E3 2017: Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown preview (video)

Hunt evil, banish demons, and serve the greater good—but make damn sure you get paid, and don’t let other hunters horn in on your business.

At E3 2017, Crytek Creative Director Magnus Larbrant demonstrated a very early play session (video below) for their upcoming 10-man PvP shooter  Hunt: Showdown

[Note: If you want to just watch the video, scroll to the end of this post!]

Hunt: Showdown is set in a steampunk Victorian era where dimensional rifts have begun spewing out demonic creatures, and bounties are placed upon banishing them. Your job (and your partner’s) is to track the demon, banish it, and escape alive to claim the bounty—but up to 4 other 2-player teams of hunters will be trying to beat you to it—or just kill you and take the bounty for themselves.

It’s a gritty, dark, hunter-eat-demon-eat hunter world out there.

“It’s all about the dirt, the blood, and the mud. There is no flair.”
—Magnus Larbrant, Crytek Creative Director


Seek and destroy— carefully

Fundamentally, Hunt: Showdown is divided into several phases, the first of which is exploring and finding your quarry in a massive 1 KM x 1 KM map.

Everything in a match is randomized much like a Diablo dungeon. You never know exactly what you’ll encounter or where to find your prey. Exploration is important, and while you’re hunting you can opt to investigate various camps, sheds, and other places, which of course are over run with zombies and various monstrosities of evil. (These loot and supplies won’t guard themselves!)

Killing monsters and looting camps may yield substantial rewards in ammo, gear, and other loot that can give you an edge over the other hunters; however, it can also attract unwanted attention, alerting every hunter in the area to your whereabouts. Gunshots and explosions can be heard from every corner of the map. Flashlights can be seen for considerable distances.

And if you’re not careful, your hard work could end up being some one else’s payday.


Because Hunt: Showdown uses a very minimalist HUD (heads up display), you must rely upon environmental cues to identify threats visually and audibly. In addition to your guns, grenades, and lights, ‘sound traps’ such as scattering birds or barking dogs can also give away your location, or the locations of enemies.

“Reckless players are dead players.”
—Magnus Larbrant, Crytek Creative Director

Track your prey

Players are armed with an array of Victorian-era weapons (with some steampunk artistic license) as well as some supernatural abilities to help track and locate prey.

In the demo you’ll see plenty of primitive grenades and firearms—which are (in) conveniently very, very loud and sure draw unwanted attention if used indiscriminately. Knives, dynamite, grenades, pistols, and powerful rifles are all available for slaughtering hellspawn and hunters alike. Hunt_Screenshot_Fire_1080p

There also are some supernatural abilities. In the demo one of the players use a skill to help track the location of their prey, and later encounter a rift that enables them to see through the eyes of the creature, which turns out to be a big, nasty spider (and “balls of hay”) that gives the players clues to its location.

It remains to be seen if there will be more abilities and to what extent they will impact the game, but given Crytek’s visceral, gritty direction for the game I wouldn’t expect to see a ton of flashy powers and effects.



Bag the beast, grab the bounty, stay alive

The end-game for a match is a bit like a 10-player version of the Clint Eastwood classic The Good, The Bad, and the The Ugly. Once you find the your prey, you must “kill” it (i.e. disable it with your weapons), and then start the banishing process.

Unfortunately, the banishing process acts as a beacon to every other hunter on the map. They will immediately know where you are and they will come gunning for you. Just because you’ve done the work doesn’t mean someone can’t kill you and steal the reward.


Only after the banishing is complete can you take your ‘trophy’ (bounty) from the banished creature, so this part of the match is basically a ‘defend the objective’ sequence, followed quickly by a ‘run like hell’ sequence in which you must make it to a dimensional portal, i.e. the extraction point—and you may still need to fight your way through zombies, enemy hunters, and more to reach it.

Death is only the beginning. Actually, no…

Hunt: Showdown is built on high-tension and high stakes, and while your player account will retain anything and everything you may have found and unlocked, character death is permanent. How’s that for tense?

During a mission if you ‘die’ you can still be revived by your team mate. But if you die for good in a mission, well…say good bye to that character.

The exact ramifications of character death are still hazy because the game is so early in development, but suffice to say Crytek wants to ramp up the tension by making death more painful than waiting for a 10-15 second respawn.

Hunt: Showdown releases…

“We’re just focusing on gameplay at the moment.”
—Magnus Larbrant, Crytek Creative Director

Hunt: Showdown looks gorgeous and definitely plays to Crytek’s established strengths in the FPS genre.

It is, however, still very early in development. Although what has been demonstrated looks undeniably fun, Hunt: Showdown doesn’t currently have a release date. There is still a lot of development ahead, and many unanswered questions about servers, matchmaking, weapons, loot, etc.

Regardless, even watching this early demo got me excited for the game. I love the steampunk horror vibe, the fetid swamps and forests, and the high-stakes cat-and-mouse elements of the game shown thus far.

So keep a watchful…but patient…eye on Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown in the meantime.Hunt_Screenshot_Sniper_1080p

Watch the video below and see for yourself– this is live gameplay with developers and basically the same as what was shown at E3 2017.


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