Crytek's Hunt is a monster-hunting order from another mother

When THQ dissolved in the summer of last year, Vigil Games - the studio behind Darksiders - was facing the chopping block. The THQ-owned company was eventually swept up by Crytek, and the 35 employees from Vigil reformed as Crytek USA. Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age will be the studio's first game, and though it stands apart from Vigil's games, it's also standing on its own two feet.

Hunt is an online, team-based third-person game set in the 1800s. You are a hunter - a person who tracks down and eliminates the things that go bump in the night. Witches, zombies, lizardmen and more are lurking in the shadows of history, and your job is to make sure these walking nightmares get put to rest.
Gallery | 5 Photos

Hunt: Horrors of the Gilded Age (E3 2014)

Adams explained that, while Hunt may seem like a massive departure from the single-player adventures of the Darksiders series, multiplayer gameplay has been on the team's mind since the beginning. "The initial pitch for Darksiders was multiplayer," Adams told Joystiq. And while things never worked out under THQ, operating under Crytek's banner as Crytek USA will allow the ex-Vigil crew to finally achieve a multiplayer vision.

In Hunt, up to four players playing online can join forces and fight their way through various regions around the world as they seek out monstrous myths and living legends. A hands-off demo of pre-alpha gameplay showed a team of hunters trudging through Louisiana swamps in search of a witch. Standing between the squad and their target, however, were hordes of both crazed humans and the undead. What, you didn't think this would be easy, did you?

Levels in Hunt are procedurally generated so that each playthrough will be different; environments shift, enemy positions change, and other surprises pop up to keep you on your toes. Should said surprises prove to be lethal, you'll respawn in some ... interesting ways.

Should someone sustain too much damage and die, teammates will have the chance to rescue them after they've cleared an area. And when we say "rescue," we mean rescue. When your character is ready to come back from the dead, they respawn somewhere on the map, placed in a dangerous situation. In the gameplay demo we saw, one player respawned inside of a locked coffin, while another respawned so that their character was tied up with a rope and left hanging upside down from a meat hook.

The game will also feature RPG elements. While Crytek wasn't ready to discuss the game's progression system, Adams spoke about characters having abilities and custom loadouts which could allow them to fulfill different roles within a group. Want to deal out sweeping areas of damage? Equip your hunter with a flamethrower. Want to deal huge bursts of damage? Get up close and personal with a shotgun. A character's appearance can also be customized.

While Adams stressed that Hunt takes place in "the actual 1800s" and that most of a player's arsenal will be grounded in reality, gameplay footage also showed one hunter using some sort of magical utility item. Once activated, it created a ghostly trail that snaked through the foggy bayou, leading the group to their objective: the witch.

The witch, Adams explained, is one of Hunt's boss fights. Stronger and more resilient than many enemies in the game, bosses in Hunt also feature unique mechanics designed around the co-op experience of the game. During the gameplay sneak peek, we saw the witch drag one unlucky player into an alternate dimension so that only he could see her.

However, every time the player trapped in the witch's dimension hit the old hag with a firearm, she would briefly appear to hunters in the real world. This made her vulnerable, and the players were all too happy to purge her as soon as they could.

Hunt is still in the early stages of development, but a beta is coming to PC later this year.
[Image: Crytek]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.