Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher won’t be another Japan-exclusive Monster Rancher title. Today, Bandai Namco announced it will bring the monster-rearing sim’s new collaboration project with Ultraman to the West in 2022.
On Twitter, Bandai Namco revealed Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher will be available on Nintendo Switch sometime this year for players outside of Asia. The crossover edition looks like it’ll keep all of those classic Monster Rancher mechanics, but with the modern tweaks to its CD-based system made in 2021’s Monster Rancher 1 & 2 DX.
Instead of thumbing through a stack of Spice Girls CDs, you’ll use Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher‘s in-game database to select digital IDs and summon monsters. Bandai Namco also noted there will be NFC options through cards or other NFC-related goodies. It hasn’t expanded upon what that looks like just yet, or if some of the released NFC merch works.
You’ll do the usual monster-raising the series popularized over the decades, too. However, instead of a cute little Mocchi, you get saddled with kaiju from Ultraman like Gomora, Baltan, and Zetton. After summoning your favorite beastie, take them home to raise them. It’s just like the good ol’ days with stat-boosting trials and competing against other monsters. Can’t wait to fling fruit at Gomora for months until Coltia tells me I’ve spoiled it.
The announcement trailer shows other familiar elements, like exploration trials for kaiju and special drills for the high-risk, high-reward exercises. There’s also the usual battle between monsters for the special cups that trainers can compete in to climb the ranks. And while combining monsters in the old games was never really a thing I was into in the classic games, Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher‘s take on the system lets you combine two Ultraman favorites to make one badass kaiju. Behold, Zetton Gomora:
I love it. I’m gonna spoil one of these until it refuses to listen.
Ultra Kaiju Monster Rancher saw its reveal earlier this week during Japan’s Nintendo Direct stream. While it’s not uncommon for some of these to trickle into a western launch window later on, it’s kind of neat to see this one make its way over given the Monster Rancher series’ history and extended period of silence. Coupling that with a kaiju series that’s not Godzilla, it’s one I’d added to the list to import as a US-based player.
For the unfamiliar, Ultraman is a beloved TV and film series in Japan popularized since its debut in the ’60s. It features a rotating kaiju roster; it’s the perfect fit for a series where the whole point is to raise monsters. The Hollywood takes on a genre that’s often more thoughtful than “look it’s a big dinosaur” continue to disappoint, so here’s to hoping even a little monster-rearing simulator gets us all more interested in kaiju more broadly.
The key art has quite a few creatures Bandai Namco doesn’t specifically call attention to (like Hydra and Dada). However, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a game that delivers on that massive Ultraman lineup of kaiju.