Monster Hunter Wilds trailer analysis: Details you might have missed as the series heads to the badlands

Screenshot from Monster Hunter Wilds reveal trailer
(Image credit: Capcom)

What you need to know

  • Monster Hunter Wilds, the seventh major installment of the Monster Hunter franchise, has been revealed at The Game Awards 2023.
  • A reveal trailer teases that the game will have a desert/Badlands setting with environmental hazards, mounts similar to Monster Hunter Rise's Palamutes will return, alongside new and familiar monsters to hunt.
  • Monster Hunter Wilds is scheduled to be released in 2025 for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam.

Thanks to 2023's Game Awards, tons of new announcements alongside release dates for highly anticipated upcoming Xbox games, and a massive amount of upcoming PC titles, it's been one of the most exciting years ever for gamers. The biggest highlight for me was Capcom finally revealing Monster Hunter Wilds, the next major entry in the Monster Hunter series.

This game will be the first Monster Hunter title designed for the current console generation with Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. Judging from the trailer, it looks like this entry aims to take full advantage of next-gen hardware to push the series to even greater heights of immersion and gameplay than Monster Hunter World did.

So, let's dive deep into this trailer and analyze it to see what we can expect from this long-awaited next-gen successor to Monster Hunter World.

Monster Hunter is going wild in the Badlands

The world of Monster Hunter is a wild place to live in. (Image credit: Capcom)

The first thing that strikes me about this trailer is the setting. It looks like the main area in which Monster Hunter Wilds will take place is a desert or Badlands-style environment. A vast desert, minimal vegetation, and plenty of mountains are in the distance. 

Monster Hunter has featured desert-style locales in the past but never on the colossal sense of scale and immersion that this trailer hints at. For example, the trailer shows that the player will have to contend with dangerous weather patterns, such as sandstorms and thunderstorms, while hunting monsters. 

Now granted, that isn't to say Monster Hunter Wilds will only take place in the desert. Previous Monster Hunter games had a variety of locales to hunt in to complement the main hunting grounds, like swamps, forests, ice lands, and volcanoes, but we'll wait to see more.

A land potentially bigger than all of Monster Hunter World awaits you. (Image credit: Capcom)

The end of the trailer showcases a giant view of the desert area, which stretches for miles with creatures running around. This could imply that the player can also traverse and explore this expansive land. If that's the case, Monster Hunter Wilds could be the first genuinely open-world game in the series. 

This means that Monster Hunter's small sandbox zones may be replaced by gigantic open worlds as big as those seen in iconic open-world games such as The Witcher 3 or Grand Theft Auto

Giddy-up as mounts are here to stay

Run for your life against the coming sandstorms. (Image credit: Capcom)

The next striking element shown is that Monster Hunter Wilds will feature the return of mounts. A playable character is seen with an Iron Greatsword riding on a velociraptor mount, trying to escape a horde of monsters and a giant sandstorm. This mount can run great distances, glide through the air, and make high jumps to cross rocky terrain. 

Mounts were a game mechanic introduced in the spin-off series Monster Hunter Stories, where the player could tame monsters like Pokémon and ride them into hunts.

Use your mount's abilities to overcome precarious terrain and avoid getting struck by lightning. (Image credit: Capcom)

The mainline series started dabbling into the idea in Monster Hunter World: Iceborne with the Raider Ride mechanic. It lets players summon small monsters and transport them to destinations selected on a map, but they have no direct control over them. 

Monster Hunter Rise expanded on this concept much further by introducing Palamutes. These were giant dog mounts that the player could directly control while riding and aided them in battle alongside the series' iconic cat helpers, the Palicos.

After seeing this new velociraptor in Monster Hunter Wilds, it's clear that mounts in the mainline Monster Hunter series are here to stay for good. Not to mention, it looks like mounts will be a necessity in this game as there will be leagues of more ground to cover than in previous games, and there will be plenty of fast-changing weather hazards to avoid. In short, trekking on foot is looking to be no longer a viable travel option.

Another thing to note about the mount is that it appears to carry bags, camping equipment, and a Bowgun of some kind. This is speculation on my part, but this could mean the mount may also provide the means to let players camp anywhere on the map now instead of resting at pre-fixed locations like in previous games. Mounts may allow players to switch weapon load-outs in the middle of combat. 

New desert-themed monsters and familiar foes

Some monsters are peaceful and will not attack the player unless provoked. (Image credit: Capcom)

The last major element revealed is, of course, the new monsters. Monster Hunter Wilds' trailer shows us some new monsters that will populate this desert-themed locale. The first new monster we see is a herd of peaceful, Pangolin-looking dinosaurs. Some of these dinosaurs have giant spikes growing out of their backs, which look like they act as lightning rods to protect their herd from being struck by lightning during thunderstorms, as seen in the trailer.

We also see some tiny creatures resembling the Compsognathus dinosaur running in front of monsters that resemble a raptor and buffalo mixture. The last new monster is a pack of vicious beasts similar to a cross between Bernese Mountain dogs and bears, chasing the player and attacking the smaller monsters.

New lands means new monsters to hunt. (Image credit: Capcom)

The trailer's final shot shows that Monster Hunter's mascot monster, Rathalos the Flying Wyvern, will also return to this game. From what we can gather, Monster Hunter Wilds' roster of new monsters will be returning to a more grounded and realistic aesthetic compared to Monster Hunter Rise's roster of mythologically inspired beasties. And these are just the small monsters, so I can't wait to see what the larger new monsters will look like.

Are you ready for the next generation of hunts?

And there you have our first glimpse into the next generation of Monster Hunter. As a diehard Monster Hunter fan, I'm thrilled to see the series moving forward to next-gen consoles. We can finally see the full power of Capcom's RE Engine breathe new life into Monster Hunter, much like it has done for Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Street Fighter.

On the downside, the wait for this title will be painful as Monster Hunter Wilds won't be coming out until 2025 for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, PlayStation 5, and PC via Steam. I can't wait to see more of what Monster Hunter Wilds has in store and see if it has what it takes to top Monster Hunter World as one of the franchise's best Xbox games.

Have you spotted any hidden details we missed in the trailer? Let me know in the comments, and let's theorize.

Alexander Cope

Alexander Cope is a gaming veteran of 30-plus years, primarily covering PC and Xbox games here on Windows Central. Gaming since the 8-bit era, Alexander's expertise revolves around gaming guides and news, with a particular focus on Japanese titles from the likes of Elden Ring to Final Fantasy. Alexander is always on deck to help our readers conquer the industry's most difficult games — when he can pry himself away from Monster Hunter that is!