Game development is kinda like owning a dog. No, really, hear me out. Kicking off a new game is like your first day with a pup, a boundless ball of excitement and possibilities you can't pull yourself away from. Then, it grows up, and you have to deal with the realities of owning a pet project. You still love it, but bloody hell, it's only gone and tracked mud all over the nice carpet and crashed to desktop again. It takes particular grit to get a mutt through early access.
But free-to-play monster-hunter Dauntless has only gone and done it, becoming a full-grown beast at last and leaving early access with a mighty roar.
Dauntless's 1.0 launch last week came complete with a beast of a new update, one you can catch for yourself below.
Dauntless isn't too complicated. Grab some mates and head out into the wilds to murder monsters (behemoths, in Dauntless parlance) before they munch your crew. Like any good boss basher, taking one of these bad lads down requires equal parts teamwork and preparation. Sure, you'll need to know each behemoth's moves, but Dauntless is all about gathering monster parts to kit yourself out in armour and oversized knives best suited to a particular beastie's type.
Far removed from its roots as "What if Monster Hunter was on PC" (largely by virtue of, y'know, Monster Hunter: World being on PC), Dauntless has evolved into a whopping great behemoth all of its own. A hop-in boss basher you can easily fit into a lunch break.
Dubbed Aether Unbound, Dauntless' launch update adds a new weapon for fans of hitting things really hard in the face. The aether strikers are a pair of big ol' fists to put on top of your real fists, letting you knock the conkers out of the denizens of the Shattered Isles. New weapon means a new quest, too - you should pick up a quest for the strikers around the same time a tutorial lad hands you a pair of repeaters.
There's a new Dire Behemoth to try out that fancy fist-work on, too. The storm powered Tempestborne Stormclaw will now show up on the hunting board in town. Dauntless has also reworked its Hunt (read: Battle) Pass, swapping out weekly challenges for a new Bounty system. These are drafted from a random selection, and you can hold four at any given time by spending tokens acquired through hunts.
As per, the update came with a whole host of smaller additions and fixes, including letting you skip previously-watched cutscenes and altering Behemoth health if a player disconnects. See the 1.0 patch notes for the lot.
Dauntless is available free-to-play through the Epic Games Store.
I quite liked that Dauntless, though I quickly fell off after seeing all I felt there was to see. As a stripped-down Monster Hunter, it's certainly worth a pop, and last week's launch could be a nice excuse to check back in.