Shot of the player-created protagonist in Monster Hunter 4 for the 3DS

At the recent Capcom Summer Jam event in Japan, the publisher unveiled a new gameplay trailer for its 3DS game, Monster Hunter 4. The video concludes with a splash screen announcing a spring 2013 release (credit to for the translation) for the action role-playing title in Japan.

The trailer shows similar gameplay mechanics to previous games in the Monster Hunter series. Players choose their weapon and battle various monsters on different kinds of quests. As players rank up, they become more powerful, allowing them to take on some of the game’s famously huge monsters.

Monster Hunter is a phenomenon in its home country of Japan. The third main entry in the franchise, Monster Hunter Tri, is the best-selling third-party Wii game in that country. According to Capcom’s own figures, the 17 different Monster Hunter titles (that includes every console version for each game) have sold over 21 million copies. For comparison, Capcom’s Mega Man series, which has 129 titles, has sold 29 million copies.

“In Japan, we significantly boosted our market share from 6.1 percent in 2009 to 11 percent in 2010 because of the launch of Monster Hunter Freedom 3,” Capcom reported in recent financial filings.

In other regions, the Monster Hunter games have a much smaller audience. Monster Hunter Tri sold only 690,000 units across all North American and European territories.

This is the second Monster Hunter game Capcoms plans for the 3DS. A port of Monster Hunter Tri (called Monster Hunter Tri G) made its way to the portable in 2011. That game was the primary driver behind Nintendo’s development of the Circle Pad Pro peripheral, which adds a second analog nub to the 3DS, as the title greatly benefits from dual-analog controls.

At this point, Monster Hunter 4 is not confirmed for North American release.

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