Niantic Labs, the development studio behind the smash hit mobile game Pokémon Go has announced its next game. It’s another brand collaboration, this time with Capcom, on a game called Monster Hunter Now.
The game was announced via Niantic’s social media accounts and was accompanied by a short teaser trailer.
So, what exactly is it? The live-action footage included in the early part of the trailer makes it look like Niantic was about to launch another Pokémon Go-like, and indeed the game’s tagline is “Hunt Monsters in the Real World,” so no doubt Niantic will leverage its well-known map API and AR technology once again. In-game footage in the trailer depicts a Monster Hunter warrior doing battle with one of the game’s oversized monsters. The battle itself strongly resembles gym battle mechanics from Pokémon Go, with the monster in the middle of an arena space and the player hopping around it in a wide arc to avoid incoming attacks.
Little else is known about the game at this stage, other than that Niantic plans to launch in September this year. Sign-ups for closed beta testing are currently live on the game’s official website, with both an Android and iOS version available.
Niantic originally made its name with a game called a real-world map game called Field Trip, which would give way to Ingress, a mobile game that implemented real-world maps and movement. This attracted Nintendo’s interest and birthed Pokémon Go, placing a focus on walking, exercise, and exploration. Niantic has transferred the blueprint to other brands with varying degrees of success — Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and Catan: World Explorers were received with a resounding shrug, while others like Transformers: Heavy Metal failed to launch. Its next collaboration with Nintendo, Pikmin Bloom, uses maps to show users their most well-trodden paths, digitally beautifying their neighbourhoods with flowers. Another title, NBA World, launched in January.
Will Monster Hunter be a good fit for the Niantic formula? Time’s going to tell on that one. It seems like getting out of the house and chasing down monsters on a walk could be a fun idea — Pokémon Go already incorporates a little of this too, a small radar pointing players to nearby mons they might have in their collection.
Let me know what you think in the comments.
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