We all knew it was coming, and Capcom finally announced it yesterday: there's an Ultimate/G-Rank expansion to the game coming that they've titled Monster Hunter World: Iceborne.
As with previous Ultimate/G-Rank expansions for Monster Hunter games, Iceborne will feature:
- A third difficulty level above Low Rank and High Rank: G Rank. G Rank monsters are tougher, typically feature at least once additional attack, and of course will get you all new equipment.
- New maps/locales. At least one new full one, hopefully a couple.
- New monsters. The tease toward the end of red eyes in darkness seems pretty clearly to a monster from previous games called Nargacuga. All the rest is speculation for the moment.
- They're also teasing new moves, and no one is really sure what that means yet. It could mean a few new attacks for each weapon, or it could mean the addition of something like "hunter arts" or "styles" from Monster Hunter Generations.
The expansion releases sometime in Autumn 2019. We do not know the cost yet. I imagine it will not be less than $20 or more than $40.
The big questions now are how many new monsters (and which ones) and how many new full locales.
The trailer teases multiple new locations, but for all we know there could be only one full location and one boss location, like the ones for Zorah and Xeno.
I expect 10-12 new monsters, although this may well include palette swaps like Gold Rathian, Silver Rathalos, and Jade Barroth. Since they're teasing an ice location, I would not be surprised to see Barioth. Oroshi Kirin will almost certainly be there, as he is an ice monster and was on a previously leaked list. Alatreon will probably also be in it, as he is the only other monster from the leak list who never materialized for this version of the game. Beyond that, I expect there will be a couple of new original monsters and a mix of some returning favorites. The one I'm really hoping to see is Zinogre--I was a little shocked that he wasn't in this game to begin with.
It's a pity that this expansion is coming so long after release. Other Monster Hunter games typically saw such an expansion 12-15 months after release. This one will be more like 20 months. Understandable, since they're dealing with new tech and don't have the option of recycling any code as they did with the previous games. But it's going to be a long wait.
In the meantime, they announced some other updates to the game, including:
- Arch-Tempered Kulve Taroth (December 20th, 2018 ~ January 3rd, 2019)
- Appreciation Fest (January 2019)
- Arch-Tempered Nergigante (spring 2019)
- All-new collaboration with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (early 2019)
...which you can find out more about by watching this developer update: