Crytek’s Hunt: Showdown is the studio’s latest attempt at making a successful game, and this one is rather interesting. It’s an atmospheric first-person shooter where you and your team of bounty hunter bandmates partner up to hunt monsters from folklore and fairytales. It’s both PvE and PvP in equal parts, and it’s also a permadeath game – should you die, you lose everything and have to start again from scratch with a new character. Crytek is gearing up for a closed, invite-only alpha testing phase for the game, and if you’re interested you can sign up before 31 January in the hopes of being shortlisted to participate.

Given that it’s a Crytek game, it should come as no surprise that Hunt: Showdown will use the latest version of CryEngine to power it, and it’s going to be a bit of a stretch for most PCs in the alpha phase. Crytek was once at the forefront of photorealism thanks to their incredible engine, but they’ve been surpassed in recent years by other studios. Should Hunt become popular, it might spark another upgrade cycle for gamers looking to get into the game (although it’s not a good time to be buying a new GPU nowadays).

Hunt: Showdown has also had a difficult development process. Originally titled Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age, the game was meant to be a four-person co-op shooter with borrowed elements from other similar titles like Left 4 Dead 2, or the Call of Duty Zombies co-op survival DLC, and it was first shown off in a trailer, with a promised beta, in 2014. Crytek’s financial woes kicked in shortly after, and the studio went from pillar to post for about eighteen months not knowing how it was going to make money or pay its staff, resulting in the shutdown of Crytek UK and the loss of dozens of key staff in other offices worldwide.

Hunt: Showdown now looks like it’ll be leeching a bit from gameplay elements from Ubisoft’s The Division, allowing players to betray one another in order to loot their equipment and become a stronger hunter. The Division’s constant risk of backstabbing when playing in the Dark Zones was one of the annoying parts of the game, so it’ll be interesting to see how Crytek handles those same issues in Hunt.

Hunt: Showdown’s beta starts on 31 January, with a second alpha on the cards and launching into Early Access on Steam later in the year. It’s a PC exclusive title for now, but may appear on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One eventually.

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