EA and Koei Tecmo reveal their new magic monster hunting game

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Wild Hearts (opens in new tab) is a new hunting game unveiled today by Electronic Arts and Koei Tecmo, but it's not a hunting game as you might expect: Instead of bears, wolves, and tigers, players will travel to the fantasy realm of Azuma to hunt "giant nature-infused beasts" ranging from mutant squirrels to a winter wolf called Deathstalker.

Naturally, you're not going to go after these sorts of creatures with a Remington 12-gauge you picked up at S-Mart. No, you're going to need something special—specifically, machines called Karakuri that are created from lost, ancient technology. As you can see in the trailer, they're capable of some pretty impressive feats. Need to fly somewhere? Want a giant jack-in-the-box with a pop-up mallet that clocks monsters in the face? Maybe you're just after a big bomb? Whatever you need, it seems, the Karakuri can deliver. Swords, bows, and other implements of old-timey mayhem will fill out your arsenal.

As for why you're going to all this trouble, it's not just for kicks and gross trophies. Azuma was once a peaceful place, where the Kemono lived in peace with the people. But now, for reasons unknown, they're on the rampage, threatening the world and those who live in it, and it falls to you to restore balance to the realm.

The whole thing bears more than a passing resemblance to Capcom's Monster Hunter (opens in new tab) games, but Koei Tecmo vice president Yosuke Hayashi said that developers are aiming for a different sort of experience with Wild Hearts—although at this stage, the two games still sound (and look) very much alike.

"With Wild Hearts, not only did we want to showcase the evolution, infusion and real threat caused by Kemono, but we also wanted to create a game where crafting was at the core of the experience, redefining what can be possible in a beast hunting game," Hayashi said. "We have placed great care in designing our Karakuri to fit within the combat, and we’re excited for players to use these powerful mechanisms to fight giant beasts and traverse the world."

Have a look at some screens in the gallery below:

Wild Hearts will offer solo and co-op hunting for up to three players, and support crossplay across all platforms: PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X-S. It's being developed by Koei Tecmo's Omega Force studio, best known for the Dynasty Warriors action games, and will be published under Electronic Arts' faux-indie publishing label EA Originals. That doesn't mean it's going to be cheaper than mainstream EA games, though: Wild Hearts on PC will be available on February 17, 2023 on Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Origin, at a cost of $70. An "extended gameplay reveal" is set for October 5.

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.