Well, that was quick! Back in 2015, when Monster Hunter Cross was first announced, I made a prediction that the earliest that we'd see the title hit our shores would be in late 2016; today, however, Monster Hunter Cross has been confirmed for a western release in Summer 2016 as Monster Hunter Generations! Most of the information from our initial article regarding the game's Japanese announcement still applies here; Monster Hunter Generations is the next game in the popular Monster Hunter franchise, with a twist. Instead of being an entirely new evolution to the series—like Monster Hunter 4/Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate was in comparison to Monster Hunter Tri/Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate—it takes a route similar to the Japan-exclusive Monster Hunter Portable 3rd on PSP, acting like a stop-gap title between new releases to experiment on what direction to take the series in as a whole going forward.
In Monster Hunter Generations' case, the game focuses around a few new core concepts: Hunter Arts, Hunting Styles, and the inclusion of 4 villages spanning the series' history. Hunting Arts act as rechargable "super moves" that can be fired off in the middle of a hunt to either deal massive damage to a monster, buff your character/party, and more. Hunting Styles change up a weapon's moveset to experiment with the idea of what makes that weapon unique—there are 4 different styles available for each and every weapon type in the game (sans the new Palico-based Prowler hunting option).
As was mentioned in our initial coverage last year, Monster Hunter Generations includes 4 separate "flagship monsters," alongside the inclusion of a ton of other monsters from the series' history. Unlike Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, the game does NOT include a "G-rank" of quests at the end of the game, capping out at "High-rank" quests at end-game. Additionally, the game lacks the titular Expedition and Frenzy/Apex Monsters featured from the previous title, replacing them with Deviant and Ferocious Monsters respectively. Coming from someone that has already played the Japanese release, I'd think of the title more like Monster Hunter Portable 4th/Freedom 4, rather than Monster Hunter 5, or even Monster Hunter 4.5.
Regarding how well these changes to the gameplay affect the game as a whole, the obvious thing to mention is the fact that the game allowss for even more customization than before. Beyond the obvious—the fact that you can choose and swap out your personal Hunting Arts/Hunting Styles—Monster Hunter Generations also introduces a few changes to the weapon upgrade system that allows for nearly every "stop-gap" weapon in a weapon tree to be viable at the end-game. Different Hunting Styles can make weapons feel almost entirely different and can change how a weapon is used completely, and Hunting Arts just compliment that. Although most western hunters will have a few months to wait to play this game, there's a lot of fun to be had tinkering with and deciding exactly what sort of hunter you want to make. As for me, I'm still not sure if I prefer Monster Hunter Cross (the Japanese release that Monster Hunter Generations will be based off of) to Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, and I don't know what, exactly, Monster Hunter Generations means for the series as a whole, but it's definitely going to be worth your time when it releases in the West this year.
Anyway, regardless of what the title itself means for the franchise as a whole, western gamers will be able to play Monster Hunter Generations sometime this Summer complete with a Western-exclusive Fire Emblem collaboration!
What do you think about yesterday's announcement? Are you planning on buying Monster Hunter Generations when it hits western shores?