Main points of interest:
Returning monsters' animations are kept basically unchanged because those game design aspects have also become a part of the monsters' character, but the skeletons always have to be reviewed. A monster just imported from a past game would not fit with MHW's game design, so in that sense, it's basically remade. The direction they want to aim for is a mixture of nostalgia and freshness.
If you find that certain monsters may have had some changes in proportions, the monsters' skeletons are adjusted to make them easier to deal with in the new game, so that's why you might see some differences.
The underground cave is a warm area where most of the monsters in Hoarfrost Reach live. Banbaro will basically patrol this warm locale but occasionally go out into the snowy woods to feed. Of course, carnivores also live down there, so some places may end up reminding you a little of the Rotten Vale.
You have to befriend small monsters first before being able to use them as mounts. Just because the function is introduced in Iceborne doesn't mean you'll be able to use it right away.
There will of course be Master Rank quests on the existing maps, with some monsters who haven't been seen on those maps before. There will naturally be Master Rank investigations as well.
There are several title updates planned for Iceborne. They're planning on additional monsters, but they of course can't say which ones. They've already made their plans, but of course they may be adjusted depending on player reception, so they can't announce anything until their plans are set in stone.
Players who own Iceborne will be able to play with people who do not own the expansion. Players who do not own Iceborne will not be able to use the new functions like the additional attacks or the clutch claw, but that doesn't stop them from playing with the ones who do. They also will not be able to join Master Rank quests, but there is no hard divide in the playerbase.
In the old days, G rank would usually just adjust monster stats, but nowadays, that would make things rather stale, so monsters will also get new actions. If you've played recent G rank games, this shouldn't feel too different.
No plans for collaborations yet.
The decision to add slots to mantles was made because they thought that players in master rank were only really going to be using a small handful of mantles, so they wanted to add a greater element of choice to which mantles to bring along on a quest.
Japanese players will be able to get their hands on the demo as well.
Because there isn't that much info out yet, people may think that there aren't going to be that many additional monsters, but that is absolutely not the case. They simply do not want to reveal everything in one go, and they will reveal more things over time.
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