Capcom will be adding off-screen play and cross-region multiplayer to Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate for the Wii U.

Capcom recently told gamers that the Wii U version of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate would not be featuring off-screen play. This was a disappointment to many fans of the franchise, who had hoped to utilize the Wii U Gamepad to enjoy the title free from the constraints of a television. In response to feedback it received following that announcement, Capcom has now said that it will be making a patch available shortly after the game’s March 22nd release that will add in off-screen functionality. The patch, set to come out in April, will also add cross-region multiplayer to the Wii U version of the game.

This reversal is welcome but also a somewhat surprising about-face. When Capcom initially confirmed that off-screen play would not be a part of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, it explained the exclusion as being a planned decision with the intent of emphasizing the game’s highly customizable HUD. “The way that we approach making the title for the Wii U was that we wanted to make the Wii U GamePad subscreen a compliment to the main screen,” said producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, speaking with Joystiq. “So instead of making the screens replaceable or being able to switch them, we really wanted to make sure that players are utilizing both real estate of the screens, in conjunction with each other.”

The addition of off-screen play will certainly be nice to have, but the inclusion of cross-region multiplayer could arguably be even more significant. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate already boasts some impressive multiplayer options, including the ability for gamers playing on the Wii U to play locally with people using the 3DS version of the game. Even though cross-region play will be limited to just North America and Europe, it bridges a wide gap between many players and could help to strengthen the Monster Hunter community in the long run.

Capcom has long reaped the benefits of Monster Hunter’s popularity in the east, and would definitely stand to gain from from the franchise becoming more prevalent in western markets.

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