Monster Hunter 3 producer Ryozo Tsujimoto and director Kaname Fujioka recently talked to Weekly Famitsu about the differences between the Wii game and the rest of the series. Fujioka noted that while there are changes, they won't be too jarring to seasoned fans:
We are inserting new features into the game, but we don't want people who's played previous titles to feel abandoned. So we aren't forcing massive changes in everything; instead, we're adding a lot of new freshness to all areas of the game, from collecting to hunting and the weapons.
Still, perhaps the biggest change for fans would be the reduction of the number of available weapons types from eleven to seven. Why the big change? Said Tsujimoto:
After a great deal of debate, we concluded that we needed to whittle down the weapon categories and concentrate on adding more depth to each individual weapon.
Reduction aside, there's also a new weapon type called Slash Axes. Apparently this isn't just a type of hammer. Instead it's a sort of retractable bladed polearm that folds up when not in use. Looks like this is the gunlance replacement. Aesthetically, anyway, since it doesn't seem to have a ranged attack.
Another notable difference is the addition of a Battle Colosseum mode. These quests are playable by pairs of two hunters either via online multiplayer or local split-screen. Each team will be competing for fastest times, but Tsujimoto said that it's not something to get obsessed with:
You are competing for fast times, but there's no reason to be obsessed with that part of the mode. You get rewards for finishing it either way, and two players each get their own set of rewards when working as a pair.
Monster Hunter 3 is slated for a Summer 2009 release in Japan.