Wild Hearts is EA Originals and Koei Tecmo’s take on the hunting game popularized by Monster Hunter. Despite some similarities, this game will feature a few key differences, with one being the decision to allow for three-player co-op instead of the usual four.
Speaking to the media at a hands-on preview event, EA Originals executive producer Lewis Harvey explained the decision to stick to a three-player format for Wild Hearts, saying that while they tried playtesting the game with four players early in development, they didn’t find the game as fun especially when the Karakuri system is considered.
“It becomes very overwhelming not just for the players but also in terms of balancing for the Kemono. They start to get a bit bullied when there are four people building these awesome contraptions to help take them down,” says Harvey. “So we found that three players was a better balance for the game.”
With each player able to create these contraptions that will turn the tide of battle, things can get pretty chaotic on the battlefield. Attacks and actions are a bit tougher to read, and thus the decision to cut it down to three players.
“We also love the idea that it’s easier to gather three friends together than it is four, which is great. And with the addition of cross-play, we believe that this is going to be the most seamless and accessible way to play a hunting game.”
Despite the game having cross-play, one feature that it currently won’t have is cross-progression. Wild Hearts is set to launch on the PS5, Xbox Series, and PC, and while players from these platforms can team up with each other, progression will be locked to their base consoles.
“We will be supporting cross-play across all platforms the game will be available on, but there are no plans currently to support cross-progression.”
The statement does leave some sort of hope to allow it after launch, so we’ll have to see if the team has any updates for us by then.
One other thing players can look forward to in Wild Hearts is having a strong push for its narrative instead of it being an afterthought. Koei Tecmo has big plans to tell a great story but that was something Harvey didn’t go into much detail about.
“Narrative does take an important place in Wild Hearts, and through the collaboration with EA, we’ve gone out of our way to provide a lot of different languages. VO is localized for Wild Hearts and creates the best experience we can in as many languages as we can because there is a great story to tell in this game,” explains Harvey. “So yeah, looking forward to revealing more about the story as we move through the campaign to launch.”
Wild Hearts is scheduled to be released on February 17, 2023 for the PS5, Xbox Series, and PC for $69.99.