Beginning with Hunt: Showdown we are going to start a series about games that would make great additions to esports, yet haven’t become esports sensations or just taking their first steps into becoming one; whether it’s because of a lack of initiative from the developers' side or their vision for their games, amount of demand from its community, current shifts and fluxes in popularity of competitive games/genres, or maybe it's just because there’s no ideal time for a game to become a mainstream esports sensation in our opinion.
When it comes to games that could’ve been in or may have been in esports the list is huge. Recently ideal candidates such as Ready or Not and Thunder Tier One have been released and already discussions are taking place in online forums about their esports potential.
What Hunt: Showdown is about
Hunt is a game developed by the legendary Crytek. Currently with 3 maps full of zombies and different types of monsters born from a dark infestation taking place in a late 19th century Wild West setting. It is strictly a multiplayer game with tactical, looter and RPG elements.
It’s extremely thrilling and immersive at best and cruel to the player at worst. 12 players; either in solos, duos or trios compete against each other to kill one or two of the bosses that appear on the map, try to extract with the bounty tokens they've dropped by making it alive to the extraction points and level up their characters traits and upgrade their gear and repeat the process until they lose their hunter to the dark world of Hunt: Showdown forever.
It’s a game of survival among others in which you only have a single shot whilst inside a match without an option to respawn unless, of course, a teammate revives you. I could talk for hours about its intricate details and unprecedented interaction options with its world. But let’s get to the point, shall we?
Why would it make a perfect esports game?
Hunt has a special way of providing interactivity between the player and its world. Shoot miner zombies torchlights to set them ablaze to add to the chaos, throw a decoy into a dog kennel to rattle them and divert your enemies attention, Extinguish your enemies impending grenades with a smoke bomb of your own, everything on the map is usable by you or against you.
Where it really shines is its unique gunplay experience with different bullet types and velocities, melee options with different ranges, tons of tactical gadgets and traps you could use to hinder or kill other hunters, deal different damage types such as poison, bleeding and fire. All of them have different intensities of dealing damage and counters, some grenades explode overhead, whilst some throwables burn on water, whilst with others, you could tangle an enemy team in a trap-set barbwire bomb combined with a poison trap and watch the enemy team panic and bleed themselves to death, not your everyday ordinary gameplay.
Subtle mechanics of single-action revolvers and cumbersome but powerful single-shot breech rifles to lever-action Civil-War era guns the game provides you where you essentially have to get into the rhythm of your cowboy era gun to even score a single hit in an intense firefight.
It’s fiercely competitive; you could find clues and outright rush the boss’ lair to get out with the bounty quickly when the whole map’s chasing you to steal your loot and kill your precious hunter. You could set up ambushes and let some other team deal with the boss, or maybe even rush them when they’re busy with the boss. Downed one of the opposing team’s teammates but they are still giving you trouble? just set fire to their friend’s body and they’ll be risking extinguishing their friend to revive them or risk losing the odds altogether.
Then again, they may just decide to run away with what they got to save their valuable character for a later match only to leave their friends cold and bitter. Choose weapons from poisonous crossbows to cavalry sabres, or why not go for a long-range option of Sniper to ambush them whilst they’re seconds away from extraction to steal their extremely valuable bounty. Check out this gameplay footage for a deeper dive into its action:
Meanwhile, competitive matches like this one continue at full steam on Luckbox should you want to make some predictions.
Hunt: Showdown provides the players with a very wide range of viable tactics that you mix and match with your tools, gadgets, guns and earned traits and creates for dozens if not hundreds of different play types to kill other players. Death is instant, your life is valuable, the atmosphere is unique, music is great. It has a dedicated community of at least twenty thousand which also makes it pretty popular for an extremely hardcore game that may alienate most people with its difficulty.
Every match is a mix of battle royale and a CS:GO world final
Every match is a mix of battle royale and a CS:GO world final where your heart beats in your ears because you either make it out alive or lose it all. Sheer Adrenaline. Add on top of it the chances of levelling up your character and gaining traits that let you revive your friend from afar or hipfiring lever-action rifles like you are Clint Eastwood starring in a spaghetti western.
This is what peak level competitive play looks like from master of Hunt, YouTuber Rachta Z. Rush of adrenaline combined with pushing your reflexes and reaction times and quick thinking abilities to the limit, combined with instant death and RPG elements make Hunt an ideal candidate that we would like to see more in the mainstream esports scene.
Why it’s not an esports title (yet)?
Hunt has been plagued by performance issues since its release whether it’s from netcode causing hit registry problems or the CPU-intensiveness of its Cry engine. These problems have been mostly resolved after years of development and patches but still two out of ten times they result in unfair deaths and clunky gameplay. Not very ideal for an esports game. It has dashing visuals, uses Cryengine after all but this also results in a not very accessible game for potato and mid-tier PC users (not judging I’m in the same camp too!) albeit, it runs smoothly on consoles. But that’s not the sole reason, of course.
Hunt: Showdown League
To make a game esports oriented, the developers and community must work hand in hand. Although Crytek managed to achieve this in the pandemic’s lockdown period, they still have to have a vision and an objective to carry the game into the esports scene. It has an extensive leaderboard and a very good skill-based matchmaking system which made the game even more competitive.
Instead of using strict ranks there are now ranked tiers just like in currently popular esports titles which is also a huge step into the direction of becoming an esports game. I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear about a big Hunt: Showdown tournament in the near future thanks to its constant improvement and the direction its heading.
Crytek needs community
But for this to happen Crytek and the community needs to do more. There’ve been some steps in the direction of becoming an esports title from a very competitive multiplayer game. Such as Crytek organized events and community-organized tournaments like bayoubowl (a map’s setting from the game is the bayous of Louisiana, nice pun). Regarding the gameplay aspect; it’s currently very well balanced and constantly changing and evolving for the better with the feedback of its players.
Just like any other esports title. Crytek’s been doing a nice job lately. The game has very little to no RNG in its maps even if it looks like it has in the first place, this is also a nice checkbox for an esports title. An in-game ranked matchmaking system instead of the skill-based, better-adjusted ruleset for this mode and with a season system. Hunt is almost there to become an esports title. It just needs to push a little bit harder to make it there. But then again it all depends on Crytek's vision for the game's future. If they take into account player feedback, the community is definitely wanting.
Overall if (hopefully soon) Hunt hits the mainstream esports scene or forms its own league. I’d be there either competing in a team or sitting in the front rows on its first day… Hope you enjoyed the first entry in our games with esports potential series, see you on our next article!
Are you also hyped about the idea of Hunt: Showdown becoming a major esports title? If you are interested more in esports visit our esports matches page, support your favorite teams and make some predictions on Luckbox