Nintendo 3DS second circle pad revealed

For use with Monster Hunter Tri G.

UPDATE: The cradle adds R1, R2 and L2 shoulder buttons (the normal Nintendo 3DS L1 button is not replaced).

ORIGINAL STORY: Nintendo will launch a cradle attachment for the Nintendo 3DS called the Expansion Slide Pad that adds a second circle pad to the handheld, Japanese magazine Famitsu has revealed.

Scans of the magazine (via Andriasang) confirm a report from French website 01Net that emerged last month.

The 3DS sits inside the cradle so the second slide pad is positioned to the immediate right of the four face buttons. The attachment also includes a trigger.

It looks identical to the Nintendo 3DS' current slide pad, albeit slightly smaller. Famitsu does not list a price or release date for the device, but 01Net's report claimed it would sell for "about $10". An official announcement is expected shortly.

The second circle pad is to be used for Monster Hunter Tri G, an in-development game that leaked yesterday.

Monster Hunter series supervisor Ryozo Tsujimoto jokingly referred to the circle pad as a "secret weapon" which allows you to play the game with the same feeling as playing Monster Hunter 3 on Wii.

Monster Hunter Tri G is described as an expanded version of Monster Hunter 3 on Wii, and features water elements and local wireless play. But it has a slightly different control feel for the water elements. You can touch the lower screen to make your character automatically turn to face larger beasts, for example.

The game launches in Japan at the end of the year and is playable at Tokyo Game Show next week.

Confirmation of the second pad adds credibility to other claims made by 01Net, including the revelation that Nintendo was preparing a second iteration of the 3DS for release next year.

01Net said this new version would "radically tone down" the system's 3D features, possibly rebranding the machine entirely. Will it also include the second circle pad built in?

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