I had a nagging feeling that Monster Hunter: World was, well, a Monster Hunter game when I started watching the announcement trailer. The dinosaur-like creature that's the main target of the hunt was pretty much a dead giveaway, along with the massive sword, some of the non-combat moments and the Capcom logo, but there were still moments that had me questioning myself. Like the stealth, for example, or the lack of more than one player, or the vine-swinging, swimming and anything movement-related that wasn't ground-based. Oh, and the graphics are gorgeous.
But Monster Hunter it is, and it's coming in 2018 for PS4 and Xbox One with a simultaneous worldwide launch to boot. The PC will get it at a "later date", which gives upcoming free-to-play game Dauntless - previously the closest thing the PC was going to get to a Monster Hunter game - some room to breathe for a while. The words Nintendo and Switch are noticeably absent however, and it's probably not just because of the visuals - the game is offering a "vast new continent" that offers a "seamless gameplay experience allowing players to move freely across map areas that comprise the living ecosystems and dynamically transition from day to night.
More on the world details: "The landscape and its diverse inhabitants play a critical role in each quest as players strategically use the surrounding environment including terrain, vegetation and wildlife to their advantage in battle or become hindered by the hazards they present. Hunters must use their cunning and abilities to track and maneuver their targets throughout the intense, evolving battles."
The series' skill-based progression and crafting are retained, as will the loop of gathering loot from defeated monsters to create new things and defeat tougher enemies. What's new is that players from the west and Japan can experience this together online for the first time, and a drop-in function has been added.
I had never been keen on the Monster Hunter series before, but this one looks notably different from the rest and appeals to me more as a result. And it's coming to PC too - that's probably the biggest E3 surprise for me right now.