Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is still tormenting us with an early 2015 here in the West, though we can expect plenty of enticing details to emerge ahead of its arrival. This version will have a lot of additional content over the original that was Japan-only, though there are aspects of that first version that will nevertheless feel new to Western audiences.

One of these is Guild Quests, which will be separate from the main quests and take over from the Free Hunt aspect of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, in which you would simply pass some time collecting resources and hunting assorted monsters. In the new entry that free-roaming spirit will be encouraged, with more motivation given to step outside standard campaign progression or fixed online quests.

Guild Quests will offer up variety in multiple ways — for one they'll reward hunts and activities with special items and weapons with different, randomised properties. That aspect of random generation will carry across into the general environment, too. The area will be called Unknown Forest but will be different every time you jump in, and in addition the layout and monsters will vary every time you visit. Series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto outlined how it'd work and why gamers should be excited, while speaking to Siliconera.

The big difference is that the standard quests are a little rigid in their structure. You get a very specific task, and you go out and do that task — kill that monster and come right back. It feels a little bit like work in that sense.

What we wanted to do was have something a little lighter, where you can goof around a little bit. Maybe you don’t fulfil the objective you intended to, and just get some items or whatever and come back. It still feels like you did something. So it’s kind of a lighter affair, and this is where the Guild Quests come into play.

There’s an element of randomization to the Guild Quest system, where you’re not entirely sure what kind of map you’re going to get, and what’s going to be out there. Within this randomized system, there are maps we consider to be ‘good’ and maps that are ‘not so good,’ and you can actually exchange these back-and-forth with other players.

...The way it works is that you’ve got these pre-determined [map] parts, and all that really changes in the randomization is how they’re connected together, since the Monster Hunter maps are always a big ‘master map’ with smaller ones within. When we talk about the idea of there being good or advantageous maps versus bad ones, the best kind that you’re really after is where, as soon as you leave your camp — boom — there’s a big monster for you to fight. There’s lots of elevation shifts so you can do jump attacks. That sort of thing.

...Up until now, you could collect all the weapons in Monster Hunter, and once you’ve collected them all, you say, ‘Okay, now what? I’ve got all there is to get.’ No more. Because now there are randomly-generated parameters, so you will never truly have all of them, and there will always be something for you to get your hands on.

Do you like the sound of these Guild Quests in the Unknown Forest?