After 20 years, why does Monster Hunter Wilds have Palicoes speak human languages? Because "there's so much going on" that a cat yelling at you is actually useful

Monster Hunter Wilds
(Image credit: Future)

Monster Hunter Wilds is changing a series staple and having Palicoes speak in human dialect because "there's so much going on."

That's according to Monster Hunter Wilds director Yuya Tokuda, speaking to GamesRadar+ as part of Summer Game Fest 2024. Palicoes speaking English instead of meowing incessantly was certainly one of the more surprising elements of Wilds' most recent action-packed trailer, and as part of our wider Monster Hunter Wilds interview, Tokuda explains why.

"The storyline and also the environmental setting of the game this time are such that I just felt it was needed to give the player another support character in addition to the handler, who we've already shown, who'll be able to verbalize feedback and hints to you in real-time," Tokuda states. From lightning storms, hordes of monsters, and changing weather, Wilds certainly looks like it has a lot going on.

"As you'll have seen from the gameplay presentation, the game is so dynamic and intense, there's so much going on. The weather is changing, the storm's rolling in, there are so many environmental traps and things that you can use. There are so many more monsters around in general that you could be getting attacked from any angle and it might be relatively difficult for the player, as the hunter, to even quickly assess the situation at any given moment compared to, for example, Monster Hunter World," the Wilds director continues. 

"By letting the Palico speak human language, I wanted to have someone to convey, 'There's a storm incoming!' In case you aren't currently angled toward the sky to see the storm. Or they might say, 'Oh, we can use those rocks.' That'll give you a hint to keep an eye on your environment. It's really about supporting the player in understanding what's currently happening and also what's available to them in the so-called environmental toolset of things that are around," Tokuda adds. 

However, there's an option for veteran players who'd rather not have a Palico in their ear speaking English - you can manually change their tongue in Wilds' menu so they just stick with "meow meow meow," as Tokuda puts it. Wilds is attempting to cater to "both styles of play," the director adds, which is a good thing - not everyone might be comfortable with our old feline friends suddenly analyzing the space around us in great detail.

Monster Hunter Wilds is out in 2025 across PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X/S consoles. For more on what to expect from the final game, including massive gameplay changes, read our full Monster Hunter Wilds preview.

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Hirun Cryer

Hirun Cryer is a freelance reporter and writer with Gamesradar+ based out of U.K. After earning a degree in American History specializing in journalism, cinema, literature, and history, he stepped into the games writing world, with a focus on shooters, indie games, and RPGs, and has since been the recipient of the MCV 30 Under 30 award for 2021. In his spare time he freelances with other outlets around the industry, practices Japanese, and enjoys contemporary manga and anime.