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Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age

A Free Lovecraftian Co-Op Shooter By The Creators Of Darksiders

When Vigil Games first imagined the post-apocalyptic action of Darksiders, it was envisioned as a four-player co-operative adventure. While the Darksiders series is still sadly on hiatus, the original creators have joined with Crytek USA to deliver a new four-player, third-person shooter set in a world gripped by rising evil. The early 20th century setting features customizable characters like cowboys, mustachioed gentlemen in bowler caps, priests, and even dentists battling against evil with all manner of weaponry. We checked out Hunt: Horrors of a Gilded Age in action during a presentation at E3 2014.

Crytek USA showed us a pre-recorded gameplay session following four hunters trudging through the swamps of Louisiana on the prowl for a witch. This Nightmare Witch is inspired by an actual southern folktale about an evil woman who suffocates her victims by sitting on their chests while they sleep. In Hunt, players travel to open environments such as the aforementioned bayou, South America, and Europe. Players will search these areas for clues about the evil curses plaguing them and to find the locations of bosses. The missions and enemy arrangements are randomized, lending more replayability to each task.

The developer is pulling inspiration from classic horror literature like H.P. Lovecraft, complete with dim-witted swamp dwellers performing dark rituals and stirring menaces from beyond our world. While the game is horror-themed, the onus is on creating a dark, malevolent vibe rather than constantly trying to scare a group of four players.

The brave team treks through a shanty village on stilts, knee-high swamp waters, and a graveyard in the demo, each location swarming with raving-mad cultists. Hunt's arsenal is a grounded selection of powerful favorites like pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Crytek is willing to fudge historical accuracy a bit by assuming someone around the time had prototyped a flamethrower, allowing players to immolate swaths of enemies at once. Players can also unlock more exotic weaponry like occult daggers and even bibles that, when read from, cause some enemies to drop into convulsions as evil is exorcised from them. Non-lethal items are also available, including an occult item that points players towards objectives or a doctor's bag to heal wounded teammates.

Crytek USA is taking a page from Left 4 Dead regarding respawn locations when players inevitably die. Hunters might regain consciousness locked in a coffin or tied upside in a trap, forcing the team to find and rescue them.

Characters are fully customizable thanks to a variety of cool fashion choices and a leveling system. Crytek USA says the progression system will be a familiar mix of gaining experience, leveling up, and selecting new skills. A variety of aesthetic customization is also available, letting you create a bad-ass lady gambler or a bearded soldier wearing Civil War garments. Crytek USA is fully embracing the style of the time, but with a dark, demon hunter flair that begs to be custom tailored. I'm personally interested in making a tough-as-nails old-timey bartender with an eyepatch and a bad attitude.

The demo concludes with a showdown against the fabled Nightmare Witch. The ethereal creature floats above gravestones, with chains and cinderblocks hanging from her limbs – remnants of a failed drowning. The players unload on the witch with all they've got. Occasionally the witch disappears along with one player who is enveloped by green mist and teleported into her spirit world. The remaining players can't see the witch unless their dimensionally displaced ally shoots her. It's an interesting dynamic that demands careful cooperation to win.

Hunt is a thematic departure for the core team behind Darksiders, but it has promise. It's planned as a free-to-play (cosmetic items, experience boosts), digital-only release for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. I'm sold on the setting and gunning down Lovecraftian evils with friend in third-person, but we won't know its full potential until it enters closed beta near the end of the year.

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  • Glad the talented team has moved on, but I'm really hoping for a Darksiders 3! Both games ended with the same tease in a way, and I'd like to see a continuation of the story and an evolution of the action/rpg gameplay.

  • I am all for this. Third craft customization, a rarely used theme The only downside is that it's only digital, so I can't gamefly it first
  • DO WANT!!

  • well I am glad its coming to pc cant wait to play

  • If it has a good plot I will play it. If its just L4D remake piss off...
  • And it's free? I was sold on the concept, but free makes it so much better
  • Co-op shooter makes me think of Dead space 3 and Fear three and Halo 3. Two *** memories and one great one. Hopefully they'll take after Halo 3.

  • A talented development team? Co-op? Free? A Lovecraft-ian influence? Crytek USA, you guys are just buttering me up now.

  • Oh, wow. Didn't know it was free. Was interested to start with, but free? YES

  • Vigil you have peaked my interest...

  • Very interesting to see Crytek going the free to play route.

    The Crysis series and Darksiders games are both great franchises that didn't sell as well as they probably should have.

    Curious to see how micro-transactions will be distributed throughout this one. You can bet your ass they will be determined to make some profit from Hunt one way or another.

  • Love the deep one tease at the end.

  • Love me some Lovecraft so there's a good chance I may give this a try. I'm also a sucker for character customization, let's hope it's somewhat robust. I would freak if they let you create your own character.
  • Love the idea and concept of this game but forced multiplayer always is a downside for me as I never have a team :( also free-to-play concerns but Im still giving this a chance.

  • Sounds interesting but the co-op part does not...

  • Looks pretty cool, I'll be keeping an eye on it. On a side note, I know it's being said Darksiders isn't dead but that stupid company that bought up all those IP's hasn't done jack with any of them.

  • I adore Lovecraft's work! To say that my interest has been piqued is an understatement.

  • Definitely playing this on PS4 and PC!

  • This sounds really cool. I'm trying to start playing shooting games more. This might be one of the ones other than Evolve and Destiny that I will play.

  • Definitely going to check this out.

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