EA’s Wild Hearts team is focusing on “quality over quantity” as it aims to take on Capcom’s dominant Monster Hunter games with “over 20 Kemono in the game at launch.” There’ll be more to come for free, too, as additional monsters are planned to be released once the game is out and the game’s executive producer confirms, “All post launch content will be free, including new Kemono and more.”
Lewis Harvey, executive producer on Wild Hearts, took to Reddit for an AMA addressing the game ahead of its planned February 16 release date. In it, he talks about the number of major creatures you’ll encounter, how solo and multiplayer play works, the importance of elemental damage and armour, and whether we can expect Steam Deck support at launch.
Confirming that the game will release with over 20 Kemono – the large monsters that make up the central opposition in Wild Hearts – Harvey says, “We haven’t revealed all of them yet as we want to keep some as surprises, but we’re excited to see everyone’s reactions to our full collection.” He confirms in a separate response that future Kemono and other DLC will be free, and says, “We don’t have any plans to feature MTX [microtransactions].”
This count only includes the large creatures – there are plenty of smaller animals you’ll encounter, including deer and rabbits, and Harvey confirms you’ll be able to capture and keep some of these as pets. You won’t be able to capture the large Kemono, however, as “that concept doesn’t really line up with the story in the game.”
The Kemono have the potential to get into scraps with one another, though it’ll apparently be “a rare occurrence.” Harvey also confirms that elements will play “a huge role” in combat, with fire, ice, poison, and more all able to be employed against the Kemono – and very much a threat to your characters, as well. As such, you’ll want to craft armour that helps you defend against such threats.
These armour sets are fixed regardless of your character’s body type, so don’t expect to see separate male and female styles, but Harvey notes that you can absolutely mix and match armour pieces and, in some cases, “alter the look to be more human focused or Kemono focused,” which will also have an effect on stats.
You’ll want to ensure you’re making the perfect gear to build up for the endgame, after all. Harvey says a blog is coming soon with more details about what this entails, but gives us a tease: “After completing the campaign players will get a new quest to investigate a new highly dangerous variant of Kemono appearing in the world [called] ‘Volatile Kemono.’” He adds that this leads to an even more difficult tier, which sounds a lot like Monster Hunter’s high rank and master rank difficulties.
As for the locales, Azuma comprises “four large explorable areas that all represent a different season,” and Harvey adds, “We also have the hub city of Minato and some other places we are keeping a secret.” You’ll be able to bring Tsukumo – small Karakuri beings – to your hub, where you can upgrade them to support your hunts. You’ll also be able to bring one of them along with you as a companion when playing alone.
Should you choose to hunt with friends, Harvey confirms that dynamic difficulty scaling will ensure you’re met with a fun, challenging fight that adapts to players joining or leaving midway through the encounter. Visitors are welcome to interact with your Karakuri – the Wild Hearts technology used for traps, tools, vehicles and more – and build their own in your world, but only the host is allowed to proactively destroy them. “It has been designed specifically to avoid potential toxic behaviour in multiplayer,” Harvey remarks.
If you’re wondering about playing Wild Hearts on Steam Deck, there’s some bad news. Harvey confirms that the game won’t be supported on Steam Deck at launch, although he says, “I have one though and want this as much as you! Hopefully we can get to this in the future.” In the meantime, players with an EA Play or Game Pass Ultimate subscription can access a 10 hour trial of Wild Hearts from February 13.
If you’re looking for more of the best co-op games on PC, we’ve got plenty to choose from, along with more fantastic PC RPG games to keep you busy until Wild Hearts arrives. Meanwhile, a Monster Hunter Rise Sunbreak update is bringing back Iceborne’s fearsome flagship, so there’s plenty of hunting on the horizon.