(Let me prefaece this by saying that I came up with this idea a while ago and actually wrote out this text wall a few weeks back but have been delaying on posting it. I just recently saw that MH leak (no idea if its true obviously) but I figured I'd get this thought experiment out there before it becomes completely irrelevant, so hope you like it!)
If you are unaware during the development of Monster Hunter Generations they were initially planning to add another weapon type, and one of them was this strange mix of commanding a dog and fighting along side it. They ended up going with adding styles and Prowlers, but I quite like the concept, though they also mentioned that they struggled to make it fun when you’re just commanding something else, which I can also agree with. So I’m going to take a shot at describing my own version of the concept.
First I’m going to change one fundamental concept of the idea. Essentially rather than being a weapon that you choose can pick between having two palicos or one hunting hound, basically being a different pet option. From their the concept of the dog (which for the sake of it they would probably be called Cyanine to reference Felines) can be customized and worked with very similar to a palico. You can choose how the dog looks with stuff like fur color/pattern, ears, face, and tail, basically being able to make “your dog” just like the palicos. You could also craft weapons and armor for them just like the palicos (it would probably be a bit difficult to make a full new set of designs for the dogs as the cats, but hopefully they could share armor designs frequently or some other cost saving method).
In terms of how they play they would somewhat be the opposite of Felines, where the cats are pretty much entirely support oriented, but not much in terms of damage, the dogs will deal a lot of damage, but will require a bit more attention. I imagine the weapon they fight with would be a sword mounted on their back that they grip with their teeth (so Sif/Zacian/DD). They’d deal pretty good damage and be able to hit well enough, but they have no easy method of healing themselves and have a much much longer recharge time if they run out of health(obviously this would be subject to balance so they aren’t overpowered and do the fight for you). On a similar note they’d get distracted easily, chasing after endemic life and bug gathering spots (like an overexcited dog would do). The player would occasionally have to redirect them towards the actual fight when they get the chance. This goes into how the player interacts with them. Their main method of healing would be going up to the hunter and asking for pets. From there the player can pet them and give them belly rubs to heal them, even feed them food to buff them, but obviously doing this in the middle of a fight would be difficult. The only way they can heal themselves would be rolling around in the grass, but that takes much more time. I feel that this not only separates the rather hands off approach that palicos have, but also fits well with Monster Hunter’s tone as it’s plenty goofy to see the dog go from this incredibly cool sword wielding wolf to a regular dog asking you to rub its belly. Obviously it wouldn’t be perfect for all players as it would require taking attention away from the fight, but that’s what palicos are for, being more passive support, while the hound is more active and powerful. It also fits dogs and cats more as dogs are going to be a bit more actively silly in this sense.
A few notes for how they would handle while being played as similar to prowler. Again I’m assuming that palico mechanics are brought a bit more in line with previous games, most notably generations as that was the one with the biggest depth to them, including prowlers. Their actual gameplay would likely be comparable to a prowler with infinite stamina and methods of dodging, but with much less in the way of support skills and a bit more expansive melee system. As stated before they would have high damage on par with a hunter, but would have difficulties healing alone. If you’re playing as one you can have two palicos like normal and they can go about healing you with their spells as well as belly rubs, but you’d obviously have to deal with how they already go about stuff (so not terribly consistent). Maybe there’s even a palico perk that allows them to ride the hound like they do poogie and hit stuff with their weapon, (this could even work if you are playing as a prowler, just in reverse). When playing with other players you again would have to rely on them to give you pets, ideally petting shouldn’t take that long so other players don’t feel like you’re a burden, but you would have methods to heal yourself albeit less useful ones, and I imagine most players would at least be cool with it as long as you aren’t doing particularly bad, partially because its fundamentally difficult to be mad at a dog that wants a belly rub.
A few Miscellaneous things: I can see the idea of feeding the dog different types of meat to give them different power boosts or abilities. That was in the concept art and it certainly opens up options for customization. Maybe when playing solo or online you can still feed yourself, but on a much longer cooldown, or maybe you when you interact with other players online they automatically feed you what you set as your favorite food (like a dog owner leaving a note for a sitter to feed them at a certain time).
Playing with other players that are also dogs could have an animation where both players heal each other by being goofy and playing or do some silly “dogs can pet dogs?!?” stuff.
Crossover and event armor practically make themselves. I assume they would use the animation rig of small jagras/odogaron and such, so you could have armor that straight up lets you play as small versions of those monsters as well as others like Zinogre, girros, and whatever else gets added in the future. Obvious crossovers could be Amaterasu, wolf link, Diamond Dog, Resident Evil’s Zombie Dog, Rush from Megaman, Red XIII, so on and so forth, there’s like a million good choices.
Last bit that I thought would be a funny bit of world building as well as a way to organize your recruits would be to reintroduce Cha-Cha and Kayamba, now grown up as Sakalaka kings (so they look comically buff, but still have the same personalities). They both want to be leaders of their own tribes, but keep failing and eventually get kicked out of the community completely. So now they “enlist”/”enslave” you to help them form a better tribe than the other. So one of them manages the cats and one manages the dogs for you. Keeping up the tradition of letting your spare animals do little minigames and complete their own quests. With comical cutscenes. This has nothing to do with the actual mechanics, but I think the idea is funny and fitting that now all three species of partners are associated with each other. Maybe the last quest involves them going “to war” with each other and you have to help them build machines of “mass destruction” only for the “war” to start and all the animals just end up playing with each other while the Shakalaka’s machines just end up exploding and planting them face first in the dirt.
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© Post "Here’s my idea on how to make the scrapped Hunting Hound weapon type" for game Monster Hunter World.
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