A new Hunt: Showdown dev diary showcases 'reactive' sandbox levels

Crytek's competitive supernatural shooter Hunt: Showdown appears at first glance to be quite a bit different from the studio's previous games. But in a new developer diary examining its approach to level design, creative director Magnus Larbrant explains that it's actually very similar to earlier releases like Crysis in a lot of important ways. 

"What made this company is open world, sandbox, you’re walking around in a cool environment and you’re approaching compounds—you’re doing this in Crysis, right?" Labrant says. "And if you take a look at Hunt, you’re in an open world, a sandbox world, you’re moving around compounds, you’re trying to infiltrate them. You have some special powers and stuff like this. A lot of gun play, a first person shooter. This is why we’re doing this game: We’re playing to the strength of what we know." 

Despite its obvious horror trappings, Hunt: Showdown won't rely on scripted events and "jump scare moments." Instead, Crytek is using randomization, room layouts, pathing, and "player awareness" to encourage a natural progression of action and consequence that will change with each playthrough. Opening a gate can cause nearby ravens to take flight, for instance, so while the gate itself may be out of sight—and you may have opened it very quietly—nearby enemies who are paying attention may still be given a warning that something is up. 

"I'm standing here and I'm listening, and I'm looking at the world and what does the world tell me," he says. "How you deal with that challenge will reveal or hide your position to other players. And we have a lot of those things." 

Hunt: Showdown doesn't have a release date yet, but there's a website with more information up at huntshowdown.com.     

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.