A large Monster Hunter: World expansion called Iceborne is coming in autumn 2019 (on console, with the PC release coming later), Capcom announced today. Iceborne will add a higher quest rank analogous to the G rank difficulty of previous games, as well as new and returning monsters, a post-game story set in a chilly new biome, and a visit from The Witcher 3's Geralt. You can watch its announcement trailer above.
For the uninitiated: G rank is basically Monster Hunter's ultimate endgame, and the gap between high rank and G rank is comparable to the difference between low rank and high rank. In previous games, G rank made monsters considerably tougher to fight by upping their health and damage, giving them new attacks, and even changing their attack patterns. Naturally, slaying G rank monsters nets you top-tier armor and weapons with powerful and unique skills.
From the sound of it, this is exactly what Iceborne is packing. Capcom community manager Socks said as much on Twitter: "Monster Hunter: World - Iceborne will be an expansion likened to size of a 'G' or 'Ultimate' version." In a reply, Socks also confirmed that despite Iceborne's somewhat vague trailer - which only refers to a "new quest rank" - G rank is indeed on the way.
Many Monster Hunter: World players have been clamoring for a G rank expansion for months, so it's undoubtedly the leading act in Iceborne. But Capcom says there's plenty more in store, including "new moves" which sound like they'll expand on existing weapon move sets - perhaps through unlockable finishers, or even Monster Hunter Generations-esque hunter arts? Apart from new monsters, we know Iceborne will also add at least one fan-favorite to World's roster; the catlike wyvern Nargacuga, originally introduced in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, makes a brief appearance at the end of the trailer.
Iceborne is scheduled to release well into 2019, but Capcom also announced another, smaller update scheduled for early 2019: a Witcher 3 collaboration featuring none other than Geralt of Rivia, who is presumably a longsword main. Quite frankly, I can't think of a more fitting crossover. Geralt is a trained monster hunter, after all. You can watch him in action below.
To cap things off, a free trial version of Monster Hunter: World will be available on PS4 and Xbox One from 4pm PST / 7pm EST / 12am BST tomorrow, December 11, through Sunday, December 16. The trial version will feature "nearly all of the story," Capcom said, and progress from it will transfer to the full game if you decide to buy it. You'll also be able to play online with players who own the game, which is a nice touch. You can learn more about the trial version and opt into it here.
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