2017 has seen the rise of the loot box system enter AAA gaming in a big way. Most recently, Shadow of War implemented the purchasable items as a way to acquire Orcs and weapons, and EA addressed player concerns for the system in the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront II. But the major argument for the system tends to focus on players who don’t have hours to invest in a game to earn incremental rewards. In a way, loot boxes can potentially level the playing field
Monster Hunter World, like previous games in the series revolves around killing mbadive beasts over and over again and then carving them up for the chance to get rare parts to turn into new gear. So loot boxes seem like something Capcom could have considered as a way to give newcomers to the series more chances to get some of the rare loot that otherwise requires lots of luck and even more skill.
During a recent preview event, I asked Monster Hunter series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto whether his team ever considered adding loot boxes to Monster Hunter World. “I think that Monster Hunter has already built that kind of randomized, item reward into the gameplay,” he answered. “Whenever you carve a monster after a hunt, you don’t know what you’re gonna get within a certain range. You’ve got certain rare parts that you almost never get. You’ve got some of the ones you don’t need that you get a lot of. And then there are the rewards for the quest as well. There are some [rewards] that are standard, there are some that are randomized, and a bit bigger or smaller chance of getting them.”
He explained that it just felt like Monster Hunter World doesn’t need that kind of system. “You’ve already kind of got loot as a core gameplay aspect without having to shove a microtransaction version of it in,” Tsujimoto said.
The mechanics are, essentially, a part of the game, but what about saving a player’s time? “Our focus is on wanting to get people to play our action game and feel the kind of satisfaction that comes with the achievement you get with completing a hunt and getting rewards,” Tsujimoto said. “We want people to have the experience that we’ve made for them rather than the option to skip the experience.”
In a separate interview game director Yuuya Tokuda echoed that response. “I wouldn’t see a paid loot box or paid system for getting random items as fitting Monster Hunter because it isn’t a game where the strength of the items is the key aspect of how you proceed,” he said. “The idea is that the time you spend hunting and the action part of the game is how you brush up on your skills. And then of course you get rewards of better items; but by skipping out on the part where you get better and hunt–if you’re simply getting more items–I don’t think that’ll be a very satisfying experience for players because it wouldn’t even necessarily make it that much more of a time saver if you haven’t got the skill to use the items you’ve gotten.”
“I think the games that successfully do loot box systems are designed around them completely from the outside and they’re a core part of the gameplay loot,” added Monster Hunter World game director Kaname Fujioka. “Whereas as our loop, it’s more based on the gameplay action itself, then gathering items, then using that to create better gear, and then using that to go and do more action gameplay. We would have to fundamentally rethink our gameplay loop. When you’re including loot boxes you have to make them desirable to players and make them want to have them by introducing them in basic gameplay. And then that leads to further opportunities for purchasing to save time or get cooler items. And with our gameplay, we can’t just put them in there and have it work. We’d have to have a substantial re-think, which is not something we’re particularly planning to do at this time.”
While Monster Hunter World does introduce some new mechanics and refinements, it’s a game that seems to also stay true to the franchise’s core gameplay loop. You can read about our impressions with the first 12 hours of the game, as well as additional comments from the developers in our preview feature here.
But if you’re eager to just try the game yourself, a beta will be coming to PS4 for PlayStation Plus subscribers in December. And the full game launches on PS4, Xbox One, and PC worldwide on January 26 of next year.