There was a sense of excitement and curiosity following the announcement that Electronic Arts and Koei Tecmo would be collaborating on a new EA Originals title. A few weeks ago, players learned that the developer behind the Samurai Warriors titles had developed an interest in hunting monsters. Wild Hearts is challenging friends and like-minded users to band together to search for massive beasts that are running amok across an open world. Shacknews recently had a chance to take a first look.
Wild Hearts is being presented as a hunting game that emphasizes co-op play and as a spiritual successor to Koei Tecmo's old Toukiden series. While the game will feature the central hunting premise of the Toukiden games, players can expect to find numerous new features that help push the concept further, such as item crafting. In fact, Wild Hearts is basically the series on a much grander scale, as evidenced by the monsters that players can expect to encounter and the gorgeous world that awaits them.
Players will venture to Azuma, a lush world filled with quiet forests and humble villages. Aside from humans, the world is filled with Kemono, which are massive predatorial beasts. The Kemono are described as an intersection of animals and nature, which also mean they're tied to magical essences. Some of these Kemono can be found in the wild, whlie others will actively block your path. I do mean "block your path," because these beasts are sometimes towering brutes. The Kemono that don't take up the whole screen will often have their own attack patterns can move swiftly, overwhelming parties that aren't prepared for them.
The other major component of Wild Hearts is the Karakuri. This is a piece of technology that players pick up early on in their journey. It's essentially the ability to craft and build, but it allows users to do so on-the-go at any point. The Karakuri can be used to build basic supplies and tools, such as platforms, torches, and gliders. However, more advanced Karakuri will clearly be what Wild Hearts prides itself on, as players can go bigger with their builds. Look for the ability to construct ziplines to reach distant areas, camps to rest up, and also various traps to help during battle. The key to using Karakuri during battles is in creating shortcuts to quickly access a favorite build.
The Karakuri also add interesting possibilities to multiplayer. Different users with their own styles will likely have their favorite Karakuri ideas, which means each hunt should feel different. Koei Tecmo is hopeful that player creativity will lead to unique Karakuri builds, but is especially looking forward to hunting parties combining their ingenuity to take down the badder Kemono beasts. Successfully hunted Kemono, in turn, will sometimes unlock new Karakuri recipes, allowing players to develop even cooler builds or discover gear for their hunter.
There's a lot to explore in Wild Hearts. Due to technical difficulties, Shacknews wasn't able to explore the full spring biome, but the cherry blossom trees add to the ambiance of this world that's styled after feudal Japan. The other biomes will likely fit with winter, autumn, and summer and will each house their own Kemono.
Wild Hearts is looking like a larger-than-life undertaking and it should be interesting to see how Koei Tecmo approaches it with the long haul in mind. The team noted during last week's press briefing that the announced collaboration with Electronic Arts was KT's way of branching out to newer regions and audiences that the developer isn't normally able to reach. This is something that Koei Tecmo hopes will entertain players for years to come and it should be interesting to see how Wild Hearts does coming out of the gate.
It won't be long before the hunt begins. Wild Hearts is coming to PC (via Steam, the Epic Games Store, and Origin), PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X|S on February 17.