You see, this post is more in line with a fair criticism than a claim that it is an amplified colonialist fantasy, in my opinion. I’m so glad you used the term terra nullius because that is precisely what Monster Hunter World in general tries to represent.
A discussion of how a representation of an actual terra nullius in a game is problematic because it pretends there are no negative consequences of establishing a settlement and hunting is completely appropriate.
This is what I was trying to get at earlier when I said, “I think it’s fair to criticize Iceborne for not containing any actual commentary about colonialism given the nature of its setting and its focus on hunting.”
I’d love if anyone here would be able to point to a resource for learning what “colonialist fantasy” actually means because honestly I’m getting told by moderators here that it means something different from what I would have thought it meant. I’m being told it does not imply justification for subjugation, genocide, and pillaging.
Yet @tobascodagama is rightfully pointing out that terra nullius was a justification for colonialism in the real world—one that papered over genocide and pillaging.
Thing is, Iceborne isn’t using terra nullius to do that. So in order to level a criticism of colonialism at Iceborne, we are essentially taking the stance that by even representing an environment of this type, it is being “colonialist” despite not having any other elements of actual colonialism nor any other elements of justifications for colonialism that would qualify as “colonialist fantasy”.
I think maybe I’ve been unclear. I am not saying there are zero elements that could be seen as problematic through a colonialist context. I’m merely saying for it to be part of the headline here, for it to be the major criticism seems, well… once again, @Noelle808 said it better than I ever could:
So on one hand, it’s absolutely fair to consider games in a colonialist context, even games whose themes only gesture towards the broad strokes of colonial history. On the other, self-flagellation over engaging with art that can be interpreted as colonialist is largely an act of personal catharsis that doesn’t contribute to decolonization efforts.