Monster Hunter: World has enjoyed loads of free updates since it launched on PC in August 2018. These seem tiny in comparison to the upcoming Iceborne expansion, which promises to be "massive," and comparable in size to the old Ultimate and G Rank versions. On May 9, Capcom finally gave us a nice, meaty look at what's coming (with more hopefully shown at E3 2019) in Iceborne, including a new Elder Dragon called Velkhana, returning favorite monster Nargacuga, and the ability to use your slinger with your weapon out on every weapon class. Hot damn.
And that wasn't everything. Iceborne will feature a whole story campaign set after the events of Monster Hunter: World, including a new area and changes to the existing world. Check below for the full details from Capcom's Iceborne livestream, and everything else we know about the expansion so far.
The Iceborne expansion is coming to consoles on September 6, 2019, but us Steam players won't be so lucky. But it also doesn't sound like we'll have to wait as long as we did for the base game. Capcom said it's targeting "Winter 2019" for the expansion, which hopefully means we'll be playing it in December.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne gameplay footage
Here's Capcom's Iceborne livestream, with half an hour of details on the new expansion and plenty of footage showing off its new monsters, hunter abilities, and new region. More on all of those below.
Iceborne's new location is called the Hoarfrost Reach, and it'll be World's biggest area
It's snowing in monsterland. Iceborne is adding a whole new area to World, and it sounds like it's not going to be a single map. Capcom's developers explained that you'll open up new parts of the Hoarfrost Reach as Iceborne's story progresses. They said it'll become fully explorable by the midpoint of the new campaign, and that "in the end it'll be the largest region in Monster Hunter: World so far."
The Hoarfrost Reach is covered in thick, fluffy snow, with new endemic wildlife including popos, a returning creature from past games. It's cold, which means the Hoarfrost Reach will drain your stamina faster than usual unless you scrounge some hot peppers to make a Hot Drink, which will offset the chill. There are also hot springs you can hang out in to warm up.
Catch a new Raider Ride to a map pin of your choosing
Iceborne will add brand new Raider Rides, an alternative to fast travel where you can ride on the back of a monster. Capcom says that while you won't be able to control the monster directly like a mount (it is still wild, after all), it can be instructed to either carry you to a map location of your choosing or follow the tracks of other nearby monsters.
Zip around all the New World environments way faster than before with the all-new Raider Rides!Set a specific destination or let your monster follow nearby monster tracks, while you pick up items, shoot Slinger ammo... or just enjoy the ride~ pic.twitter.com/I3UdEk4kWOJune 4, 2019
Iceborne's new hunter actions, weapon combos, and Master Rank
Iceborne will continue Monster Hunter: World's story with a big new location and a new rank: Master Rank. Capcom says it's essentially G-Rank from past Monster Hunter games.
The most exciting of Iceborne's new features, at least for hunters who still like whoopin' up on its current bestiary, are its new hunter actions. Here's a major one: You'll be able to use the slinger with your weapon drawn, on every single weapon type. Greatsword, dual blades, bowgun, doesn't matter. That's going to be hugely convenient for getting off flash pods mid-battle.
Your slinger also has a new feature called the Clutch Claw, which is pretty much what it sounds like. It lets you grapple onto a monster from range, and all of the game's weapons will have combos that make use of the Clutch Claw in some way.
A basic, weapon-agnostic move is called the Flinch Shot. Grapple onto a monster's head and unload your entire inventory of flash pods to send the monster hurtling in the other direction. Used strategically, you can smash them into walls or traps this way.
Capcom gave some other examples, like the dual blades being able to grapple onto a monster mid-combo. A greatsword combo move uses the slinger to make a monster flinch, so you can deliver the slow finishing blow to the head.
There are also going to be new mods for the light bowgun, including one that let you reload ammo while evading.
Capcom didn't talk about any new weapons being added to Iceborne, but we're hoping the new gear from the new monsters have some special designs, up there with the likes of the Wyvern Ignition. Fingers crossed.
Iceborne's new monsters
Velkhana - A new Elder Dragon, and Iceborne's new big bad. Velkhana uses ice attacks, but Capcom says that naturally, since it's a mysterious, ancient creature, there's more to it than that. Expect a twist.
Tigrex - The Tigrex is a returning monster that first appeared in Monster Hunter Freedom 2. The Tigrex is known for its ear-piercing screams and brute strength rather than elemental attacks. In the short video above it can be seen throwing rocks for a huge area of effect attack.
Shrieking Legiana - A new variant of the Legiana, the Shrieking Legiana is known to slow its prey with a freezing wind it emits. After slowing prey to a crawl, it can follow up with elemental ice attacks seen in the short preview above.
Nargacuga - A returning favorite, Capcom says he'll appear around the halfway point in the story. Interestingly, the footage of Nargacuga showed him appearing in the Ancient Forest, the strongest evidence that Iceborne will promise some big changes for the existing World regions. Capcom says "as usual, he's no pushover!" and that he has all his old movesets plus some crafty new moves. He's fond of turf wars and is definitely going to kick Rathalos's ass.
Banbaro - A new brute wyvern monsters who shows up early in Iceborne. He has a straightforward moveset that's mostly built around charging straight at you, but his giant horns will pick up anything in his path. That means Banbaro can end up hurling boulders or full-on trees at you while he charges.
Beotodus - Described as the first large monster you'll fight in Iceborne. He's the snow version of the fishy Jyuratodus, submerging himself in thick snow drifts and popping out to ruin your day. Capcom says getting him out of the snow will be the trick.
The Clutch Claw
The Clutch Claw will work like a grappling hook that you can use when readying your Slinger to attach yourself to monsters. Each weapon can be used in combination with the Clutch Claw and each will be getting new weapon abilities as well. Capcom released the trailers below summing up the Clutch Claw itself and the additions to each weapon.
THE CLUTCH CLAW