Monster Hunter 4 for the Nintendo 3DS will feature a brand new weapon called the Charge Axe, according to Japanese video game magazine Famitsu, which dedicated nine pages to the weapons in this week's issue.
The Charge Axe is a complex, yet satisfyingly blunt piece of work, Famitsu reports. It's available in two modes: a "sword mode" which is actually a sword and shield, and an "axe mode", which you unleash when you attach the sword to the shield. As you attack foes in sword mode, a compartment in the hilt eventually begins to glow yellow or red; once it does, you'll be able to charge it up with energy.
Convert over to axe mode (in a similar way to the Switch Axe in MH3), and you'll get to use this energy to unlock special skills. This is in addition to the axe's wide reach and impressive powers, although you won't be able to guard with it.
"For those of us on the development staff, we wanted to make another weapon that was really straight-on, impactful, and unrefined," explained MH4 director Kaname Fujioka. "That was part of the whole Monster Hunter concept."
Famitsu also revealed a new field map for MH4, a "primeval forest" filled with all kinds of natural vistas, as well as things like dragon skeletons and evidence of some ancient civilization. "I think this is going to be a field that feels most full of life out of any of the Monster Hunter games," Fujioka said. "We've made an effort in MH4 to rework the approach we took to creating fields in order to make them feel like a larger and more vibrant world. These new fields aren't like the ones in previous games, but they still feel uniquely Monster Hunter."
MH4 is due out next March in Japan.