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Sir, You Are Hunting: No Return

No Return isn’t ready for primetime yet, which is why I’m writing about it while eating couscous during a drab Monday lunchtime. The open world survival game has a build available but it’s not so much a demo as a proof of some features and engine capabilities. The game has still managed to grab my attention though because despite the phrase ‘open world survival game’ in the previous sentence, there isn’t a zombie in sight. No Return is a hunting simulator set in the real world, with an optional mode that has the player limping away from a plane crash, seeking food and shelter. Harsh climates, trapping and other forms of crafting are planned. If you’re not scared of starvation and frostbite, you can even add a few mercenaries into the mix to increase the threat level.

A few videos have escaped into the wild and I’ve tagged a couple with my crosshairs of embedding. The first is naught more than a slideshow but it’s preferable to the unnerving timelapse speed of the actual footage.

Prepare yourself for this next one. The best way to do that is to discover a mindset where the idea of people drifting across the planet’s surface at 60 miles per hour, with barely any animation to explain their motion, is anything less than terrifying. Around thirty seconds in the video jumps to a third-person perspective and the player character is attached to the screen in a manner that suggests he’s being carried from an actual first-person perspective. He’s like a tiny gun in the shape of a semi-naked man.

As I said – ‘not ready for primetime’. But if I can shoot zombies, then I can shoot rabbits. In a hunting survival game – as opposed to a monster survival game – the act of killing is intrinsically tied to bodily needs. Hunt to kill to eat to live to hunt to kill to skin to tan to clothe to live. I guess what I really want is a first-person take on The Unreal World. Or, fuck it, maybe I just want to play Unreal World as it exists right now. There’s no couscous to be found during the harsh Iron Age winters of the far north.

Final note – for those who can’t abide the idea of an open world game without zombies, undead hordes can be added. The developers already have a working zombie AI, which is presumably far easier than haivng working AI for just about anything else in the game, including the trees.

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Adam Smith

former Deputy Editor

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