The latest game in Capcom's big-in-Japan franchise, Monster Hunter Tri, will hit North America and Europe early next year, Capcom announced today.
Hot on the heels of the sure-to-be-huge release of Monster Hunter 3 in Japan, Capcom has finally announced plans to release the game in the West. Renamed as Monster Hunter Tri (presumably to avoid confusing gamers already familiar with the complex naming conventions of the series in the West), the game will make its debut on the Wii in the suddenly crowded timeframe of early 2010.
Tri follows the same template as previous Monster Hunter titles on the PSP, PS2 and PC, wherein you play as a hunter who, naturally, hunts monsters in either solo or, more appropriately, co-op play for the purpose of slaying them and harvesting their hides/organs/bones/etc in order to make gigantic swords, bows, guns, armor and more. Tri sports new items, armor, weapons and monsters, including underwater beasts.
One of the most significant additions Tri brings to the Monster Hunter formula, online co-op, also figures as one of its unanswered questions. In Japan, Wi-Fi Monster Hunter goes by a pay-to-play system, not unlike an MMOG. Capcom hasn't revealed its plans for online in Monster Hunter Tri yet, but I can only imagine they won't be doing themselves any favors by charging for multiplayer.
The announcement of the game's localization isn't much of a surprise, considering Capcom's recent push to popularize the franchise, which is a downright phenomenon in Japan, in Western territories. Seems that the last Monster Hunter, Freedom Unite, didn't sell to Capcom's expectations, however, meaning Tri might be the company's biggest (and maybe final) push to earn the series a larger audience outside of Japan.