new feature called Focus. After dealing some damage to a monster, red spots called wounds will appear on them. Players can then use Focus to aim a reticle toward these spots and use some special abilities to deal even more damage to the monster’s weak point.

Focus mode builds on the idea that ever since the first Monster Hunter, we’ve had the concept of body parts on the monster having different weak points and strong points. We want to make that a little bit more visible in the game world so new players understand which parts are weakened and where they should be aiming for,” Fujioka explained. “It isn’t changing how you think about attacking the monster, but it should hopefully bring a certain amount of focus to the player’s mindset of where to be attacking at any given time.”

An immersive hunt

Focus is the kind of small detail that seems like it can be overlooked by hardcore fans, but will, in practice, make the game much more approachable to a majority of players. Another small detail that caught my eye is that the Hunters can now speak during cutscenes. This is a first for the series and is yet another indication of Monster Hunter Wilds‘ increased scope in that the story is getting more involved.

A still from the cinematic trailer for Monster Hunter Wilds at Summer Game Fest 2024.

According to Fujioka, it was a necessary step to make the story work better than the one in Monster Hunter World.

“We realized that when you get so involved in the story, the silent protagonist no longer cuts it. The fact that your monster hunter was just turning up in cutscenes and standing around while everyone spoke in Monster Hunter World made it feel like the story was happening around them rather than happening to them. I want to be clear that the Hunter isn’t going to be this incredibly talkative character. Rather, they need to be saying something in those cutscenes for you to feel like your character is actually involved in what’s going on.”

Phrases like seamlessness and immersion are common gaming buzzwords and often eye-roll-inducing when brought up. But it looks like Capcom put its money where its mouth is with Monster Hunter Wilds and created an experience that looks bigger and bolder than any Monster Hunter game before, yet still makes strides in adding new features and improving aspects of the game, inclusing the story. Monster Hunter series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto told me he wanted Monster Hunter Wilds to be “the most globally minded Monster Hunter title” ever, and I think this bigger scope will ensure Capcom delivers on that goal. 

Monster Hunter Wilds will be released for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S in 2025.

Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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