Capcom has announced that the next installment in its hugely popular monster-battling RPG series will be Monster Hunter Stories, due for release next year on 3DS. So far the publisher has only announced its intentions to release the game in its native Japan, but fans will no doubt hope to see it reaching Western shores as well.
The announcement came during Capcom’s recent Monster Hunter Fest ’15 Finals event, giving attendant fans their first glimpse of the future of their favorite series.
Monster Hunter Stories is rather different from what we’re used to seeing from the franchise. Far the more realistic proportions and aesthetic of the main games, Stories adopts a cel-shaded anime style. Monsters are also smaller than what we’ve come to expect – small enough that the unnamed protagonist will be able to ride around on them. In the Japanese announcement trailer below you can see him riding a miniature Rathalos, accompanied by a Felyne sidekick.
It wasn’t mentioned specifically, but it seems that you could get the chance to ride other monsters, too. Monster Hunter producer Ryozo Tsujimito said that players will take the role of a Rider instead of a Hunter this time around, and that the story will focus on the relationship between the main character and his Monsters.
“After having passed the 10th anniversary last year, this is a new challenge for the Monster Hunter series, that we’ve began designing since about five years ago,” Tsujimoto said, “while staying true to the world of Monster Hunter, and a story that can only be told through an RPG, we’d like to pack it with fun and enjoyment that we can’t even begin to describe with words.”
“It is still in the middle of development, we’d like to offer you a new kind of excitement that is different from the conventional series, and the development staff are working on it in full-spirit,” he finished.
The visuals shown off in the trailer – presumably in-game, if the lack of aliasing on display is anything to go by – are certainly impressive, possibly among the best seen on Nintendo’s handheld. Take a look for yourself:
The last Monster Hunter game on 3DS was Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate. Nic reviewed the game for Continue Play, awarding it 9/10 and saying it’s by far one of the most impressive installments in the series to date, but lamenting the poor camera controls unless you play it with a Circle Pad Pro or on a New 3DS.
“Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is easily the most accessible Monster Hunter game ever made, but that accessibility hasn’t come at the expense of the staggering depth that the series is known for,” Nic wrote in his Monster Hunter Ultimate 4 Review. “The menagerie of monsters is vast, you can easily spend upwards of 100 hours playing – especially if you venture online – and Capcom has done a decent job of improving some of the niggles which have plagued the series since the first instalment, while adding enough new features to make it a worthy addition.”