Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has revealed that Capcom's Monster Hunter franchise is bound for 3DS, along with a peripheral that adds a second circle pad and set of shoulder buttons to the system.
Monster Hunter 3G is an expanded version of Wii's Monster Hunter Tri (pictured), and will be playable at next week's Tokyo Game Show and released in Japan before the end of the year, according to Andriasang. Water elements, which were absent from PSP title Monster Hunter Portable 3rd, will return. Local multiplayer is confirmed, but there's no mention of online.
The peripheral, dubbed "Kakuchou Slide Pad" or "Expansion Slide Pad", is like a bigger version of the 3DS charging cradle. Judging by a scan of the Famitsu article it appears to be at least an inch thick at the back of the device, to make room for a second set of shoulder buttons. It extends out from either side of the 3DS, with a second circle pad, which appears slightly smaller than that of the 3DS, sitting to the right of the face buttons.
Monster Hunter series supervisor Ryozo Tsujimoto was interviewed about the cradle, and said it was the "secret weapon" which gives players the same feeling of control that they had when playing the Wii version. However, it appears the add-on will be optional and the game will still be playable without it.
The news goes some way to confirming a recent report by French website 01.net that claimed Nintendo, realising its error in not including a second circle pad in the original 3DS design, was set to release such a peripheral. It also adds further weight to another of the site's claims: that Nintendo is set to imminently reveal an improved revision of 3DS.
A Nintendo UK spokesperson told us: "We can confirm that Nintendo does plan to release the attachment but that any further announcements on the attachment will be made at some later time by Nintendo."
That announcement will presumably come in less than a week: Nintendo is holding a dedicated 3DS event on September 13, where it is to announce new products, the next step in its bid to revive the system's ailing fortunes following the global price drop which came into effect next month.
While the presence on 3DS of a genuine system-seller in Monster Hunter will be a boost to Nintendo, the expansion slide pad appears to be a thoroughly inelegant solution. Should Nintendo indeed unveil a new model 3DS with a second circle pad included, and require owners of the original model to carry the peripheral around with them, it may well take more than the 20 free games given away as part of the Ambassador Programme for Nintendo to appease early adopters.