The appeal of monster hunting games is largely twofold; 1, the act of fighting a hulking great monstrosity is visceral and satisfying, and 2, monster hunting games generally require mastery of weaponry, with each encounter requiring practice and strategy to execute. There’s variety in monster hunting titles too – monsters come in all shapes and sizes, which the games in this rundown demonstrate. Some are human-like, others not so much. So whilst there’s more than a handful of dinosaur-centric monster hunting titles on this rundown, each game does something unique.
Sons of the Forest
Crash landing onto remote island is Sons of the Forest, the upcoming sequel to The Forest, a crafting and survive-a-thon amidst the backdrop of a cannibal-infested hellscape. Some of the mutated monsters in Sons of the Forest are – as developer Endnight Games puts it – ‘almost human like’ whilst others, chillingly, they describe as ‘like nothing you’ve ever seen before.’
From the gameplay we’ve seen so far, Sons of the Forest promises an intense, violent, and bloody experience as you’ll exercise complete freedom to tackle the world as you see fit. See, on this deadly island, you’re on your own. There won’t be any domineering NPCs holding your hand as you fight demons to stay alive. After a string of delays, this one will hopefully be out February 2023.
High-fantasy action-RPG Project Awakening has been in the pipeline for a few years now, having first been announced by developer Cygames in 2016. Taking cues from Capcom’s Monster Hunter series, the first glimpses we saw of Project Awakening – a wandering knight ordained by some almighty order to tackle a huge, scaly Dragon-type creature – promised a game capable of sitting alongside those legendary Capcom titles.
After re-emerging from developmental abyss late last year, we’re firmly back on the Project Awakening hype-train. Despite its three years-or-so age, that original trailer still packs a punch; the weight and physicality of the knight’s battle with the dragon still amazes. With development most likely shifted to current-gen hardware, it’s exciting to see just how impressive Project Awakening will look come our next glance at gameplay footage.
Don’t write off Forspoken just yet. For the uninitiated, the gist is this is a sprawling Horizon Forbidden West type odyssey with players assuming command of New Yorker Frey after she’s mysteriously transported into the beautiful land of Athia. She’ll need to master her newfound magical abilities during battle against a raft of fantastical monstrosities – from ginormous flying dragons to skeletal otherworldly creatures – if she hopes to find a way home.
Most intriguing are Frey’s magical powers that’re borne of Athia’s nature. For instance, she harbours ability to command barriers of water for attack or defence. These mystical abilities are pivotal for fast and agile manoeuvres too, allowing Frey to rapidly dodge oncoming attacks, or repeatedly hop higher into the air, coming face to face with the game’s monolithic dragons. Not long to wait before Forspoken’s release; should there be no more delays, expect this one to land on PS5 and PC January 23rd.
Honor of Kings: World
Existing as a hugely popular Chinese mobile game for half a decade, Honor of Kings: World is this open-world action-RPG’s chance to spread its wings onto comparatively large-scale PC monitors and TV screens. Don’t let the fact Honor of Kings: World has its roots in mobile gaming put you off though, for this – as TiMi Studio Group advise – is a vast reimagining. We only need to watch the official Unreal Engine gameplay trailer to see they’re onto something – it’s simply gorgeous, with vibrantly decorated, mythological beasts exuding poise and aggression in whirlpooling co-operative battle. There’s little known about Honor of Kings: World’s release window at present, only that it’ll come to ‘multiple platforms’ in due course.
Black Myth: Wukong
Joining Honor of Kings: World as one of the most exciting games to be coming out of China, Black Myth: Wukong is an upcoming action RPG offering a prestige take on the Dark Souls formula that’s laced with East Asian aesthetic and Chinese mythology. Players will command Monkey King Sun Wukong, a mythical figure best known as protector of Buddhist monk Tang Sanzang on their arduous pilgrimage through Central Asia as told in 16th century Chinese literary classic Journey to the West.
Sun Wukong is incredibly strong, with lightning-fast reflexes and magical ability to transform into 72 animals and objects, meaning he’s quite capable at brawling humungous foe, including writhing flying dragons with snake-like bodies as seen in the gameplay revealed so far. Coming to multiple platforms next year, let’s hope freshly minted development studio Game Science can deliver on the game’s early promise.
The original Ark game displayed some interesting concepts – tropical setting populated by primal, tameable dinosaurs, with mythical technology to harness alongside base-building mechanics. Admittedly there was a lot going on with the original that didn’t always stick the landing. Well, Studio Wildcard have a sequel on the way, and with it a promise that every aspect of the Ark series is rethought and redesigned. First, there appears a deeper story, with Santiago – played by Vin Diesel – tasked with protecting his daughter in a chaotic world where native flora and fauna are being overrun by invasive primeval creatures from an extinct Earth. There’ll be much to chew one when Ark 2 releases some time next year, with Xbox Series X|S and PC the only announced platforms thus far.
The Lost Wild
More dino shenanigans now, and survival horror adventure The Lost Wild, a game touted by Great Ape Games as ‘an immersive and cinematic dinosaur game that captures the reverence and terror of nature’s most magnificent beasts.’ Players can expect to come face-to-face with all their childhood favourites – Stegosaurus, Pterodactyl, and of course, an angry toothy T-Rex. The kicker here though is the dinosaurs in The Lost Wild are said to exhibit intelligence, mirroring wild animal behaviour. Consequently, players will need to explore the game’s primal forests extremely carefully, choosing when to stealthily evade a predator or intimidate with a combination of fire or non-lethal weaponry. As a marker of quality, The Lost Wild is being published by indie titans Annapurna Interactive and will see release some time in 2024.
Instinction is a cinematic, story-based adventure where players hunt all manner of prehistoric creatures – from extinct dinosaurs to relatively modern ice age-era sabre-tooth tigers – in an experience Hashbane Interactive promise as bursting with immersive combat and environmental puzzles. Players will control intrepid explorer April Summers – herself plagued by inner demons – as she traverses through beautifully crafted interactive environments scouring for ancient artifacts. Of all the games on this rundown, Instinction feels heaviest in atmosphere. There’s no planned release window yet, so wishlist this one on Steam if you want to keep in the know.
Deathground pits squads of up to three into a desperate battle for survival against an onslaught of deadly dinosaurs. Deathground can be played solo too; however, with a team composed of professional hunters and survivalists, surely strength in numbers will improve player chances of securing the biggest loot. There’s a Hollywood-esque aesthetic to Deathground, with comparisons to the Jurassic Park films of the 90s obvious. Either way, dinosaurs in Deathground are said to be reactive and unpredictable, hunting players down for a play session that’ll feel dynamic and suspenseful. This is another one that doesn’t have an official release window, so track it down on Steam and give it a wishlist.
From what we know, in Atlas Fallen players will glide through a timeless land hunting legendary monsters with a raft of powerful, shape-shifting weapons with deadly sand-infused abilities. It’s fair to say the recent gameplay trailer only reveals shards of actual gameplay footage, but what we do see – sand surfing notwithstanding – is awe-inspiring; elemental explosive weaponry wielding on dangerous, sand-encrusted monstrosities, against a backdrop of ancient ruins. A current-gen title, Atlas Fallen is slated for release next year.
Freshly revealed Wild Hearts is a collaboration between monolithic game publishers EA Originals and Koei Tecmo, and, in tandem with development studio Omega Force, is vying to dethrone Capcom’s Monster Hunter as principal hunting game. Wild Hearts is set in a fantasy feudal Japan, with teams of up to three players tasked with taking on ‘giant nature-infused beasts known as Kemono’. It’s very reminiscent of Capcom’s iconic monster hunting titles but does have a unique selling point in the form of the magical Karakuri, which are constructable buildings and platforms which players can to scale before jumping off, launching via handheld helicopter, or even construct medieval-style hammers to pelt the game’s colossal beasts. Alongside the game’s announcement was a release date of February 17th 2023, with PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC the platforms confirmed.