It may be an oddity in the series, but for game-starved Monster Hunter fans in the West, the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) Monster Hunter Frontier Online has likely been a source of interest and envy. Considering that so much of the fun in Monster Hunter Tri and Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate has been through online play, the idea of an online-only game in the series certainly has its appeal.
It's only been available in Japan, naturally, and was released on PC way back in 2007, before being ported to the Xbox 360 three years later. It's getting rather long in the tooth, as a result, but with MMORPGs that's not necessarily a big issue; if it's fun and there's an active community, rough visuals don't matter a huge amount. Showing that it's not ready to retire this subscription-based title yet, Capcom has confirmed that it'll be coming to Wii U (and PS3) later in the year, and Director Tatsumi Kimoto has stated the company is working on — but not promising — some special features for the GamePad and potentially some 3DS functionality; we'll see what comes of that.
It hits Wii U in Japan on 11th December 2013, and perhaps fans of the main-series games will be tempted to try this spin-off on Nintendo's system. We're unlikely to ever see it in the West, unfortunately, so perhaps gamers outside of Capcom's homeland will be restricted to gazing longingly at the announcement trailer, below.