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Niantic and Capcom have teamed up to create Monster Hunter Now, a free-to-play mobile game launching this September that brings the experience of Monster Hunter to the real world of streets, parks and neighborhoods around the world.
Capcom‘s Monster Hunter series has sold more than 90 million copies to date, and it is teaming up with Niantic, the creator of Pokémon Go, NBA All-World, Pikmin Bloom and Ingress Prime. All of Niantic‘s games feature location-based gameplay and some feature augmented reality.
Monster Hunter Now will be distributed by Niantic and licensed by Capcom. The global launch is scheduled for September and the game will be available on the App Store and Google Play. Interested players can sign up now at monsterhunternow.com for a chance to be selected for upcoming closed beta tests of the game.
For anyone who’s ever dreamed of hunting monsters in the real world, Monster Hunter Now brings that fantasy to life, said John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, in a press briefing. He said the game was four years in the making.
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Niantic believes the game will go farther in terms of real-time combat than any other previous Niantic game, as it will have fast action multiplayer combat, said Hanke. Joining other players is seamless, and it represents a rethinking of action and multiplayer, he added.
How it will work
Taking the role of a hunter, players will venture forth and team up with fellow players in order to take down the fiercest monsters in the world, adding a social element to the thrilling experience. Hanke said the game is for anyone who has dreamed of facing off against epic monsters and battling them with friends.
“We shared that excitement together, about bringing these majestic creatures to life, walking through the real world through the streets and neighborhoods,” Hanke said. “Four years have passed, and today we get to announce this game. I’m super excited about it. We’re thrilled to have Capcom as a partner.”
Sakae Osumi, senior producer at Niantic Tokyo studio, said in a press briefing that the game is a real-world hunting action role-playing game, where players will explore the real world with their partner Palico to find materials for crafting weapons and armor. It is aimed at those who know the series or who are new to the franchise alike.
Players can investigate monster habitats, and team up with friends to hunt down the monsters.
“The simple yet compelling game experience of exploration and hunting is the charm of the Monster Hunter series,” said Osumi. “We wanted to make sure to put that experience at the core of Monster Hunter Now.”
On top of that, he said Niantic wanted to take it a step further by creating a whole new experience of hunting monsters in the real world, in your local park, in your neighborhoods, at your office, all the places you visit in your daily life and beyond. You can gather materials in the real world to make yourself or your equipment stronger. You can upgrade your gear. Each fight will last perhaps 75 seconds. That’s pretty short compared to 10 minutes to 30 minutes in the PC and console games.
Since Monster Hunter Now can be played on smartphones, you can easily invite your friends to join. As to where the friends can be in terms of distance apart, Niantic and Capcom haven’t yet said. There are currently no plans to support game controllers.
The title will be a free-to-play casual game and there are items that you can purchase in the game. There will be a mix of familiar characters and new ones in the game, and it will have stories and quests.
The Monster Hunter legacy
Monster Hunter is Capcom’s most popular video game franchise and is one of the most popular action role-playing game series of all time. Ryozo Tsujimoto, producer of the Monster Hunter series for Capcom, in a press briefing that the game will stand out from other Niantic games with its focus on the world of Monster Hunter and its combat.
“Monster Hunter Now is a new and unprecedented Monster Hunter game that entices players to
go out with their Palico and encounter incredible monsters in the real world,” said Tsujimoto. “Niantic’s AR technology delivers a ‘here and right now’ hunting experience, something that can be played casually, while honoring the game play and hunting action that only Monster Hunter can offer. Let’s get out into the real world and enjoy hunting.”
Monster Hunter Now is designed for everyone to enjoy at their own pace, whether you are a long-time Monster Hunter player, someone who hasn’t played for a while, or even a newcomer to the series, Tsujimoto said.
“We are very pleased to be working with Niantic, which has the best technology in the world to bring you a completely new Monster Hunter game,” Tsujimoto said. “I can still remember that four years ago when Niantic told me about this project. I immediately replied, ‘Let’s do it’ without giving it a second thought.”
You can also play when and where you want. For instance, in Monster Hunter Now, there’s an item called the Paintball. By using a Paintball on a monster that you encounter, you can bring the monster back home and hunt it alone or with someone else. And even when you’re walking around without playing the game, your companion can mark any monsters you pass by with the Paintball, so you can enjoy hunting them even after returning home.
“We are proud to deliver you a game that can be played casually in everyday life and enjoy with others in a real-world environment while respecting the gameplay, hunting action and other elements unique to the Monster Hunter franchise,” Tsujimoto said. “We hope that everyone around the globe will get Monster Hunter Now to go hunting in the real world.”
Built on Niantic’s Lightship platform, Monster Hunter Now uses location-based technology and AR that overlays the real world with fantastical and fierce creatures. You can register for the Monster Hunter Now closed beta test here. The beta test begins on April 25.
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