Hunt: Showdown is getting one of the rarest things a game can get: an engine update

Hunt: Showdown is getting one of the rarest things a game can get: an engine update

Hunt: Showdown is getting one of the rarest things a game can get: an engine update

"It's going to be a long technical road" to update Hunt's version of CryEngine.

Hunt Showdown is celebrating its five-year anniversary with a big sale (opens in a new tab) and a new DLC hunter. While there's a lot to look back on, Crytek's eyes are fixed on the future, with plans to upgrade Hunt from an old legacy 5.6 version of CryEngine to the latest 5.11 version.

"The game currently runs on a legacy version of CryEngine from four years ago," David Fifield, general manager of Crytek, explained to PC Gamer. “So one of our main talking points in 2023 will be about upgrading to the latest version 5.11 of CryEngine, which is four years newer.”

Upgrading an engine from a decimal to a slightly larger decimal doesn't seem like a significant change, but it's a much bigger task than updating your phone's firmware. It's extremely rare for a years-old game with an established development pipeline to replace the base it's on - it's the game developer's equivalent of swapping your car's chassis for a new one that's theoretically better but could introduce new problems. Last year, Epic transitioned Fortnite to Unreal Engine 5 with impressive results (opens in new tab).

Ideally, the 5.11 Hunt update will bring improvements to the game's already excellent graphics, but it also promises to bring gameplay improvements (although Crytek hasn't offered any examples).

"It's going to be a long technical road, so people shouldn't expect it anytime soon, but it's something that's in the works. As we move forward and reach significant milestones of readiness, we'll talk more and more about what it means to take the CryEngine game 5.6 to CryEngine 5.11," said Fifield.

While this big update has been out for a while, players can still look forward to many more updates, including an overhaul of their new player onboarding tools. “We are working to improve the tutorial and have a more scripted tutorial with more explanation and what we would say is just better teaching than the existing training missions.”

Crytek's mission to keep Hunt: Showdown technologically relevant suggests a renewed commitment to its cowboy extraction shooter for years to come. We probably wouldn't be hearing about engine updates if, for example, there was a Hunt 2 in development or Crytek was slowing down updates. Which makes sense for the team, with Fifield talking about year-over-year growth in the game's player base. "We're curious to see how high the population and engagement and all those things can go." Last month's Devil's Moon event, which among many things set entire maps on fire (opens in a new tab), demonstrated Crytek's willingness to tweak Hunt's fundamentals and keep players on their toes.

To learn more about Hunt: Showdown, we recently caught up with Crytek (opens in a new tab) to talk about the anniversary, where Hunt is now, and where he's heading in 2023.

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