Capcom’s Monster Hunter: World Spring Update aired today, bringing with it a Nergigante-sized batch of information about the new Monster Hunter: World — Iceborne DLC.
Iceborne, described as a massive expansion DLC, was developed parallel to the updates and additions for the base game. As such, its release date is fairly soon. Iceborne will launch September 6 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, with a Steam release set for sometime this winter.
Welcome to Hoarfrost Reach
Iceborne features a brand-new region to explore, Hoarfrost Reach. The expansion’s plot takes place after the events of the main Monster Hunter: World game. It also brings back something similar to G-Rank monsters and missions from earlier MH games. In Iceborne, it’s called Master Rank, and it’s the next step up from High Rank.
Hoarfrost Reach is the largest region in MH:W. Unsurprisingly, it’s almost completely covered with snow and frost, with a few exceptions in areas that feature natural hot springs — complete with monkeys.
The region’s natural life is billed as some of the most in-depth as well. For example, Popos are normally fodder for other monsters elsewhere.However, in Hoarfrost Reach, players can see them wandering peacefully in the snow. Even the deadlier creatures have their own normal habits, from sunbathing to getting a drink from the hot springs.
The development team said they spent a lot of time creating realistic and layered visual effects for the region, including snow trails and special shadowing effects. Apart from looking good, these features have an important role in gameplay as well.
There will be several new monsters added to Hoarfrost Reach, and the development team debuted two of them, promising more to follow in future updates.
One of them is Beotodus, the first large monster players will encounter. This carnivorous monster takes advantage of Hoarfrost Reach’s deep snow by hiding in it as it waits for prey.
Much like the Molduga from Breath of the Wild, Beotodus moves swiftly under the surface to grab its prey, and hunters must find a way to get it out of the snow before they can even begin their fight.
The other new monster is Banbaro, the giant horned brute wyvern from the new Iceborne trailer. Banbaro will also be encountered early in the game, and its attacks are fairly straightforward — literally, actually, since it charges in straight lines after its prey.
The beast’s horns gather anything in its path along the way, though, so even if hunters are slightly to the side of Banbaro as it charges, they could still be hit by boulders or even entire trees caught up in the monster’s path.
Iceborne’s flagship monster also debuted during the presentation: a new elder dragon called Velkhana. Like all elder dragons, Velkhana is immensely powerful. It uses ice attacks, but also has special powers the team is holding back on for now; based on the trailer, though, it would seem Velkhana must have a tendency to sing as well.
Finally, the update teased the return of Nargacuga in Iceborne. Despite having many of the same patterns and features as the Nargacuga players may already be familiar with, the Iceborne version has many new tricks up its pelt to make for an entirely new experience. Players can expect to encounter it around the campaign’s halfway point.
More Hunter Actions and QoL Changes
Iceborne will introduce a wealth of new Hunter Actions and weapon updates as well. There will be a new presentation focused specifically on these in the future, but for now, the Capcom team gave viewers a look at a few standout examples.
The first is the Slinger. It’s a weapon introduced in MH:W, but like most non-primary weapons in the series, it couldn’t be used while the main weapon is drawn.
That’s changed for Iceborne. Not only can hunters draw and use the Slonger while their weapon is drawn as well, but items can be used at the same time too.
The Clutch Claw, a sort of grappling hook, gets some expanded functionality as well. The team said the goal in MH:W was to let players control the monsters somehow, and the Clutch Claw makes that happen in Iceborne. Hunters can fire the Claw while readying the Slinger and can use the Claw to influence their quarry’s movements.
The Slinger will be used in multiple ways this go around and in conjunction with the Claw Clutch. New weapon mods like the Flinch Shot will allow Hunters to grapple onto monsters with the Clutch, then unload all their Slinger’s ammo at once onto the monster.
The benefit of this particular action is how it affects the monster’s movements. The power of the Slinger attacks will forcefully propel the monster in whatever direction the Slinger was pointing. It can be used to shove monsters into traps, into walls, or however the Hunter sees fit to help in the fight.
Each weapon will get new mods and abilities as well. For example, the Great Sword can fire powerful, short-range Slinger shots, while the Light Bowgun gets a new evasion reload mod, and the Dual Blades can fire power shots and use the Clutch Claw in combos.
Players who already own the digital or physical version of Monster Hunter: World will only need to purchase the Iceborne DLC, which will cost $39.99.
There will be a Master Edition available, which features the base MH: World game plus Iceborne for $59.99, and a Master Edition Deluxe for $79.99 that comes in a steelbook case depicting Velkhana and Nergigante locked in combat. It will also contain a bundle of cosmetic items, including stickers and gestures.
Finally, there will be a Digital Deluxe version for $49.99 that has Iceborne and the bundled extras from the Master Edition Deluxe.
Monster Hunter: World New Event
As part of the ongoing spring festival in Monster Hunter: World, players can encounter Arch-tempered Nergigante beginning Saturday, May 11. This souped up version of the beastie carries a new moveset and patterns, designed to make this feel like the first time hunters have encountered the game’s central monster.
Defeating it earns hunters the Nergiganta Gamma Armor, one of the game’s most powerful armor sets.
A new dynamic theme featuring Nergigante is also available now for the PlayStation 4. It has unique icons that look as if Nergigante has torn into them and is meant to let players appreciate the monster’s design, since it’s actually sitting still and not trying to kill them.
That’s it for the big Monster Hunter: World Spring Update reveal. More will be revealed in the coming months.