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Way back at E3 2014, Crytek unveiled a demo of a game then-titled Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age. Despite its interesting pre-steampunk aesthetic and hunters vs monsters premise, the game looked very rough, and very much like a lesser Left 4 Dead clone. After E3, the game went off the radar until a few months ago, where it was announced it ha taken a radical change in direction and became Hunt: Showdown, a survival/shooter unlike anything else on the market, where 5 teams of 2 battle monsters and each other.

While I didn’t get a chance to play Hunt: Showdown at E3, I did get to visit Crytek and see a demo behind closed doors, and what I saw was impressive to say the least. The pre-recorded demo opened in a swamp, where a team of two hunters began their quest to uncover clues on the whereabouts of the round’s boss monster. Every round, all five teams have to hunt down clues across the map, each of which will help narrow down the search for a deadly beast – in this case, a giant, man-eating spider.

Along the way, the team came across some of the competitors battling off zombies, but decided to hold their fire. In Hunt: Showdown, there’s no need to engage enemies unless absolutely necessary, as ammo is limited and death is permanent. Once you die, that’s it – not only is your hunter dead for the round, any skills you’ve given the hunter in between rounds are lost as well, effectively killing your custom class.

Once the boss is located, the team begins to hunt it down. Naturally, the closer one gets to the boss, the heavier the monster presence gets. Throught the demo, the team battled beasties like hellhounds, zombies, giant leeches, one-armed swordsmen, and of course, the giant spider – each of which sporting very different attack patterns and requiring different strategies.

Unfortunately, it isn’t until after the boss spider is dead that the real challenge begins. As soon as a boss croaks, the map (Which you have to select manually, the HUD is as minimal as possible) shows the location of its death, allowing every team to close in and try and take the boss’ bounty for themselves. Gunfights between players are loud, chaotic, and unlike anything else Hunt: Showdown has to offer, with a complete lack of visual indicators as to where gunfire and grenades are coming from leaving players to rely on nothing more than sights, sounds, and instinct to survive and pick off – or avoid – their foes before reaching the level’s escape point, bounty in tow.

After the demo, I was able to talk with Hunt: Showdown‘s creative director Magnus about tension, enemy design, and more in a brief interview. Check it out above!

Hunt: Showdown will release sometime in the coming years.


Perry Ruhland

Staff Writer

Filmmaker. Entertainment critic. Genre film aficionado. Has bad taste and hot takes.