The Hunter (video game)

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The Hunter
Logo for The Hunter
  • Emote Games
  • Expansive Worlds (remake)
  • Avalanche Studios (remake)
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
  • WW: March 2009
  • WW: 3 June 2014 (remake)
Genre(s) First-person hunting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer
Three elk in a wooded area

The Hunter, stylized as theHunter, is an online first-person hunting video game released in March 2009. The Hunter: Primal, a standalone expansion featuring dinosaurs, was launched in March 2015.


The Hunter is a first-person hunting game that recreates hunting wild animals in as realistic manner 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 pool of unique faces, and adding a unique name. Once a character is created and the tutorial completed, the player can hunt freely and 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.[1]

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.

In order to hunt certain species, The Hunter requires the player to utilize the correct weapon for each hunt. All bows are considered ethical for all species while rifles, guns and shotguns of different caliber 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), and Whiterime Ridge (chilly arctic landscape surrounded by high mountains and icefields),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.

Whitetail deer can be both typical or non-typical since the update in January, 2015 which introduced this feature.

Free-to-play players were initially restricted at launch to Whitehart Island. Then from May 2011 a large 2.3 square-mile spur, called Logger's Point, was made the free-to-play starting point. Access was barred from there to the main Whitehart Island, unless one had a paid subscription. As of 3 June 2013 all hunting reserves can be visited and played by free-to-play users of the game, but no animal can be shot without a license apart from whitetail deer, european rabbit, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and pheasant.

The Hunter also features minor RPG elements. As players track and spot each animal their skill in that area improves. Weapon skills can also be improved by scoring successful hits on animals. Improving the hunting skills makes animals easier to track, and a weapon will not suffer as much "wobble" when aimed.

Skills, missions, and hunting statistics are recorded by the game and then displayed on the player's profile page on the website, although they cannot be seen while hunting in the game client.

Multiplayer was released on 3 June 2013 and allows full members both to host and to join maps with up to 8 players. Free members can only join multiplayer if the host allows it. A new set of animations has been also released, together with a new inventory mode, new clothes and some minor changes. Even the website has undergone a full restyle.

In July 2013 the red fox was released, followed by mallard ducks in the Rougarou Bayou swampy reserve.

Canada goose was the next on the list, on 27 March 2014, making Hirschfelden the first ever reserve with six species and the first ever with two species of game birds as well.

In September 2014 the alpine ibex was added on the brand new Val des Bois alpine reserve, as the first prey of the goat family. The reserve marks the release of the first new in-game activity: simplified climbing. Two species of rodents, cottontail rabbit and European rabbit followed in a few months. The following and first ever all-dry reserve is dedicated to the hot, dry outback of western Australia with a new species, red kangaroo.

Dogs were added for the retrieval of ducks during waterfowling and Canada goose hunting.

In 2015 the American buffalo, Sitka deer, Arctic fox, polar bear and snowshoe hare were added to Whiterime Ridge Reserve.This new reserve introduced extreme cold climate conditions that require the player to wear special protection against the elements or suffer hypothermia.

In November 2015, other 3 waterfowl bird in the Rougarou Bayou swampy reserve.

Some time in 2016 They added an animal Rotation which allows for players to hunt some other animals such as Mule Deer, Black Bears, and every other animal on the game via a Free Rotation.


The game is free-to-play, but licenses must be purchased to hunt any animal other than whitetail deer, european rabbit, cottontail rabbit, snowshoe hare and pheasant, but each week there are random animals that as a free player you can shoot as well and are featured on the front page of the Expansive Worlds web site. Any additional guns, ammo, and equipment can be purchased with in-game currency. Memberships allow the player to hunt all species and receive unlimited ammo for a defined period (3, 6 or 12 months according to the price).

Membership types each grant different set of weapons, and weapons can be bought in the store among many other things that makes the hunt more sophisticated. There are strict rules which weapon can be used to hunt which species, so buying different guns are needed in the long run to hunt all the species.


The Hunter was first developed by UK-based Emote Games, in conjunction with the Swedish Avalanche Studios. On 18 February 2010, Avalanche Studios announced the acquisition of the full rights to The Hunter intellectual property previously owned by Emote Games.[2] In relation to the acquisition the new studio, Expansive Worlds was formed that will act as the online games division of Avalanche and continue the development of The Hunter.[3]

The Hunter uses Avalanche Studio's proprietary Avalanche Engine 2[4] which uses procedurally-generated content, and can thus pack a large and sophisticated game world into a relatively small download (which is 1.47Gb as of December 2013). The advanced engine enables, subtle lighting and shading, and natural weather effects.


Aggregate score
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 79.75%[5]
Review score
Publication Score
GamePro 4.5/5[6]

The Hunter gathered positive reviews during its launch period. However, it received "Mostly Negative" reviews on Steam due to the inability to hunt different kinds of animals without an in-game hunting license. A player can buy hunting licenses with in-game currency or real money to get a membership. The standalone expansion received a "Mixed" review for the same reason. Metacritic gave The Hunter: Primal a score of 49 out of 100.

Expansion and sequel[edit]

theHunter: Primal, a standalone expansion featuring dinosaurs, was released on Steam's early access on 15 December 2014, and fully launched on 31 March 2015.[7][8]

A sequel titled, theHunter: Call of the Wild, was released on Steam in February 2017.[9]


External links[edit]