• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Monster Hunter Wilds interview: How Capcom is evolving its apex franchise

Back in 2018, Monster Hunter World’s immediate success propelled the game, and the Monster Hunter franchise, into the global spotlight. Its lush maps, deep combat, and memorable monsters helped it become one of Capcom’s most successful projects ever. Today, millions of players now eagerly await 2025’s follow-up, Monster Hunter Wilds.

New footage from State of Play and Summer Game Fest has given players lots to dissect, from new monsters and abilities to harsh, dynamic weather. But a recent hands-off presentation during Summer Game Fest allowed me to see live gameplay, and crucially how the game’s new features impact the experience.


Monster Hunter Wilds interview: How Capcom is evolving its apex franchise

In just those 30 minutes of demo gameplay, I saw several things that got me stoked for Wilds. The new map is much more detailed, particularly regarding verticality. Some maps in World were pretty dense and could overlap or even turn back on themselves. Perfect for a monster’s den, but sometimes confusing for players. This time around, between the map and new UI elements that tell you which direction the target monster is (and how far away they are), it’s much easier to keep track of your targets.

The target monster was the Doshaguma, new to Monster Hunter Wilds. In Wilds, players can select a monster on their map and begin a quest by engaging that monster in combat out in the field (Capcom did not confirm other ways players can begin quests, or other quest types in the game). Upon that first hit, an incredible piece of music swells to usher in the quest with full orchestral might and a driving, dramatic sense of conflict. As the hunt goes on, the sand leviathan Balahara appears with a deep pit that pulled Doshaguma down. They brawl in a classic Turf War scrap, with smaller monsters scurrying all around. Chaotic and intense, and about to escalate even further.

Not long into the battle, an imposing wall of dust and sand forms on the horizon. It soon blankets the area with a blue/black darkness, illuminated by stray lightning strikes. These weather events change which monsters may appear on the map, including a mysterious new Apex creature that fires lightning right out of its head.

Immediately following the demo, I was able to speak with the game’s leadership trio for more on what I just saw: Series Producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, Director Yuya Tokuda, and Art Director/Executive Director Kaname Fujioka.

PlayStation Blog: Monster Hunter World was a huge success when it launched in 2018. How did its unprecedented success inform your approach to Monster Hunter Wilds?

Ryozo Tsujimoto: What we did for World, both the base game and the expansion, really impacted Monster Hunter Wilds. Our approach to keeping players continuously interested in World helped us learn what players wanted to see in the future. That doesn’t just mean things we wanted to improve within the game, but also how we release information to players, and how to ease them into the game as well.

Speaking of easing players into the game, Monster Hunter Wilds features a lot of quality-of-life improvements. For example, the map seemed much more detailed and useful to navigate. Things like tracking quests and monsters, where items are located, and the great sense of verticality to the map. Any other new things that returning players could look forward to?

Yuya Tokuda: You’ve picked up on how much easier it is now to get to monsters, and finding monsters on the map. We received feedback that they were kind of difficult to get to sometimes, especially in maps that are very vertical where you have lots of different geographical elements. And, with the introduction of the Seikret, it’s easier for players to figure out where to go, and where to find monsters on the field.

In terms of things we improved on, one example is that it’s much easier now to select items. We really put an eye to giving more options for players with different kinds of item preferences, because selecting and navigating through items was something that can be difficult in the moment of a hunt. But hopefully, by giving players more options and more customization, we’ve improved this experience for returning players.

The phrase “living breathing ecosystem” was used to describe Monster Hunter World. The maps were large and full of life, you could get monsters tangled in vines, creatures would interact with each other, and so on. How are you expanding on that idea, and make it feel even bigger and more interactive? 

Kaname Fujioka: We’re focusing on designing monster herd behaviors that are really tuned to each environment and their ecology. So, we want to have well designed, detailed monster behavior as they move in these larger packs. How the player interacts with them during their hunt is our first little step there toward enhancing the livable, beautiful environment.

I noticed in the demo, the hunter used both the Great Sword and Heavy Bowgun. So you’re able to take two weapons into a quest now. Previously a player would have to commit to a weapon, take it into a quest, that’s your weapon. How did this change come about for Wilds?

Yuya Tokuda:  One of the big things about Wilds is that the environments themselves are so much more dynamic and adaptable. Things are changing so often, and even the monsters that are available to hunt can change moment to moment. It was important for us to give players the ability to adapt to that, and switch their own kind of playstyles. So they can carry different weapons, or the same weapons but with different elements for those kinds of situations. We’re really designing the game around allowing players to adapt to the environment.

Focus Mode and wounds are new for Wilds. Can you talk a bit about how these work, and how / when a player might want to engage with these systems?

Yuya Tokuda: So, you don’t need to be in Focus Mode to create wounds. Attacking the monster naturally causes damage or wounds to happen. As long as you’re attacking the wounds, you’ll be doing more damage to the monster.

Entering Focus Mode does highlight monster wounds so you can target them a lot easier, and there are special attacks you can perform in Focus Mode that do more damage to wounds. But, Focus Mode isn’t really just for targeting wounds.

A cursor that appears on the screen allows you to aim your attacks and also to aim your other moves like guarding and blocking attacks. The real merit of Focus Mode is to help players in their positioning and their distancing from monsters, so that even players who are maybe not as experienced with action games, or games similar to Monster Hunter, have an easier time honing in their attacks.

To wrap, if you could say anything to Monster Hunter World players who were really into it, but maybe they fell off years ago and they’re curious about Wilds, what would that be?

Ryozo Tsujimoto: We’re really just trying to make an amazing game for everyone. We hope Wilds is going to be the experience that tops anything before in the Monster Hunter series, and really gaming in general.

Yuya Tokuda: For players that didn’t gel with the action [of World], we’re planning a really thorough support system for players to learn about the game and play it from start to finish. We’re hoping that allows players to experience the best that Wilds has to offer.


The hunt begins when Monster Hunter Wilds comes to PS5 next year.