The Witcher 3 and Monster Hunter World Are Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together
Right now, you can listen to Geralt of Rivia, wandering about the Ancient Forest, talking to himself. This crossover event with The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is the second non-Capcom event to hit Monster Hunter World, following last summer’s Final Fantasy XIV event, which featured an extremely challenging boss fight with a giant Kulu Ya-ku. There was also a Behemoth.
This MHW x Witcher thing is significantly better than I anticipated. The FFXIV crossover was pretty good, however, you could easily sum it up as a typical Monster Hunter quest, but with the option to “tank” the monster. They sprinkled in some of Final Fantasy XIV’s music and HUD elements (the most amusing of which was floating text with the titles of the attacks you did – most players didn’t even know Monster Hunter attacks have names) but that was about it.
This Witcher event is basically a miniature version of The Witcher 3, set in Monster Hunter World’s Ancient Forest area. The setup is that a mysterious portal has dumped a nekker, Geralt, and other Witcher things into the New World. Geralt explains that magic just exists where he’s from and these things happen, but it’s okay, because he’s in the business of witching and business is good.
That’s where this crossover first becomes a pleasant surprise. Magic, or really anything like magic, is never mentioned in Monster Hunter World. Everything in its fiction is explained as biological phenomena, and no one ever implies things are supernatural. The writing in Geralt’s introductory cutscene reflects this, as your MHW crew is legitimately flabbergasted by what they’re hearing.
It really gets weird once the team decides to let Geralt handle this hunt alone. You’ll play this quest as the witcher himself, and not as “The Sapphire Star”. Gameplay-wise, he controls like any other hunter. He starts equipped with a sword and shield, mechanically, but they’re Witcher-ed up a bit. The blade is a silver sword, and there’s no visible shield. Instead, blocking puts a circle effect around Geralt. Witcher fans will understand the silver sword and the Quen spell, but the game just lets you roll with it.
Monster Hunter Geralt also has a version of the Igni sign. You use it just like any other consumable item in MHW, and it does what Igni does, but the cooldown is brutal. You can swap to any of World’s weapon types, but the only one with any added Witcher flavor is sword and shield, which I stuck with for as long as I could tolerate it. If it helps your roleplaying, remember that SnS users can use items without sheathing their weapons, meaning you can cast Igni somewhat similarly to how you would in The Witcher.
The quest itself is the centerpiece of this whole crossover. It’s structured like one of The Witcher’s open-world quests, rather than a Monster Hunter assignment. From the outset, you don’t have any information on what you’re actually hunting, so you follow map markers and chat up NPCs. In what was a huge surprise to me, these NPC conversations have dialogue choices like you’d find in The Witcher games. You (as Geralt) can ask for clues for your investigation, or just choose optional choices, like asking that weird botanist guy why he’s so into botany. Whoever handled the writing for these conversations did a good job of adding depth to these Monster Hunter characters you see all the time. The actors also stepped up their game. Until this event, these NPCs were basically just menus, so it’s refreshing to see them become somewhat more human. And speaking of voice acting, Geralt’s actors return to their roles for this event, even across multiple languages.
This solo quest naturally becomes more complicated. As you follow the trails (literally and figuratively), you’ll encounter hints that point toward side quests. There are exactly two of them, and they each come with brand new, fantastic-looking, fully-voiced cutscenes. Like the “main” quest of this event, they add some unexpected depth to existing Monster Hunter concepts, along with some decent humor. I also personally appreciated the conversation Geralt can have with the Handler about your Monster Hunter World player character. It puts the ridiculously epic feats you’ve accomplished into a different perspective. And if you’ve ever wanted to feel something other than abject hatred towards the Gajalaka there’s something for you in these side quests as well.
If you’re like me, all of these in-depth conversations and quest chains sound very not-Monster Hunter. The big thing to takeaway from this Witcher event is that they brought over The Witcher 3’s most-praised aspect: its quest writing. Somehow all of this translates perfectly into the Monster Hunter setting, and, since it focuses on this game’s story and not that of The Witcher, people who’ve never heard of The Bloody Baron will still get a meaningful experience out of it. And, for what it’s worth, the target you eventually have to hunt is a significant challenge. One of my attempts to clear the main and side quests in one go (a feat which will net you a guild card title) lasted until literally the last half second of the 50-minute quest timer.
Your rewards for all of this are as follows:
Materials to craft Geralt’s silver sword as a sword and shield-type weapon.
A Geralt armor set (which, like the Ryu and Sakura sets, must be worn as a full set).
An item that allows your hunter to cast Igni.
Guild card titles and a dope background and pose.
A set of nekker gear for your palico, if you want the ugliest possible palico.
One guaranteed attack decoration.
All told, even though it’s only one quest (with multiple endings!), the Monster Hunter World x The Witcher 3 event is a huge success. It’s executed far better than I personally expected, and it has the right amount of small Witcher references, and valuable Monster Hunter rewards, to be worth any player’s time. This event is active now on PS4 and Xbox One, and does not expire, as far as I can tell.
“Got friends who should read this article. Should share it to ‘em. Can use the buttons below.” - Geralt of Rivia