Monster Hunter World was announced during Sony's E3 presentation this week and is set to be released on PlayStation, Xbox One and PC at some point in 2018.

This Japanese monster-riddled game has its own niche corner of the market in the West, but this is the first time Monster Hunter is becoming available worldwide and on all major consoles.

What is Monster Hunter?

Monster Hunter is a series of action-RPG games, developed and published by Capcom. The first game was released on PlayStation 2 in 2004, and its sequel's popularity on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) console saw it rise to meteoric heights in Japan. The game focuses on undertaking quests and increasing your rank to fight harder monsters, carving materials from their body parts in order to make better armor and weapons. Monster Hunter is the ultimate "grind" game, so if you enjoy games where you save up materials in order to upgrade items and fighting behemoth monsters with your friends online, Monster Hunter World is not a game you'll want to miss.

The quests are set in a designated area, with its own environments and terrain qualities. Preparation is key as you delve into new lands, and danger could appear at any moment. You may be on a quest to pick some mushrooms for some healing potions, but you could be unlucky if a monster stumbles into the vicinity. Run or fight? Fighting will reward you with items carved from the monster's still-warm body, while he who fights and runs away lives to fight another day.

How will Monster Hunter World be different than other games in the series?

Monster Hunter has undergone some significant changes in the last few releases. The last incarnation saw a jump from solely fighting on the ground, to being able to jump terrain and land on the monster, using the 3D environments to vastly improve on the space available for monster battles. This also bought a new variety of monsters to the fray and some new weapons. Fighting underwater had been removed after Monster Hunter Tri, because players complained that fighting underwater was too difficult. But the trailer above shows a Hunter swimming through water. Will underwater hunting make a return? We'll have to wait and see.

Monster Hunter World looks graphically amazing in 4K, now taking advantage of the cutting edge technology available to make it the most beautiful looking Monster Hunter game yet. Capcom developed a new Monster Hunter experience with this new technology in mind. World maps are now seamless, with no transitions between areas. This makes for a smoother experience all around and has pushed Monster Hunter into territory we're more familiar with in terms of gameplay.

The trailer sees a lone Hunter donning camouflage to avoid monster detection, which is a new addition but not a new concept within Monster Hunter. When he finds he's bitten off more than he can chew, he sends up a flare that calls his buddies to his aid. This drop-in multiplayer feature is also new and will potentially do away with the need for making an online hub to group up before quests start.

Dynamic transitions between day and night mean you'll be in the field and peering at every darkening shadow, and tracking is also now a skill that enables you to find a monster in the wild.

And for the first time, Japanese players will be able to join players from across the globe.

Why is Monster Hunter World getting a worldwide console release?

Monster Hunter has had a cult following for some years now, particularly after Monster Hunter Tri on the Wii became Japan's best selling third-party title. But to be frank, Monster Hunter sales just aren't doing that well in Japan anymore. Opening up Monster Hunter World to Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (PS4) and PC users in the West hopefully means the franchise will see the lift in sales it needs.

Should you buy Monster Hunter World?

The good thing about Monster Hunter is that each game is entirely its own, and they all run a reasonably linear format. You create a character who is a Monster Hunter, sent to a new village to help with monster problems and other general requests for the benefit of the village. You start with a small number of relatively easy quests, foraging and fishing for items and fighting small monsters, for example. Larger monsters are then introduced in slightly harder quests.

The monsters can be difficult, and it's important to learn the tells before their moves so you can evade or block their attacks. Monster Hunter has always had a very steep learning curve but remains one of the most addictive and rewarding games you can play. If you really struggle, you can always jump into online almost immediately after starting a new game, so you can be helped by others in online quests and learn behind their protection. It can be intimidating, but knowing you're going to end up decorating yourself in monster skin also has a certain appeal.

How long are Monster Hunter games?

It's not uncommon to spend hundreds of hours on a single save file. Personally, I know I've racked up thousands of hours in Monster Hunter games, and I know others who have tens of thousands. For all those people who complain games aren't long enough anymore, Monster Hunter World will give you that money-to-game time ratio you've been craving for so long.

When will Monster Hunter World be released?

Monster Hunter games are generally dropped in the spring, so March 2018 sounds about right. It is expected to launch on Xbox One and PS4 at the same time, with Windows 10 to follow.