Hunt: Showdown is getting one of the rarest things a game can get: an engine upgrade

hunt showdown revolver
(Image credit: Crytek)

Hunt Showdown is currently celebrating its five-year anniversary with a big sale and a new DLC hunter. While there's much to look back on, Crytek's eyes are fixed on the future with plans to update Hunt from an aging 5.6 legacy version of CryEngine to the latest 5.11 build. 

"The game currently runs on a legacy version of CryEngine from four years ago," David Fifield, general manager at Crytek, explained to PC Gamer. “So one of our major talking points across 2023 is gonna be about updating to the latest 5.11 version of CryEngine which is four years newer."  

Upgrading an engine from one decimal to a slightly higher decimal doesn't sound like a significant change, but it's a much larger undertaking than updating the firmware on your phone. It's exceedingly rare for a years-old game with an established development pipeline to replace the base on which it sits—it's the game dev equivalent of swapping out your car's chassis for a new one that's theoretically better, but could introduce new problems. Last year, Epic transitioned Fortnite to Unreal Engine 5 with impressive results

Ideally, the 5.11 Hunt update will bring improvements to the game's already outstanding graphics, but also promises to bring gameplay enhancements (though Crytek did not offer any examples).

"It is gonna be a long technical road, so people shouldn't expect it soon but it is a thing that's underway. As we go and as we hit meaningful milestones of readiness, we'll talk more and more about what it means to take the game from CryEngine 5.6 up to CryEngine 5.11," said Fifield.

While this big update is a while away, players can still expect plenty of other updates including an overhaul of its onboarding tools for new players. “We're working in improving the tutorial and having a more scripted tutorial with more explanations and what we would say is just better teaching than the existing training missions.”

Crytek's mission to keep Hunt: Showdown technologically relevant suggests a renewed commitment to its cowboy extraction shooter in the years to come. We probably wouldn't be hearing about engine upgrades if, for instance, there was a Hunt 2 in development or Crytek were winding down on updates. Which makes sense for the team, with Fifield speaking about year-on-year growth for the game’s player base. “We're curious to see how high can the population, the engagement and all that stuff go.”  Last month's Devil's Moon event, which among many things, set entire maps on fire, demonstrated Crytek's willingness to tweak Hunt's fundamentals and keep players on their toes.

For more on Hunt: Showdown, we recently sat down with Crytek to talk about the anniversary, where Hunt is now, and where it's going in 2023.