The moment Way of the Hunter was announced by THQ Nordic, it’s been on my radar. Few games land as well with me as an open-world hunting game filled with gorgeous visuals and realistic wildlife. The moment I knew it existed, I reached out to the developers from Nine Rock Games to ask them questions about this upcoming title. Graciously, David Durčák, Nine Rocks Games CEO and Daniel Dička, Nine Rocks Games Creative Director, took some time to answer those questions.
Shacknews: My first question is, how did Nine Rock Games settle on creating a hunting game with Way of the Hunter?
Nine Rock Games: It felt like the right time and place. Almost half of the team are former members of Cauldron development studio with a pedigree in hunting games, having developed a successful line of Cabela's hunting games for PC and consoles. Another large portion of the team comprises developers who previously worked at Bohemia Interactive, primarily on DayZ, and they brought in a lot of experience with creating dynamic, open worlds. We also saw a huge opportunity in creating a different kind of hunting game and being the first ones to take advantage of the increased performance of PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and new PC hardware.
Shacknews: Will Way of the Hunter feature any survival elements?
Nine Rock Games: Way of the Hunter is a hunting game, first and foremost. We are focusing on elements and gameplay mechanics that enhance the core hunting experience and setting aside those that do not. We’ve put more work into things such as authentic animal behavior or authentic ballistics.
Shacknews: Was there any thought given to adding fishing to Way of the Hunter?
Nine Rock Games: Nope!
Shacknews: What kind of research has the team done to educate themselves on hunting practices? Are there any specific influences you can talk about?
Nine Rock Games: Most importantly is our personal experience in creating hunting games in the past – we’re really fond of that kind of game and are happy being able to create a brand-new one with stunning graphics and large areas with different biomes to explore, and a coop-mode for the players to share their excitement with the players around the world.
Shacknews: What is Way of the Hunter going to bring to players that is unique or of a higher quality than what's already out there?
Nine Rock Games: We are creating a game that will provide an authentic and highly immersive hunting experience. Way of the Hunter will ask players to become a part of the game's world, learn nature's rhythms, and be very deliberate about their approach. Furthermore, we have given a lot of attention to animal behavior. Players who take the time to observe and manage various herds properly will be rewarded with higher-scoring trophies as long as they persistently eliminate low-fitness males with undesirable traits from the gene pool. We are also proud of the locations we have crafted. Many people who have already played early builds told us that hiking through nature and observing the animals without ever taking a single shot is rewarding and fun.
Shacknews: Will Way of the Hunter encourage wildlife preservation and responsible hunting and, if so, how might its systems encourage those ideas?
Nine Rock Games: We are not quite ready to talk about how various systems and mechanics encourage it, but we can tell you that ethical hunting is a central element in the game's story and mechanics. As said before, if players are paying close attention to what animals they actually hunt and persistently eliminate low fitness males with undesirable traits from the gene pool, they will be rewarded. This will actually make people think about what the true Way of the Hunter is.
Shacknews: Outside of the story, what reasons will Way of the Hunter give players to go hunting? Will they hunt to feed themselves, decorate their wall with trophies, or perhaps crafting?
Nine Rock Games: Each location in the game will indeed feature a main lodge that the players will be able to personalize with their trophies. Players will also have the option to sell off the harvested meat and purchase new weapons and gear. Last but not least, our locations will feature several collectibles and unique locations that may compel explorers and completionists to keep coming back to the wilderness.
Shacknews: The two hunting territories at launch are in the U.S. and Europe. Can you elaborate on which parts of the U.S. and Europe?
Nine Rock Games: We'll talk more about our inspiration for each map soon and will share details about them like where exactly they are, what animals are living there and so on. Stay tuned!
Shacknews: Each territory will be 55 square miles. Will there be vehicles to make traversal easier on the player?
Nine Rock Games: Let's wait for future announcements.
Shacknews: The trailer looks beautiful. What kind of weather systems can players expect to encounter?
Nine Rock Games: Everything between clear skies and heavy rain. And of course, the wind of various strength will impact the ballistics and animals' ability to smell the player.
Shacknews: Can you maybe tease some of the equipment the player will have at their disposal outside of weapons and scopes?
Nine Rock Games: We can confirm that players will be able to choose from a selection of callers for example.
Shacknews: Will there be bow hunting in Way of the Hunter?
Nine Rock Games: The game will not feature bows at launch.
Shacknews: Are there any animal species in the game where the player (the hunter) could potentially become the hunted?
Nine Rock Games: No, you are the hunter, not the hunted!
Shacknews: With confirmation of co-op and multiplayer modes, do you plan on having crossplay?
Nine Rock Games: No, the game will not feature crossplay.
Shacknews: At Shacknews, we like to ask this about almost every game; Any plans for Way of the Hunter on Nintendo Switch?
Nine Rock Games: There are currently no plans for releasing on platforms other than PC, PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.
There you have it, loads of information for you to dig into about Way of the Hunter from Nine Rock Games. Way of the Hunter will release on August 16, 2022, on PC via Steam, Xbox Series X|S, and PlayStation 5. Shacknews will be covering Way of the Hunter leading up to its release and beyond, so come back often to see what's new with this offering from Nine Rock Games and THQ Nordic.
Bill Lavoy posted a new article, Way of the Hunter aims to create an 'immersive hunting experience'
I used to play hunting games sometimes. This was WAY BACK in the day when they were very very simple, just sit in one spot and wait for the animals to come into view and take your shot. No open world, no driving, no moving at all really. Just like computer versions of the old Arcade Hunting simulators. But this looks neat. I may have to give it a shot eventually. Probably buy it when it's 5 dollasr on a steam sale.
If you're into fishing games, there's a banger coming later this year as well.
I agree, this looks interesting. I'll be reviewing it for Shacknews when it releases.