Monster Hunter World

MH Rise and the Moon motif

MonsterHunterWorld9 - MH Rise and the Moon motif
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I've been going over the available footage and screenshots and noticed that the moon/night seem to be an important theme in the game. I've decided to look a little deeper and speculate some. Here's what I got.

My jumping-off point is that The Rampage in Japanese is called Hyakuryu Yagyō, which rather directly references Hyakki Yagyō; translated as 'Night Parade of One Hundred Demons' and switched up to 'Night Parade of One Hundred Wyverns' in Rise. This is the central dramatic point of the game. In folklore, it is an event where an unusually large sighting of yōkai occurs (a temporary merging of our world with the supernatural one, of sorts). Taking into account that all of the new monsters shown are heavily based on yōkai, it further confirms that Hyakki Yagyō is important throughout the whole game.

This is when I started theorizing that night (and subsequently the moon) play a big role thematically. Few things that seem to indicate that this is the case:

  • In the trailer, when the night falls for the first time, there's a distinct filter used. In cinematic language, it's usually associated with old footage, or something horrific. You can see it here, look for black vertical lines:
    1gBT6dm - MH Rise and the Moon motif
    https://i.imgur.com/1gBT6dm.jpg My assumption is that this done to tell us that a (or rather: the) night is something to be afraid of and a big deal.

  • To stay on this screenshot a while, this purple wisp seems to have an interaction with Magnamalo later. My guess is that the wisp is a yōkai itself (Onibi?) and is haunting/enraging monsters. It could simultaneously be a new game mechanic and a plot point.

  • Similarly, all the monsters shown at night are kicking the hunter's butt, while during the daylight the hunter's shown to have the upper hand. I'm assuming that this communicates that when the night happens, the monsters become more dangerous. They have scary orange-glowing eyes to boot!

  • The opening shot, traditionally used to set up the mood and themes of the story, heavily features pampas grass, which is associated with Tsukimi festivals… meaning literally 'moon-viewing'. The very first shot already tells us that the moon is important:
    2U02P8M - MH Rise and the Moon motif
    https://i.imgur.com/2U02P8M.jpg

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  • …as does the closing shot, which pans the camera up to show not only our antagonist monster, but the moon directly behind it.
    eRajas4 - MH Rise and the Moon motif
    https://i.imgur.com/eRajas4.jpg

  • One of the three promotional screenshots shows off the moon and pampas grass as well, so it's no coincidence
    JIP3KJb - MH Rise and the Moon motif
    https://i.imgur.com/JIP3KJb.jpg

  • The hunter is specifically designed to be a ninja, not a samurai. Ninjas operated under the cover of night.

  • As a bonus aside, the logo looks as if two monsters are chasing each other perpetually. It's giving me strong day/night cycle vibe, although that's more of a Sköll and Hati wolves vibe from Norse mythology… 'Rise' could refer to Moonrise and Sunrise, but that's a reach.

Based on all of the above, I'm almost convinced that the moon and nighttime will be important not only thematically, but also gameplay-wise. Not to mention, there is also a lot of design space for nocturnal monsters (bats, moths, owls), but also a few yōkai that fit:

  • Genbu is a snake/tortoise yōkai directly related to the moon, and a silhouette we haven't seen before, so it'd make for a good candidate for a monster. He's an important one at that, maybe going into Elder Dragon category.
  • Gyokuto is a rabbit, not only related to the moon, but also to mochi making process, which we saw referenced in-game already
    1Pla3Tu - MH Rise and the Moon motif
    https://i.imgur.com/1Pla3Tu.jpg Plus, we already saw rabbit monsters the franchise, so it's not a stretch to have one in
  • I guess Katsura otoko is literally an evil moon, but that's too wild for MonHun. Imagine fighting the moon. Ridiculous.

I'm really excited to see what other bits of information are gonna be revealed in the upcoming months, but in the meantime – is there anything else you noticed?

Happy hunting!

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