Augmented-reality and location-based game developer Niantic is set to partner with gaming giant Capcom on a new mobile game based on their long-running Monster Hunter Franchise.
Announced with a teaser trailer, Monster Hunter Now is a new title that looks set to follow Niantic’s existing catalogue of AR mobile games. The game is based on Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise, which is second only to monster hit (pun intended) Resident Evil in terms of sales. The teaser trailer shows off mainly third-person gameplay very similar to the core series entries and represents an interesting new spin on Niantic’s catalogue.
Players can sign up for a closed beta here.
In their official release for the game, Capcom commented on their desires for mobile. “The game aims to deliver a new experience that blends the appeal of the Monster Hunter series with Niantic’s development technology, with features that allow players to team up with others for hunts, or to hunt monsters that were encountered while the app was closed later in their spare time.”
Breaking from convention
Monster Hunter Now differs slightly from Niantic’s other AR fare. Rather than utilising the player’s camera from a first-person perspective, the third-person hack & slash gameplay that Monster Hunter is known for is still very much integrated into the title. Although travelling to real-world locations to hunt down monsters is still the focus, players can seemingly expect something that isn’t too much of a departure from previous titles in the series.
Capcom and Niantic teaming up certainly represents a new and exciting partnership, but also represents a maturing of Niantic’s development. While Niantic can boast of the mobile megahit Pokémon Go in its catalogue, it’s also had a number of cancelled titles in more recent times such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Catan: World Explorers since. Similar attempts to capitalise on the same AR gameplay including The Witcher: Monster Slayer have also been equally rocky for even major developers like CD Projekt RED and subsidiary Spokko.
This could partially be attributed to these titles not translating as well as Pokémon did to the AR gameplay style. With similar if not the same gameplay just with a different theme. However, Monster Hunter looks to be an evolution of this, a “best of both worlds” approach that keeps things familiar but with Niantic’s own personal stamp on it, again similar to another spin-off title, Pikmin Bloom.
As far as potential success goes, Monster Hunter already has a significant multiplayer community thanks to the title’s extensive co-op features. Being able to bring the title to mobile devices may prove just as lucrative as Niantic’s flagship venture with Pokémon - only this time the monsters are much, much more monstrous.