Monster Hunter World

After reading an interview about MonHun Stories, I’m wondering if the Equal Dragon Weapon might not be as noncanon as some people think.

main img base 1024x624 - After reading an interview about MonHun Stories, I'm wondering if the Equal Dragon Weapon might not be as noncanon as some people think.
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A prime criticism I hear of the EDW is that it come from an artbook that is almost a decade old. Which is…. yeah. But at the same time… it's exactly the sort of stuff one can expect from lore book content. A thing people easily forget about the process of writing worldbuilding content is you're not just writing content for a single or even some games. You're writing the content for the world those games will be set in. And the thing is… chances are that world will always be bigger than any of your games will always be able to contain.

In a way, the artbook already tells us why we have not seen the Equal Dragon Weapon yet, let alone heard of it in any games: the description itself flat out says the only example of it that was found was a corpse found in a single ancient civilization warehouse. As some say, "it's dead, Jim". You can't really fight a corpse. And being the subject(possibly secret) of studies by scholars, it's not exactly the sort of stuff a hunter will ever exposed to. So there haven't really ever been reason to show it in games since they can't have a fight patterned around a creature that is implied to be extinct.

So it can still be 100% canon, yet never be in any games because they haven't felt the need to.

Now I mention Monster Hunter Stories in the title and there's a reasons for that. Now one of the criticism of talk about the arbook that mention it is that it's a decade old. On an unrelated degree, some of the criticism of Ancient Civilization lore is how a lot of mention of it is purely from the likes of minor weapon descriptions which are considered sometimes throwaway lines at best by some.

Now, you know what is a decade old? Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, released in Japan in 2008. An item in the game is this one: http://monsterhunter.wikia.com/wiki/Grayburg_Javelin In it's description is this line(again, written in 2008), almost a throwaway deal, that shortly state: "Lance of the Iron Knights, mercenaries said to seek the secrets of Dragonriding."

Now it's a throwaway deal. But this item description from 2008 mention two things: A thing called dragonriding(that one could guess as the act of riding dragons)… and that it's apparently somewhat secretive. If anything, if it was public knowledge these knights would have had to "seek" it.

Now enter 2016, eight years later. Monster Hunter Stories is released in Japan. A spin-off game that take a deviation from the norm by being a turn-based jRPG…. and also by focusing not on hunters but on a boy from a secluded and almost hidden society of humans who have learned the art of riding monsters.

If having acquaintance involved in the art of worldbuilding in a studio taught me something… that's not a coincidence. Okay, it's easy to dismiss the canonicity of Stories. After all, it's a spin-off. Not a core Monster Hunter game. But in 2016, devs were interviewed by Famitsu about it: https://nintendoeverything.com/capcom-on-monster-hunter-stories-world-systems-game-length-amiibo-and-more/ One of the important blurbs though: "Famitsu: Please tell us the details on how you planned this game." "Tsujimoto: While we were making the Monster Hunter series, there were a lot of users who became interested in the world setting and the monsters’ livelihood. So from there we’d like to make an RPG based on these as concepts. We had been talking about this since around 2010."

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Literally, a lot of the motivation behind it was "users who became interested in the world setting and the monsters' livehood". The mention of "interested in the world setting" is, in my opinion, the biggest proof needed to believe that game too is very much canon. And if I recall well, Fatalis is supposed to play a large part in it so considering all the controversy around it, knowing it's present/involved in a game that sound like it was specifically made and designed to explore elments of the Monster Hunter setting's lore/canon/etc has me further curious to try it out someday(doubly moreso that I've had a nasty itch for turn-based games lately and just wishes it'd get ported to Switch).

So in a way, while it does answer this other question in such a way: "Famitsu: Did you also make the setting for Riders at that time?" "Tsujimoto: We wanted to give a spotlight to the monsters. We created a position different from Hunters, which are Riders who coexist with monsters. And I think it’d be fun if you could look at Hunters from their point of view, and also if you could pet monsters."

While they mention they seemingly "created" Riders for this game… my feeling is that with the likes of Freedom Unite's throwaway line about dragonriding they probably had the loose concept of "monster riders" kicking around their head in design documents since the very beginning of things, even if only in a vague form. They just had never had an occasion to expand upon it…. until Stories.

My feeling is that, especially with the fact they went ouf of their way to include not just a piece of art but an actual piece of what might as well lore writing next to it in that artbook…. the Equal Dragon Weapon and a lot of those throwaway lines about the ancient civilization in the likes of the Artian set may very well be just as canon as the "dragonriding" that may as well have led to Monster Hunter Stories' Riders. Even if it was just vague stuff, just the presence of it still nonetheless immediately gave them a foundation from which to develop a mean to complete their goal of a "a game in the monster hunter universe able to give a perspective closer to the monster's" and at the same time produce a game in an entirely different genre and gameplay style.

Which is the point of worldbuilding. You don't write stuff just for what you know will be included in the games. You write stuff that will go beyond anything you'll ever include in games because you never know what games you may actually want to even create later down the lines, as far back as a decade after you started. It's why the game industry can be so appealing to many writers because games provide a perfect platform to not just write stories but design entire worlds.

So with the likes of this… it is true that no devs went out of their way to claim the Equal Dragon Weapon as canon. At least as far as I know. But at the same time…. neither had they for dragonriding(afaik) until the release of Stories.

But knowing they went through the effort of writing those lines and printing them out in an artbook, even one a decade old(like that dragonriding mention under a lance description in Freedom Unite)…. I'm tempted to err on the side that the Equal Dragon Weapon may well be canon until or unless a dev come out to say it's noncanon.

After all, being a corpse found in a warehouse and studied by scholars… it doesn't have to show in any game and yet still exist as part of canon lore documents somewhere in the files written by writers employed by the studios. Like dragonriding… it may simply they haven't had a need or cause to include it in any games.

Because like said the point of worldbuilding is to go beyond what your games themselves will cover. Because you're not creating any single game but the world itself whose self will have to go beyond the scope of any of your single game. Especially if you want to make games at the franchise scale.


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