German developer, Crytek, most known for the original “Far Cry” and the “Crysis” series, debuted their latest upcoming title, “Hunt: Showdown”, at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles. The game was originally announced as “Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age”, and since then the game has been placed under a new development team. They have taken it in a vastly different direction, combining PvP gameplay with monster hunting. I had a chance to sit down with the developers to see what this is all about, and it definitely gave off a great first impression.
Hunt: Showdown Overview
“Hunt: Showdown” is a first-person PvP monster hunting game. It takes place in the late 19th century during the Victorian Age. The setting is very dark and mystical full of creatures from the underworld. You and your partner play as mercenaries who are hunting randomly generated monsters in order to banish them to hell for profit. You team with with one other player to work cooperatively against up to four other teams of two. Each match is divided up into three phases: “Track the Target”, “Take Down the Target”, and “Escape”.
Phase One – Track the Target
The first phase consists of actually finding the monster that you need to destroy and banish. In order to find the monster, you must search for clues as to the whereabouts of your prey. Much like the monsters themselves, clues are also hidden randomly across the map. Players must locate the clues while avoiding or engaging other teams and other monsters along the way. The clues cleverly give the locations of the monster, one of which gives you a camera view from the eyes of the monster. Timing is critical in this phase, as the other teams are also searching for clues. There’s no time to waste, as your goal is to be the first team to locate the monster.
Phase Two – Take Down the Target
The next phase comes after you have physically located the monster. You and your partner have to fight the creature while trying to stay alive. In the presentation I saw, the creature being hunted was a giant spider that skittered around in a very creepy manner. Once the creature is defeated, you must banish it back to Hell. This process takes time to complete and also triggers the other teams to your location. While waiting for the creature to be banished, you must defend yourself from the other teams who are trying to stop you from completing your mission. Other monsters will also join in the fight against you, making your defense even more intense.
Phase Three – Escape
After you’ve successfully banished the monster, your final mission is to escape the area alive with your bounty. Escape points are located closer to the edges of the map, and your team must get there without getting taken out by the other teams. Once you complete this, you collect your reward move on to the next match.
Permanent Death and Weapons
One of the more interesting features of “Hunt: Showdown” is its risk vs. reward system. If you die in the game, you lose any equipment you used in that match. So while it may be helpful to have your best weapons in a round, you run the possibility of losing them if you are killed. Also, the weapons play a vital role in terms of compatibility with your partner. You’ll want to coordinate the best weapons that work with your partner’s. One teammate might use a shotgun, while another might use a rifle. The key is to not focus on what might be the best weapons, but those that work best for the team. It’s also important to note that there are no class systems. You either play as a hunter or a huntress. The only advantages any player will have over another is weapons.
“Hunt: Showdown” is a fresh idea for the multiplayer scene. It combines elements of co-op and player vs. player and offers a richer experience than traditional team death match. Not only does the game look like a blast to play, but it’s visually stunning as well. The one kilometer square map gives a creepy atmosphere with its swampy setting. It’s one of the most interesting games I witnessed while attending E3. Keep this one on your radar.