Way of the Hunter

Hunting games have come a long way since Duck Hunt (and I suppose you could make a case for Oregon Trail being an early hunting game as well). These days, they’ll drop you into a beautiful open world, give you some high-powered rifles, and pit you against the wild.

There’s a lot of variety in how these games play out, from the survival elements of Open Country to the much more refined nature exploration of theHunter: Call of the Wild. Recently, I’ve had my eye on Way of the Hunter by Nine Rocks Games, and I’ve been itching to know more about what to expect from the game. Thankfully, a six-plus-minute-long trailer just dropped, giving us a much closer look.

The game apparently features two different open worlds, each one about 55 square miles in size. The first is set in the Pacific Northwest, with its forests and mountainous regions, while the other is set in Transylvania. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sound like there will be any vampire elements, but perhaps Nine Rocks will keep that in mind for a Halloween-themed DLC? A man can dream.

Way of the Hunter

Allegedly, there is a complex ecosystem in both settings, with 2,500 animals in the Pacific Northwest and 3,000 in Transylvania. The trailer mentions that the game “simulates the life cycles” of these animals, which I take to mean that they have complex migration patterns, feeding cycles, and herd mechanics, but I guess I’m not completely sure what they’re getting at here.

Both locations have their own region-accurate flora and fauna, and there’s a day/night cycle so you can stalk your prey under the heat of the noonday sun or under the cover of darkness.

There is a story, but the trailer suggest that you can break away from it and explore at your own leisure, and I have a feeling I’m going to be doing a whole lot of the latter.

The gameplay loop seems to revolve around an ethically-sourced meat business, which has you acquiring various types of meats for high-end clients. You can also collect a whole ton of different firearms, many of which are officially licensed.

Way of the Hunter

The arsenal of guns is actually important here, as various rifles are designed to specifically be good against certain critters. There are six tiers of firearms, and it sounds like each tier features a pretty robust selection from real-life manufacturers.

You can store your firearms back at the lodge or in the back of your truck. And yes, the game features a drivable truck, but the trailer didn’t go into too much detail about this, instead focusing on the various skills you’ll need to hone in order to catch your prey. There is a toggleable and highly customizable “Hunter Sense” that gives you an edge, and you can also make use of hunting stands and game calls.

Apparently, there’s even a feature that causes your hunting to impact animal populations, so if you hunt too much in one area, you’ll find the herds to be thinning. Also, the quality of your hunts affects the quality of the ecosystem. If you kill all the high-quality deer in an area, for example, the overall quality of the deer in that area will decline.

Also, you can wound animals in various ways — the example in the trailer is puncturing a lung — which means you’ll have to complete the hunt and make sure the animal doesn’t suffer too much.

You can even show off some of your hunts with a taxidermy trophy system.

Way of the Hunter

And finally, there’s a permission system, where you’ll have to earn the right to hunt in certain areas by performing specific tasks, which means your hunting grounds will keep expanding as you unlock more areas.

Admittedly, there’s still a lot left unsaid, but Way of the Hunter is looking like a really solid hunting-simulator-slash-business-management-sim. There are a lot of really complex systems at play here, and if they all work together as well as the trailer makes it seem, this could be a fantastic hunting sim.

Way of the Hunter is due out for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X|S on August 16, 2022. In the meantime, you can watch the Explanation Trailer below.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x