At the start of 2021 we find ourselves approaching the one-year anniversary of ‘Predator: Hunting Grounds’ developed by Illfonic. Predator: Hunting Grounds is unique in that it is the first multiplayer-only, live-service type game for the Predator franchise. A live-service game is one that sees regular new content updates to keep players engaged in a game long after its release, allowing the game to evolve and improve over time.
Illfonic CEO Charles Brungardt had this to say on the eve of Predator: Hunting Grounds release last year:
“Speaking of planned updates, we view the launch of Predator: Hunting Grounds as just the beginning. What that means to us, at IllFonic, is that we can continue to drop new content post launch. We do have a roadmap in place for this already. In fact, you will see the first content update — which will be a free one — go live a little over a month from now. And there will be more content updates after that. These will include many great surprises. This is part of why our community forums are so special to us. We are listening and taking your feedback to heart, whether it be found bugs or comments on the game.”
While live-service games sometimes carry a negative connotation, typically when they’re used to justify a lack of single-player game development, there are a number of titles that have really done well with this model. Games such as Rainbow Six Siege, Fortnite, Call of Duty: Warzone, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Apex Legends, Dead by Daylight, and many others have kept and grown their player-bases with continual and substantive new content.
Illfonic did have more significant plans for their last game, Friday the 13th a year after its release, which unfortunately had to be abandoned due to an ongoing lawsuit with the license. It was a few months more than a year after launch that it was announced there would be no more content coming to that game, but hopefully Illfonic will be able to expand further with Predator, as they couldn’t do with Friday the 13th. Asymmetrical horror game Dead by Daylight launched back in 2016, and is still going strong near the top of the Steam charts. We certainly see this as possible for the future of Hunting Grounds.
Personally, we’ve loved a lot of what we’ve played so far of Hunting Grounds, and it’s been great fun hopping on with our usual squadmates to take down Predators in the jungle. This is also the first mainline Predator video game release we’ve seen since Predator: Concrete Jungle way back in 2005, and we’re very grateful to Illfonic for their work in bringing us an awesome new Predator title that captures the feel of that original film so well and expands upon the franchise lore in a way that’s pleased many fans.
Regardless of our good time with the game, since launch we’ve felt the game is sorely lacking content, and we still feel this way. Hopefully 2021 will see that fixed. Developing a game from home since right before launch and keeping updates coming in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic can’t be easy to say the least and we recognize that. Illfonic brought us new human and Predator content in 2020, new weapons, as well as a new map, ‘Excavation,’ and the new mode ‘Clash.’
But when it comes down to it, even with the new additions, the game still has only four maps, and two modes, which just isn’t enough with such a strong foundation that Illfonic has built. Hunting Grounds has quite a bit of potential that has yet to be exploited in our view.
So we thought we’d put together a little compilation here, starting from what we have a pretty good idea will be coming to the game, and followed by suggestions of things we’d like to see land this year or sometime in the future.
WHAT IS LIKELY COMING BASED ON DATAMINED FILES:
Thanks to some people on the Predator: Hunting Grounds Reddit that have been posting datamined files of this game since its earliest patches, we’ve been given a glimpse at what Illfonic may be working on behind the scenes. Keep in mind that none of these are guaranteed, but given they’ve appeared in multiple builds, and some have been updated, we feel there is a strong likelihood of most of, if not all of, the following is coming to Hunting Grounds.
Note: It has been brought to our attention that Discord user ‘Blu#7288‘ is largely responsible for datamining the leaks contained in our article, and Illfonic forum member ‘TBrack25’ has been sharing them. Thanks to them for giving us these sneak peaks in what may be to come. If there are any other dataminers whose work is featured here, please let us know so that we may give proper credit.
We’re very excited for what we believe to be February’s Paid DLC 8: Isabelle from the 2010’s Predators! The outline from the roadmap matches her pose from the production still exactly, and judging by a similar tease before Dutch 87, we’d be surprised if she isn’t our next Fireteam member. Here’s hoping Alice Braga was brought on do some voice work for the game and a new set of tapes like with Arnold and the Dutch tapes!
This could be another fantastic contribution to the lore for her to tell the story of how she (and Royce?) escaped the Game Preserve Planet, which is something we’ve been wondering about for a decade! I would think early access to her variable digital zoom sniper rifle would be included in her DLC, to be added later for free as has become standard with their new characters. If there are new tapes, it would be great to have them as part of the ones still on the maps to incentivize collecting them again.
TWO MORE MAPS: AIRSTRIP & HEADQUARTERS
The first of three originally datamined maps has already been released, ‘Excavation.’ We have seen two more maps from the files, which are Airstrip and Headquarters. Both maps will likely be jungle based like the four we have already, and we can spot assets we’ve seen before in Headquarters such as a downed plane, downed chopper, and ruins. Of course, these maps could still have surprises for us in store. Personally, I’m hoping Airstrip might have a vista into a wider valley such as shown in a piece of concept art during the loading screens.
MR. BLACK PREDATOR
One of the earlier datamined files was Mr. Black’s spinning shoulder cannon, implying that the main Predator of 2010’s ‘Predators’ will be coming to the game. We still think this is coming based on a new animation found after the most recent patch that shows the cannon doing its spin just as in the film. We’ve seen different appearances for the shoulder canons of other Predator classes, but it’ll be interesting to see if this plasmacaster functions any differently than the default plasma caster or if this will be purely an aesthetic change.
Another item seen in the files which has also been updated is the Predator Falcon Drone, as used by Falconer Predator from Predators. We have to wonder if this means the Falconer Predator will be offered as well. In the game right now, if you spot a Predator disc your Fireteam member refers to it as a drone. Perhaps this could be used to recon the area as the Predator, which would be a fitting counter to the Fireteam’s recently added UAV scan. Mr. Black and Falconer both wear the same armor, so it’s not too much of a stretch to think we may be getting both.
Another movie Predator character we’re expecting is Scar from 2004’s ‘AVP’. Again, this is based on his datamined weaponry. His larger plasma caster is mounted on its robotic arm, which has a new folding animation for when it retracts. It also looks like the Shruiken will be landing as well, featured in both AvPs and 2018’s ‘The Predator.’ This could be a cosmetic skin for the disc that’s already in the game, similar to the City Hunter’s spear.
I have to wonder, as with the Berserker Predators, if we’ll be getting more than just Scar. Given their skin and armor was very similar, aside from the masks and some other minor details, perhaps we could see the entire AvP hunting trio. Honestly, if we get Mr. Black and Falconer, I’d expect Scar and Celtic, rather than all three, as Chopper would require some further development for his ‘wrist swords’ and so would Tracker for his hounds.
TIKI PREDATOR, CLEO PREDATOR, and VALKYRIE PREDATOR
Late last year we saw three more intriguing Predator classes listed that are not currently in the game: Valkyrie, Tiki, and Cleo. One of the criticisms of the post-launch Predator offerings has been the lack of female customization options for the new classes, and it’s possible that Valkyrie and Cleo are meant to address that.
Cleo could be short for Cleopatra; it’s mentioned in the Dutch tapes that the female Predator that killed his team looked Egyptian, so perhaps this is that very same Predator. Valkyrie suggests a female version of Viking, and Tiki makes me think of the more primal looking Preds of Kehua, featured in the ‘Hunters’ Predator comic. Some new dreadlocks were recently spotted that could belong to one of these upcoming classes.
ADDITIONAL PREDATOR MASKS
Illfonic has released six new Predator masks that are already purchasable with in-game currency, and it looks like the three below will be added to the Predator’s cosmetic options soon enough. They all look pretty good, but I do think the textures of the 3rd one are a bit too prominent, though I like the overall shape, as it reminds me of Wolf’s mask a bit.
LONE WOLF MODE
Around launch, people noticed something odd about the description for one of the first trophies to be obtained in the game by completing the tutorial level: “complete all Lone Wolf missions.” This was a curious text just for finishing the tutorial, and was later updated to simply “complete the tutorial level.”
‘Lone Wolf’ has been spotted a number of times in the files, and as the name suggests, this could be a single player challenge mode. Illfonic did something similar with Friday the 13th, and we’d love to see that here. Initially it was pretty intimidating to play as the Predator, as the learning curve was higher than the traditional shooter tactics of the Fireteam. Having a single-player mode would be fantastic to practice strategies as the Predator, and would likely reduce the multiplayer wait time to play as one too. However, as seen below, it looks like the Lone Wolf section has Fireteam missions, so perhaps there could there be a single-player mode for both sides?
Late last year a number of snow effects were found in the files, which led some of us to believe that there would be a Holiday event for the game featuring a change in weather (finally!). Alas, it didn’t happen. But it’s still pretty head scratching to see those effects in there for a game based in the jungle.
WHAT WE’D LIKE TO SEE:
If everything above comes to the game we’ll be very happy campers, but there’s still room for more! These are some ideas for content and updates that we think would be great additions to Hunting Grounds.
BETTER FIELD LOCKER DROP RATES OR OTHER WAYS OF OBTAINING TROPHIES
Duplicates crush our souls, and RNG has just not been on our side in obtaining the coveted cosmetic Predator trophies. It’s strange because this system is built like pre-Battlefront II loot-boxes but without any implemented monetization (which we expected but also dreaded).
We’ve found ourselves opening hundreds of crates with an obnoxious level of duplicates when we still have a number of locked cosmetics left. We really think there should be other ways of obtaining these trophies, perhaps offer them for Veratanium at a very high cost, or maybe each trophy could have its own specific challenges to unlock. If not that, then the drop and duplicate rates really should just be reworked.
MISSION SELECT OPTION IN PRIVATE MATCHES
As much as we like taking pictures of dead pigs and killing the brothers of local drug lords, we have some missions we prefer over others. In private matches, we’d like the option for the host to select which mission to play. Also, when the new map ‘Excavation’ dropped last year, we were a bit disappointed that about half of the missions were recycled from the other three maps, which each had their own completely unique mission sets. Here’s hoping that future maps have more new missions than old ones.
GIVE US THIS PREDATOR MASK
I genuinely believe this is the coolest looking Predator mask in the game. It’s been on Dutch’s shoulder since the very first DLC drop but let us put it on our Predators!
We’ve mainly been playing Hunting Grounds on PS4, but Hicks and I (RidgeTop), also have it on PC, and whenever we make an exception to play on our computers we always find ourselves commenting how much better the game feels at 60 frames per second.
Given Sony published this game, it only makes sense for a live-service title like this that launched at the end of a console generation to get some new graphical and performance improvements for next gen, as many other games are doing. Here’s hoping a PS5 upgrade becomes available soon, and hopefully further PS4 Pro optimization as well.
Let’s face it, not everybody loves the Epic Games Store. We feel that Hunting Grounds could further expand its audience by releasing the game on Steam once the typical year-long exclusivity window has passed.
NIGHT MODE & WEATHER
With still a limited number of maps, it may help to keep things fresh by implementing dynamic weather or perhaps night hunts. This could create additional challenges for both the Fireteam and Predator. At night, visibility could be moderate, having strong moonlight shining on the map, but still make things dark enough to have a spooky vibe. The Fireteam would have to rely on torches and night vision, and the Predator would have to rely on infrared more.
And for weather, there could be some periodic light rain that might make the Predator’s cloak flicker or occasionally short. this could be balanced by having fog in the trees or something. YouTube channel PEMBY’S 4K GAMING WORLD did a pretty cool looking mock up of what a night mode could look like, check out the video below:
EXPANDED UNIVERSE PREDATORS: SCARFACE, AHAB, ETC.
While there already seems to be a slew of Predators coming in the time ahead, and perhaps this could be a bit much to ask for, we’d love to see at least one or two expanded universe Predator characters come to the game. The ones that make the most sense to me Personally are Scarface and Ahab.
Scarface would be a nice tribute to the last prominent Predator game, ‘Predator: Concrete Jungle,’ and Ahab is one of the most unique Predator characters of the Dark Horse Comics, which would also be a fitting tribute for their long stewardship of the license coming to a close.
While the movie itself wasn’t everything we were hoping for, we did really enjoy the modern design for the Fugitive Predator, and it would be cool to see him as a playable class in the game. I’m not sure what could be added for his weapon, as an auto-fire mini plasmacaster on his mask seen in the film could be pretty cheap. Given that we’re pretty sure that Mr. Black is coming to Hunting Grounds, the addition of Fugitive would mean each of the featured Predators from the films would be playable.
The ‘Wolf’ Predator is another fan favorite, even if the movie he’s from is not. I think either dual plasmacasters or the razor whip would be a great choice for his weapon, a skin for the plasma pistol that’s already in the game could also be nice.
This one may be a long shot, but it’s a request I’ve seen quite a lot from players: an urban map for the City Hunter and Elder Predator to stalk. Given the game’s systems and assets being designed for a jungle setting, I really don’t know if this is feasible, but regardless, it should be considered. The ‘Predkour’ system would need to be tweaked for the map itself, as there wouldn’t be the same enormous trees that you’d find in the Jungle.
Perhaps the map could be on the edge of the city, like Griffith Park over Los Angeles. I do think it should be LA, and evoke the vibes of Predator 2. Illfonic would have to get creative to pull this off. How would mudding up work? Would the Predator be able to quickly scale scaffolding using Predkour? More than any of the requests here, this is the one I really wouldn’t bet on happening, but we’d love to see it. Illfonic certainly surprised me with their plans (which were cancelled for reasons out of their control) for a spaceship map in Friday the 13th which was totally different to the similar forest environments that were featured on every other map.
GAME PRESERVE PLANET
This idea I think is much more realistic, as you could re-use a good amount of the jungle assets and maintain the Predkour system as it is now. We think the otherworldly setting of Predators would be a perfect fit for Hunting Grounds, and for another new mode as well! You’d still want the environment to feel unique from the jungles of South America, going for the amalgamation of Austin, TX and Hawaii that Troublemaker Studios so effectively pulled off in the film. It would really be something to look in the sky during a match and see the planets and moons above, and a fitting location for Mr. Black and Isabelle who are very likely coming to the game.
It wouldn’t make much sense to have the mission start and end as it does now though coming in and leaving on the chopper, so this could be a perfect opportunity for a new game mode based on making it off the Planet. In Friday the 13th you had to collect vehicle parts to drive away from Jason, perhaps here something similar could be done with repairing a Predator ship to stow away on. Maybe you even strike a deal with a River Ghost! Another idea that’s been mentioned is a more PvP focused Battle-Royale type mode, where perhaps the Predators in a sick game have pitted the humans against each other to win their ride home. While this is happening, the Predator or Predators could be hunting them, and maybe in the end they decide whether or not to honor the human victor with the prize of freedom or slay them.
MORE MAP IDEAS
Beyond the two map ideas above, and we’d be plenty satisfied with those, there are some other ideas we have to share. One of my favorite maps from Rebellion’s Aliens vs. Predator (2010) was the shifting Pyramid map inspired by Paul Anderson’s film. I’ve noticed the ancient South American ruins and a pyramid in the maps we have already, and I think Illfonic could lean into this much more. Given a part of these assets already exist, a future map could have ruins or a Pyramid to actually enter as part of the mission, with some subtle AvP vibes as part of the temple. Another idea would be a larger laboratory complex in the jungle where Stargazer stores their Predator acquisitions, there are a number of lab assets already that could be used for this.
You might be asking what about Predkour for these ideas? As with the cave section of ‘Extraction,’ there would be parts of the map where the Predator would have to use other tactics, but you could still have entry and exit points to the structures that only Predators can use which would work with Predkour. You could also have it so the Predators make less noise cues when they’re inside interiors, allowing them to be more stealthy in these areas. Some other maps ideas that have been suggested to me are a town or desert-type map, a downed Predator ship in the jungle (which might also allow for a new game mode where the Predator has the destroy the ship before the Fireteam can secure it), and even the Predator homeworld.
There could be more modes brought to Predator: Hunting Grounds beyond the above ideas for a Game Preserve map. The most exciting bits of Clash for me are the Predator vs. Predator fights, and I think a game mode focusing on just this element could work well.
You could place this in a smaller arena like that of AvP 2010’s tutorial level. A stone temple sunken in the ground for two Predators to fight it out in; with trees, cover, and hazards to avoid. The players would respawn until one of the two Predators reaches the score limit.
MORE ARMOR SETS
Illfonic has given us a number of new masks, skin patterns, and warpaints to customize our Predator classes with, but there is still only one armor set for each of the base three Predators. It would be nice to have some new original armor sets for the base classes to create more unique looking Preds.
Another feature that could benefit Hunting Grounds would be further personalization. The addition of the “Want Some Candy?” taunt was great, but more emotes for the Fireteam and Predator would be fun to customize, perhaps some could have poses that go with them. Maybe selectable and new long-claim animations, or customizable menu animations?
STAT TRACKING & LEVEL CAP INCREASE
These are just some quality of life features I think would give some incentive to veteran players who hit the level cap a while ago. Having a menu to look at different statistics would be nice to keep tabs on your progress in the game. The level cap should also be increased, as it’s been at 150 for some months now. At the very least it would be nice to bump that up to 200 with some new rewards.
TROPHY ROOM / SHIP ‘VIRTUAL CABIN’
So this is actually something I was hoping for since before launch. Having played a bit of Illfonic’s last title, Friday the 13th, I loved the bonus ‘Virtual Cabin’ mode, which featured a kind of mini-museum with history, displays from the films, and plenty of Easter eggs.
The Predator ship in Hunting Grounds is only seen in one place, parked in front of the pyramid in the game’s tutorial level, and I really want to just barge through that laser wall to walk around it. But beyond that, the Predator ship would be an awesome environment to explore on the inside, featuring similar descriptions and displays of the franchise history and some insights into the game’s development.
So this one is for me. Virtual photography is a hobby of mine, and it’s been nice to see more and more games implementing photo modes. This feature adds a whole new creative dynamic to a player’s experience, and lets the developers hard work on models and environments be shown off in detail and artistic expression.
I’ve taken some shots doing what I can with cropping out the HUD (Even just having the option to turn it off would help a ton!) but it would be great to have a photo mode where we can freeze the action and have full camera tool control. This could maybe be an option that all players can consent to in a Private Match, or maybe instead something like a diorama mode as seen in games like Godzilla (PS4) and Warframe.
And that’s everything we can think of for now! We’re very excited for the future of Predator: Hunting Grounds, and we feel this solid foundation could keep players interested for years to come. If you’d like to give Illfonic your own thoughts of what you’d like to see come to the game, be sure to tell them over on their forum! We’ll see you in the Hunting Grounds.