theHunter series logo as of Call of the Wild
|Latest release||theHunter: Call of the Wild|
16 February 2017
theHunter is a series of simulation video games developed by Expansive Worlds and published by its parent company, Avalanche Studios. The first game in the series, known as theHunter, was developed and published by Emote Games, in association with Avalanche Studios, and released in April 2009. Subsequently, Avalanche Studios bought the rights to the franchise and opened Expansive Worlds as a subsidiary that would exclusively focus on theHunter development. A standalone expansion, theHunter: Primal, was developed and published by Expansive Worlds and Avalanche Studios, and released in March 2015. The most recent entry in the series, theHunter: Call of the Wild, was developed by Expansive Worlds and published by Avalanche Studios in February 2017.
theHunter games play as first-person hunting games that recreate hunting wild animals in a manner as realistic as possible. The initial setting is on an open world island based on various locations, including the islands and surroundings of Washington state in the United States, Australian Outback, French Alps and more. It features five huntable animal types whitetail deer, european rabbit, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and pheasant. The game is fully playable for no charge, but the game's full ability can be only unlocked with paid membership which allows to hunt all species and provides replenishing ammo for the obtained weapons.
To play the player must first create a character on the game's website, which includes social networking tools and messaging capabilities to allow players to connect and share in-game experiences. Creating a character requires selecting an avatar from a pool of unique faces, and adding a unique name. Once a character is created and the tutorial completed, the player can hunt freely, activate missions and earn one of two types of in-game currency called gm$. Completing the first 3 whitetail deer missions unlocks further missions from other animals in the game.
Players must use natural cover to avoid detection by the animals in the game. whitetail deer, European rabbit, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and pheasant may be hunted for free, while mule deer, blacktail, Roosevelt elk, turkey, coyote, feral hog, black bear, moose, European wild boar, roe deer, red deer, red fox, brown bear, mallard, Canada goose, reindeer, alpine ibex, red kangaroo, bison, Sitka deer, snowshoe hare, gadwall, northern pintail, American black duck, polar bear, willow ptarmigan, rock ptarmigan, white-tailed ptarmigan, Big Horn Sheep, Rocky Mountain Elk and Grizzly Bear can be hunted by subscribers, or free users via the Free Rotation function added some time in 2016, each animal species reacts to different stimuli in different ways. Scent detection for the quadrupeds is their keenest sense, which means the player has to be aware of wind direction or the animal might smell the player's scent and run off. Players must also pay careful attention to the soundscape, listening for subtle signals that indicate the presence of animals in the locality.
The core gameplay revolves around tracking and harvesting (killing) animals with the weapons provided, although a digital camera is also provided for those who do not wish to shoot with a gun or a bow. Animal tracks can be found and identified with the "Huntermate", an in-game GPS-like device that identifies tracks, scat, rooting, bedding, blood trails, and animal calls and grunts. To hunt certain species, theHunter requires the player to utilise the correct weapon for each hunt. All bows are considered ethical for all species while rifles, guns and shotguns of different calibre must be selected according to the animal the player will hunt. Players that break this rule will not be given credit for their efforts and will receive a stern email from Doc the warden of all the Evergreen Hunting Reserves.
Hunting areas added since May 2011 are: Settler Creeks (rugged North American mountain forest with abandoned homesteads); Redfeather Falls (rough Canadian mountains and swamps); Hirschfelden (German highland farms and forests); Hemmeldal (Northern Swedish snowy mountains, swamps and icy lakes), which is also the first reserve to allow hunting during snowfall; Rougarou Bayou (Southern United States); Val des Bois (rugged mountains, meadows and woods in the Alps), Bushranger's Run (dry, rocky and sandy Australian Outback), Whiterime Ridge (chilly arctic landscape surrounded by high mountains and icefields), and Timbergold Trails (Rocky Mountains-inspired Reserve). Subscribers can choose to start anywhere in these hunting areas (provided they have a tent, otherwise a hunting lodge can be chosen to start in a list of two or three in each reserve), and at any time of day, between 5 AM and 6 PM.
Prior to announcing theHunter, British developer Emote Games and Swedish developer Avalanche Studios revealed on 8 April 2008 that they had formed a joint venture through which they would create a "unique cross-format socially-enabled game". theHunter was officially announced on 17 September 2008. The game was released as a free-to-play title in April 2009.
Avalanche Studios announced on 18 February 2010 that they had acquired the intellectual property to theHunter from Emote Games. According to Avalanche Studios' chief technology officer, Linus Blomberg, the studio lost GB£35 million and 20 employees due to publishing deals in 2009, because of which they sought to take advantage of theHunter independently. He further noted that, although the game had 100,000 registered users at the time, the number of active users had declined significantly since November 2009. Christofer Sundberg, chief executive officer for Avalanche Studios, explained that the company planned to establish a separately managed subsidiary studio that would focus exclusively on theHunter. This studio was announced as Expansive Worlds on 23 March 2010, with Stefan Pettersson, previously senior consultant at Netlight Consulting, leading the establishment as managing director.
On 24 November 2014, Expansive Worlds announced theHunter: Primal, a standalone expansion to theHunter that would feature dinosaurs. The game was made available through Steam Early Access on 15 December 2014, and was fully released on 31 March 2015. The game was developed and published collaboratively by Expansive Worlds and Avalanche Studios.
A sequel to both games, called theHunter: Call of the Wild, was announced on 28 November 2016. This time developed only by Expansive Worlds and published only by Avalanche Studios, the game was released on 16 February 2017. Expansive Worlds confirmed on 27 March 2017 that the game would also receive ports for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, which were released on 2 October 2017.
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