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 Monster Hunter: World Iceborne expansion, which promises to be "massive," and comparable in size to the old Ultimate and G Rank versions. Iceborne is out now on console but we still have to wait a while yet until January 2020 to play it on PC just like we did with the base game launch.
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. The big new baddie is the Elder Dragon called Velkhana. We've seen a bunch of new Iceborne videos since the announcement: everything from new monster showcases, the new Clutch Claw, developer interviews, and story trailers. We've picked the best below to tell you what you need to know about the expansion.
Read on for the full Monster Hunter: World Iceborne details from E3, Gamescom, and its console launch.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne release date
Capcom finally announced that Monster Hunter World: Iceborne will release for PC on January 9th 2020, four months after its console release in September 2019.
Here's Iceborne's PC trailer in 4k
Capcom released a trailer for Iceborne just for PC players showing off the game in 4k at 60FPS. Here are the PC-specific additions coming to Iceborne according to the trailer:
- High resolution texture pack support
- 4k resolution and uncapped framerate
- Ultrawide screen support
- DirectX 12 support
- Improved keyboard and mouse controls
Monster Hunter: World Iceborne is World's only expansion, will conclude the story
During a Rapid-Fire interview with Game Informer, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto said, "Iceborne basically completes World, so it will be the last expansion." That's a bit of a bummer, but we can assume this is due to the studio being hard at work on World's followup, which will hopefully have a more timely PC version.
But Capcom isn't completely hanging up Monster Hunter: World after Iceborne. "We're planning a lot of the updates for the future," said Tsujimoto. Just don't expect many new mechanics, areas, or monsters following Iceborne.
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.
During Game Informer's Rapid-Fire interview, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto said that the story of Iceborne will take place half in Hoarfrost Reach and half in the old continent, so areas like the Ancient Forest or Coral Highlands.
Iceborne will have a new hot spring gathering hub
The new developer diary from Capcom shows off a new gathering hub for players in Iceborne called Seliana, which seams like a great place to relax in the frigid climate.
As well as facilitating player interaction, the new hub will also streamline the process of gearing up for a fight by enabling quick access to facilities including the Smithy, Resource Center, the Botanical Research Center, and Argosy. There are still "transitional periods," but the number of loading screens will be reduced.
Hail a monster cab
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. More on that below.
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.
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 trailer above summing up the Clutch Claw itself. They've also released individual videos showing the Clutch Claw in combination with heavy weapons, light weapons, and technical weapons.
Monster Hunter World: Iceborne is getting a dynamic difficulty system
This is the kind of exciting, small change that could dramatically improve the feel of hunts. In Monster Hunter games up until now, monsters could only have two health pools: one for solo hunts, and one with roughly double health for two or more players. This made two or three player hunts a slog, but Capcom has a better way.
In Iceborne, there's a new health pool between the two that should feel better tuned for the player count. More importantly, it scales dynamically. If someone disconnects from the session, the monster's health with adjust accordingly. The best part? The feature will come as an update to all players, not just Iceborne. Neat!
Hunter Helper rewards high-rank players for helping newbies
Speaking to Eurogamer, Capcom explained Iceborne's new Hunter Helper system, which rewards veteran players for helping low rank players with quests.
"We've also got a system in place called Hunter Helper, so if you haven't finished World yet and want to catch up so you can play Iceborne, your friends who are a higher rank than you will actually get rewards by playing quests with you and helping you finish up your storyline," explained Iceborne directors Kaname Fujioka and Daisuke Ichihara.
"We understand there are people who are still part-way along the journey on this game, and we can reassure them it's definitely something you don't need to think 'it's not for you' just because you haven't finished yet, or because you still haven't reached a certain rank."
Your Palico can revive your hunter in Monster Hunter: World Iceborne
In a sit-down with Game Informer, Capcom revealed that new Palico gadgets are on the way in Iceborne. We heard about one in particular, which allows a Palico to revive their hunter after fainting. That's an incredibly useful tool, especially on tougher quests with low life counts.
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.
Capcom's new trailer, above, introduces the legend of the Old Everwyrm, something that has the power to destroy ecosystems. It seems like the legend is somehow related to Velkhana, or perhaps is Velkhana?
Zinogre - The sharp, angry dog is making a return in Iceborne. In Iceborne, Capcom describes the Zinogre as having a "thunderous howl, imposing stance, and dynamic gameplay mechanics paired with epic custom battle music" that creates memorable hunts.
Brachydios - This punchy wyvern is making its return from MH3 Ultimate. Instead of sharp claws, the Brachydios has two blunt stumps coated in highly explosive green slime. The creature can activate its slime to make its punches explosives, but water attacks are particularly effective against it.
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 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.
Barioth - The giant, cat-like wyvern Barioth, ruler of the Hoarfrost Reach, is returning to sink its teeth into some poor Popo and hunters. Thanks to Game Informer for the exclusive first-look at a turf war between the Barioth and Banbaro.
Glavenus - Check out the sword-tailed brute monster Glavenus in the trailer above. The video shows off its signature move, sharpening its tail along the ground.