Monster Hunter World Iceborne – Let’s look at the announcement and our theories

Hot off the heels of winning Best RPG at The Game Awards, Capcom has something exciting for fans of this year’s latest entry in the Monster Hunter franchise.

Capcom recently announced the Monster Hunter World Iceborne expansion. This is the first major piece of DLC beyond the free extra monsters and events we’ve seen over the past year.

You can check out the Monster Hunter World Iceborne trailer below.

Monster Hunter World Iceborne

Due out in autumn 2019 (spring for us in Australia), Iceborne is promising a new quest rank, monsters, locales, moves and equipment. As well as a brand new story that takes place after the events of Monster Hunter World.

For anyone new to Monster Hunter as a series, this is pretty standard for how Capcom releases these games. We’ve often seen a base numbered entry into the franchise (Monster Hunter 3, 4 etc), then a year to a year and a half later there’s an expansion that builds upon the base game in new and exciting ways.

We’ve seen Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Monster Hunter Tri G and others fall into this category. But really what it means is new monsters, new quests, and some top-tier challenges for seasoned players, historically called G Rank.

G Rank quests have always been the hardest of the hard, and pit you against monsters you know, but with new moves, new tricks and new gear to collect out of them.

But we’ll go into the specifics below, let’s focus on the trailer first.

Breaking down the parts

The trailer above begins with a scene in the Ancient Forest where a team of hunters are fighting a Rathalos and an Anjanath. After a brief fly-through of the Ancient forest that we know so well at this point, Rathalos takes off and flies out over the sea.

We have a brief section of Rathalos swooping low over the water. I was kind of hoping we’d see a Lagiacrus leap out of the water and swallow ol’ Rathy whole, but oh well.

Next Rathalos flies away from the camera towards a huge island as the Monster Hunter World Iceborne logo fades in.

There isn’t a lot to go on from that distance, but clearly, the image and the name give us an expectation this to be an icy map with the usual frozen forests, tundras and mountains which we can see clearly in the distance.  

After the logo, we fade to the “Autumn 2019” release window. Interestingly, as we fade to the next screen there’s a brief snap of glowing red eyes, which dart back and forth as well as a hissing noise with a distinctive rattle – similar to a rattlesnake. We’ll come to him in a bit.

The last shot shows four hunters staring into the distance holding weapons, and showcasing some cool (ice-pun intended) armour sets.

Now, with the recap out of the way, strap on your theory caps and let’s break this down.

Theory hunting

There isn’t a whole lot we can glean about the new island yet, as I said above we can clearly make out snow-capped mountains, the area to the left looks like ice-caps or tundra, and there may or may not be some trees on the horizon. We’ll assume that this is to the north of the New World, and we’ll see plenty of snow before the map reveals all its secrets.

Nargacuga – grumpy boy

However, that set of red glowing eyes, the rattle and the smoke are quite interesting.

There’s one monster that jumps out when I see those glowing eyes, and his name is Nargacuga. The reason I jump straight to Nargacuga is that those red glowing eyes are pretty unique to him.

The movement of those eyes on the black backdrop even mimic his attack patterns. Back in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Nargacuga was one of the flying wyverns that you could fight in the forest.

He’s sneaky, agile and likes to hunt his prey. Better yet, he does have a tail that rattles when he’s threatened, and bright red eyes that leave trails when he moves.

However, in previous titles like Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Nargacuga was always found in the more temperate biomes, like the forest, jungles and Misty Peaks in Monster Hunter Portable 3rd.

This leads me to believe this is most likely a variant that is more adapted to the colder climate, especially as variants and subspecies have been a running theme in Monster Hunter World.

Theorycrafting

Next up I’d like to chat a little bit about the final frame, where we see four hunters standing side-by-side and staring into the distance. This image is interesting because it gives us our first glimpse at some of the new armour and weapons that we’ll be seeing in the expansion.

Looking left to right, the first hunter is wearing what looks to be a snowy armour set, complete with fur lining, a cool popped collar and a good many layers. I have read that some pundits out on the internet are comparing this to our existing Tobi-Kadachi set, and suggesting that this is the new G rank Tobi set.

I can’t say that I agree, the existing Tobi-Kadachi set is mostly scales, with fur-lining. This feels like a more tailored snowy ensemble, possibly from a snowy monster like the Blango – snowy mountain apes.

Second along is where I think we get into the more tailored G rank armour sets. the female armour set shown here looks like it’s definitely Anjanath pelt, but clearly not the normal Anjanath female outfit.

I think that this is our first glimpse at reworked armour for existing monsters in the new more challenging area – though it doesn’t look weather appropriate from what I can see.

Third along, is some kind of incredible dwarf/Viking armour set, complete with ornate helmet, antlers and a sweet beard. I would assume that the beard is part of the armour here unless there’s a whole suite of new Icelandic facial hair options for the character creator.

There be Vikings?

This does bring me into my next theory, in this image we have the decidedly Viking/Norse/dwarven dude, as well as the sweet new sword and shield combo held by the first hunter on the left. Both the sword and shield sport some cool Nordic looking livery stamped into the metal.

I’d wager we’ll see a whole new suite of armour and metal made by expert northern smiths in the frozen wilds of the new New World.

The fourth hunter here, sporting what looks like a heavy bowgun (on account of the ammo belt), and a cool looking hat and jacket combo. There isn’t much to say here without a closer look, it could be a revised Girros set, or maybe something new – we’ll have to wait and see.  

Lastly, there is the new Iceborne logo, which does feature a stylised blue wyvern arching over the logo and breathing fire/ice. This doesn’t strike me as a creature we’ve seen before, especially since Monster Hunter doesn’t have a huge track record with icey biomes.

If I had to put a bet on an existing monster from the series, I’d say this could be Ukanlos if you squint a little, but this feels like a new monster that will most likely be the flagship elder dragon of the new area – much like Zorah Magdaros was for MHW.

That would have a nice symmetry to it, trading a creature of fire and lava for one of ice and cold. 

Although Capcom hasn’t said yet, we can expect based on track records that this will be a paid expansion, since we’ve had nothing but free content this year, and Iceborne looks to be a pretty big addition. 

But we’ll let you know as we learn more, and stay tuned for a review when Monster Hunter World Iceborne launches next year.

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Nathanael Peacock
Nathanael is a gamer and writer in Melbourne, Australia. You'll likely find him either up to his eyeballs in RPG lore, or spending way too long in any character creator. In his spare time he also rides motorbikes and sword-fights competitively.

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