Monster Hunter World has had one amazing crop of new, free content after another. Its paid expansion, Iceborne, paved the way for new monsters and gear added to the game practically every couple weeks. COVID put the kibosh on things for a little while, but we’re currently back in the swing of things with returning event quests and Frostfang Barioth dropping amazing new armor. But all good things must come to an end! And the end of MHW is finally upon us.
The official Monster Hunter Twitter account has teased a new Dev Diary for something called “The Last Stand.” That sounds pretty apocalyptic! But it’s even more conclusive in Japanese, where the title apparently translates to “Developer Diary Final.” As you can see from the tweet, the diary is scheduled for Aug. 28, 2020, at 5 p.m. PDT. That’s shortly after the weekly MHW reset — presumably to give the news some distance after Gamescom and its Opening Night Live glut of announcements.
Update: The Dev Diary is live! Here are the full details.
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#Iceborne Developer Diary: The Final Stand imminent! You won’t want to miss this one…
— Monster Hunter (@monsterhunter) August 26, 2020
We don’t know much else beyond that! But that hasn’t stopped folks (like us) from speculating. Presumably the diary will touch upon the already announced “returning monster” that’s slated for “this fall.” Master Rank Layered Armor (i.e. transmog) and a new fest (i.e. seasonal event) are also on the docket.
It wouldn’t be absurd to think this will mark the last, major free update for MHW. Though it’s also possible Capcom will announce even more new stuff and break it out into chunks — as the developer did with Stygian Zinogre and Safi’Jiva. Not to mention minor updates, like new limited-time event quests, don’t usually get their own Dev Diaries. So it’s possible we’ll have some new stuff for months to come.
The real question mark is who that returning monster might be. The smart money, of course, is on the iconic Fatalis: a cataclysmic black dragon with deep ties to Monster Hunter lore. A modern version of Fatalis was previously depicted in some Monster Hunter anniversary artwork. As were several other past monsters not currently in MHW. But Fatalis alone got a high-resolution artwork focused entirely on it — fueling rumors that the dragon would be added at a later date. Well, if this is truly “The Last Stand,” now would be the time to reintroduce the beast.
Yet another quadrupedal dragon with wings entering the game would be just a little bit boring. We’ve already gotten Safi’Jiva and Alatreon in post-release content. But Fatalis is a fan favorite that MHW players have never gotten to face before. Maybe that makes it a wash.
Whatever the monster, the timing for this announcement makes sense. Monster Hunter games typically release, receive an expansion (or a “G” version before Iceborne), and a year of free updates. Then Capcom switches on the event quests permanently and moves on to the next full game.
So don’t fret! Even if this is end of new content altogether, the game will continue to run for years to come. If past trends hold up, you’ll still be able to log in for online player years after the next mainline entry in the series.
There’s anywhere between a three to five year gap between “generations” of Monster Hunter. But given the international success of MHW, I would be shocked if the publisher didn’t turn Monster Hunter World 2 (or whatever it ends up being called) around faster than usual. Plus there are multiple Monster Hunter dev teams. It’s entirely likely that some sort of successor is already in the works.
We’ll know more — at least about The Last Stand and the next MHW title update — this Friday.