Thunderbolt logo

E3 2008: Deer Hunter Tournament

E3 2008

One of biggest surprises here today at E3 for me came from Donny Clay, a producer at Atari. The game? Brace yourself: Deer Hunter Tournament. I’m no hunter, but I’m an American and I can appreciate a man shooting a deer. I might not do it myself, but it’s his right and when it’s virtual, it seems even more fun. The game was made even more fun by Donny’s colorful attitude. He wasn’t afraid to make a joke or two and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the product he was pitching.

screenshot

“There are two kinds of hunting,” according to Donny. “There the days when you go out and get hammered with your friends and shoot at everything that moves and the kind where you go out and you cover yourself in deer piss and try to nail a big buck. This is a game for the deer piss hunters,” Donny laughed. Deer Hunter Tournament is a serious hunting game. The big draw for fans is that the game will allow them to participate in online tournaments against one another. The idea for this feature was taken right from the Deer Hunter 2005 forums. “Fans were putting on their own tournaments – kill a big buck, post a picture, whoever has the biggest wins,” Donny said.

screenshot

In Deer Hunter Tournament, players will be able to set their own challenges for other players to compete in, but they won’t have to do it on forums anymore. Don’t worry, you “won’t have to worry about 12-year-olds running and headshotting your deer,” according to Donny. While the online tournaments will pit you against rival hunters, you’ll do battle against the game’s animals in an instanced world without other hunters. The challenge won’t be limited to just shooting deer, either – in addition to traditional game animals, there are also cougars and bears that will attack you back.

screenshot

Deer Hunter Tournament will allow virtual hunters to wield almost every weapon real hunter’s use – unfortunately, no hand grenades or M16. “If I could, I’d use a rocket launcher,” Donny said as he shot at a fleeing buck in the distance. Precision aiming will be required and wind will come into play. As you aim over distances, the direction of the wind will have an effect on your bullet’s path. The wind will also make animals aware of your scent, so you always have to make sure you’re in the right position if you want to capture a truly big trophy. Missed shots result in animals running away in terror and much harder to hit. Landing a shot is both exciting and entertaining. Donny hit a doe in the distance and after watching the bullet speed into her, the young doe’s body toppled comically down a hill.

screenshot

Deer Hunter Tournament was not what I was expecting. Honestly, I went to the game for a laugh and didn’t anticipate having a really positive write up like this. Even without Donny entertaining me, this seems like a very robust hunting simulation that hunting fans deserve in a very limited market. The team has clearly put the time into this game and has accurately recreated the hunting experience as carefully as possible. Whether you choose to hunt alone or online, in the deserts of Arizona, the forests of Maine, or the snow-covered hills of Finland, you’re going to enjoy this game.

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

Gentle persuasion

You should check out our podcast.