EA and Koei Tecmo have announced a partnership to make what they call “the next great hunting game,” in what seems to be an attempt to rival Capcom’s enormously successful Monster Hunter series.
The game will be made by Omega Force, the in-house Koei Tecmo studio responsible for the Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series and their many licensed spinoffs (such as Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors). It’s set in “fantasy feudal Japan” and will be a “truly AAA experience,” according to the press release.
EA released one piece of concept artwork for the game, showing an ageing, rundown temple overgrown with a blossom tree. It promised to reveal more about the game later this month. No platforms were announced.
Omega Force is most famous for the Musou mass-combat genre it originated in the late 1990s and dominates to this day. But, between 2013 and 2017, it released two Toukiden titles — Monster Hunter-style games with online multiplayer, in which players hunted Oni monsters in a medieval Japanese setting. Although the new game will be an “original IP,” it sounds like it will be following closely in Toukiden’s footsteps.
The new hunting game will be published under the EA Originals label, which EA usually uses to partner with smaller developers to make indie-style games like It Takes Two and Unravel. This project sounds larger in scope, however. Koei Tecmo’s executive vice president Yosuke Hayashi noted that EA is offering “both development and publishing support” and helping the seasoned Japanese publisher-developer “expand our reach in global markets.”
It’s an interesting, novel kind of partnership for both publishers. The EA Originals setup gives Koei Tecmo scale and global reach as well as creative freedom, while for its part EA can tap into a kind of development expertise it could never recreate in-house. The potential prize for both companies is clear: Monster Hunter: World is Capcom’s best-selling game ever, with 18.3 million units sold. The Capcom series is a genuine worldwide sensation, and it has no rival. It seems it soon will.