When Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age was announced in 2014, we were excited about the promise of 19th-century Left 4 Dead with touches of Resident Evil 4 from the creators of Darksiders. But in the years that followed, Crytek ran into money troubles, the Austin studio closed, and Hunt fell completely off the radar.
When Hunt re-emerged earlier this year as Hunt: Showdown, you can imagine my surprise when it turned out to be "just incredible"—so good, in fact, that we named it our favorite game of E3.
The first Hunt: Showdown dev diary, released today by Crytek, seems to bear that out. The video begins with gameplay footage from Hunt as it was originally envisioned, which everyone is very polite about, but obviously not particularly enthusiastic. But when Crytek's Austin studio closed, everything went back to the home office in Frankfurt, where the developers spent a few months examining the game and ultimately made the difficult decision to "reboot" it.
"You have to match the project with the team. If the team brings a certain skillset, but a project requires a different skillset, either now you need to adapt to that, which means you need to hire specialists to fill the gap, or retrain people, or you change the project," lead designer Dennis Schwarz says in the video. "We opted for changing the project."
The gameplay shown in the trailer matches up with what we saw at E3: Teams of hunters pursue a demonic beast in an incredibly creepy swamp, dispatch it, banish it, and then make their way out. But of course it's not that easy: Aside from the giant spiders, zombies, and other monstrous creepos lingering in the area, other hunters want what you're after, and aren't above playing dirty to get it. As level design director Chris Auty explains, it's perfectly valid to hang back and keep quiet through the entire mission, let the other team do all the work, and then jump them when they've got the reward.
There's only so much you can glean from edited gameplay footage, but I think Hunt: Showdown looks like it could be great. A release date hasn't been set but there's a website up at huntshowdown.com with more information, and you can check out an extended (and disturbing) gameplay trailer right here. We also discussed Hunt a bit on this week's PC Gamer Show, clipped below: